Our family has a favorite board game. It’s one I learned to play from aunts and uncles and grandparents once I was old enough to understand the rules and execute the strategy.
This was no quick card game. It was an evening. For several hours, there would be hushed concentration, furrowed brows and silent wishes for luck as we drew the next game piece — broken only by bathroom breaks and refills for the sweet tea.
I’m not a huge game player. I made it through some painful Candyland and Chutes and Ladders rounds with my kids when they were little, but THIS is a game I love to play. I love the slow strategy, how the game unfolds differently every single time and that it can change drastically with one well-played piece.
So two years ago, I pulled my old game box from the back of the closet. Nick, Seth and Zach were skeptical but I convinced them to just try one game. I explained the basic rules and, because you really need to play it to understand it, I won that first game by a large margin.
But that first game was all it took. They were hooked by some of the same things that had hooked me and I imagined long evenings unwinding with this beloved game and my grown-up enough boys.
But they added something completely new to the evening: intense competition. Because boys and brothers.
The tempo of our play became altogether different. It became a headlong rush to the win. No more contemplating over the next move when it was my turn because they were in a breakneck race to get to the end and name the winner. The sooner they got there, the better.
We can do that in real life as well.
So often, we rush with singular focus toward a destination with the mindset that the sooner we get there, the better.
Chances are, you and I have a destination on our mind right this minute —
- Graduating with that degree.
- Finding the right guy.
- Getting the dream job.
- Buying the right house.
- Getting our current house just right.
- Having a child.
- Growing our child to the next stage.
- Making more money.
- Saving more money.
Ministries can also hyper-focus on a destination – on numbers or locations or platforms or opportunities.
It’s easy to wake up with that destination in mind, to evaluate all the moments of today in light of that destination and to lay our heads down each night calculating whether we’re any closer.
When we fixate on the destination, we miss the wonder of its unfolding.
Boy can I razor focus on a destination. I have a couple of them in mind right now and if I’m not careful, it can feel like life doesn’t count until it converges there.
I’m apt to just clock in and out of all the ordinary moments of the process and of the wait on the journey to the destination.
But life isn’t a game.
We don’t get to clear the board and start over on another evening. The moments of the process and the wait don’t get us TO life — they ARE life.
Take away the moments of the process and the destinations are meaningless.
We never measure a marriage by how beautiful the wedding was but by the thousands of ordinary days in which two are slowly knit into one.
We never gauge a job by how great the final salary was or how grand the retirement party but by the day in and day out of decisions and development and relationships.
God is about our becoming not our arriving.
Regardless of whether that destination we long for happens tomorrow or tarries for another 10 years, the ordinary unfolding of today has huge value.
Maybe today has a destination all of its own.
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