This post continues our discussion on The In-Between by Jeff Goins and focuses on Chapter 3.
“I’m going on vacation!” implies taking a journey, though the focus lies with the destination. No Star Trek beaming to instantly take you there, though. Even everyday events like going to work or to the grocery store require a journey. We just cannot live life without going on a journey.
We don’t usually get excited about the journey. This in-between time simply provides a means to an end. But this apathy – and often dread – for the journey devalues the significant life lessons the road from point A to point B offers. Let’s look at some of those lessons, ones you’ll find true of just about every journey you take.
1.) The Value of Frustration – Waiting is frustrating. Waiting in traffic. Waiting in line. Waiting for the next holiday or vacation. Waiting for kids to mature. Waiting for someone to change. Waiting for you to change. In-between times ooze with times of waiting. But the frustration of waiting teaches patience & commitment. Perhaps we can all say in agreement with Jeff Goins that…
“All those experiences that frustrated me to no end were the ones that taught me the most. They showed me the value of sticking with commitments and how to love people around me, no matter who they were. And most of all, they taught me how to do hard things – which is what growing up is all about.”
2.) The Importance of Sincerity – When traveling with kids, parents like to believe the journey can go without fussing or bickering or complaining. They like to pretend beforehand that it’s possible and afterward like it came close to happening. But that’s not usually a sincere journey. Sincerity on our journey comes with knowing that, as Jeff Goins says, “the beauty of community lies in its fragility.” In other words, realizing that a journey that tests our patience is the only real sincere journey we can take since being fragile and real are the only ways we can truly exist without deceit or duplicity.
3.) Small Steps Lead to Big Progress – Probably everyone can remember a parent on a road trip saying something similar to, “Just look out the window and enjoy the view.” Maybe this statement comes from a desperate parent’s desire to help kids pass the time in as calm of a way as possible, but it also points to the idea that every moment of a journey exists as a valuable step toward the destination. Each sight and sound and experience adds to the others to create the progress needed to fully appreciate the destination. As Jeff Goins notes, those in-between moments can cause us to “pause and reflect” and actually become “the bedrock” of growth if we take the time to notice them.
As much as we might sometimes like to try, we simply cannot escape the journey. Sure, we can change location (new home, new job, new spouse), but the experiences that point toward the growth we need follow us everywhere we go. That’s because God’s concern lies with us becoming over doing. He’s focused more on our heart condition rather than our location. That’s why He allows frustration, why He pushes us toward a sincere life, and why He doles out opportunity to grow in bite-sized pieces.
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Consider your journey, the frustration you’ve experienced and the sincere connections you’ve made. Think about the in-between times, the times you can now look back on and recognize as small steps toward the destination. Perhaps realizing how these lessons brought you to where you are – to the current condition of your heart – can lend appreciation of the present moment’s lesson and the journey currently in front of you.
Note: The next post inspired by ”The In-Between” by Jeff Goins will cover Chapter 4 and will be posted on January 2nd.