We Never Arrive and We Are Never Selected

Can I be vulnerable for a moment?

Until recently, I lived with a worldview that caused me great frustration. Though I could never pinpoint it, I knew something was missing. As I surveyed the world, I watched people busying themselves like ants with many activities. Everyone, it appeared, had a destination in mind and worked diligently to arrive at it. I took the opposite approach and arrogantly believed I was winning. Truth be told, I was losing touch with reality and placing unrealistic expectations on everyone around me.

My approach to life seemed to fly off the radar. It appeared holy and right because it rarely rocked the boat. I was certain if I waited well — placing my own preferences aside and mastering the art of patience — someone with the keys to my life would invite me into the future. If only I would be still, someone would notice me, and my existence would matter. I knew I would be selected. Someway. Somehow. I just had to wait well.

I waited. Year after year. My life sat still. Wasted opportunity after wasted opportunity.

Like being chosen for a grade school kickball team, I waited in line hoping the team captain would discover the worth in my eyes and select me for the team. I’ve spent most of my life standing in that line, waiting to be selected.

I now know how ridiculous my belief was. It took me years of internal agonizing to figure out no one is ever selected. Not in the real world. No one gets chosen in life by sitting on their hands, waiting, and wishing.

I often encounter people who play the waiting game. It’s nothing new and certainly not unique to me. I want to shake them and tell them to wake up. Their one, beautiful life is in front of them, waiting to be seized. Although waiting for your future to unfold sounds absurd, there is another option that is equally ridiculous and regularly chosen.

Many people believe they can arrive at the future they’ve always wanted by relying on their intellect and work-ethic. I have met many people who spend their days grinding through life with these traits alone. They are the hardest working people I know, and they all have the same thing in common: they will never arrive at their destination. There will always be another mountain to climb. There will always be another battle to conquer.

We never arrive and we are never selected. Life doesn’t work according to these held beliefs. God certainly calls us to work and rest, but the call is ultimately for his purposes, not our own. It includes us, but it’s not about us.

Good But Not God

Hard work is important. So is patience. But when we live at either extreme, we turn good things into God things and live without divine direction. Sitting, waiting, and wishing is a disaster in the making. But so is the endless grind of busying ourselves with every activity under the sun. The Bible says we should be thankful and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). In as much as we let Jesus rule in the deepest corners of our being, we live as those alive in him — dead to the things of the world. We should not busy ourselves with worldly success or sit and wait for it. Our home is in heaven. We are not Christians outwardly only, but our inner selves are being renewed day by day.

We were created for far more than success. We were created for the glory of a God who didn’t grind but also didn’t wait. While on earth, he lived with a countercultural understanding of his purpose. He was led to a cross and crushed under the weight of human grinding. He was tortured in the face of his followers who simply sat on their hands and waited. He knew who he was. His understanding of reality outweighed anything this life could offer.

There is a moment coming for each one of us. We can grind or we can wait, but the lights of this life will turn off for us all. The better option is found at the cross. It’s not going to produce kudos or influence, but it’ll lead to joy everlasting. True joy in the presence of our sweetest friend.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – Jesus

– Mark 8:34-35 (NIV)

Seek the cross with me, my friends. Shall we go now?

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