Do you ever get tired of travelling along the same routes over and over…and over again? Perhaps you’ve gotten to know the journey so well that you switch off the ability to perceive the world that surrounds you and instead choose to engage your ‘auto-pilot’ mode in order to try and draw your focus to more important things…like that tuna and sweetcorn sandwich that you made for lunch. Or is that just me?
I’ve been working at Kerith Community Church for over three years now and to start with, I used to travel back and forth along the exact same route at least twice a day. Every…single…day. After about six months, I began to vary the middle part of the journey to try and retain some sanity. ‘Maybe if I go left here and take the second right turn instead…’ were the kind of thoughts that began to creep in. Another six months passed and I eventually found that I could actually take three different routes to work – each journey similar in duration. Imagine my elation! Unfortunately the initial excitement has now run its course and, three years on, those feelings of utter boredom are closing in again. I’m beginning to despair and do you know what the worst thing is? It’s only a ten minute trip!
The reality is that there are only so many routes I can take to get to work. I’ve always been restricted to a finite set of roads in order to reach my destination, but I’ve only recently begun to exhaust all of the options and feel the strain of its repetitiveness. There is only one thing that can redefine the set of roads – the destination. You can’t redefine the route without redefining the destination.
You can’t redefine the route without redefining the destination.
I’ve been thinking about this today. It applies to every aspect of our lives. We all have our own destination, whether hopes, aspirations or obligations. And we all know that in order to arrive completely at our destination, there are only a finite number of roads we can take to get there. For example, if you want to be a fantastic cellist, there is only one main road that will take you there: practice. Whether you have the best teacher in the world or not, without your own dedication to practice, you will not make it to where you want to be. For Christians who want to arrive at a better relationship with Jesus, there are two fantastic routes that you can take to get there: reading the Bible and praying. Attending church might be beneficial, but without self-motivated time with God, you may not hear God speak to you as much as you would like.
These roads can feel cumbersome and difficult at times. Like my routes to work, we can very easily try to switch off our ability to perceive the world around us and switch on auto-pilot to get to our destination as quickly and as effortlessly as possible. But by doing so, we miss the subtle nuances of the scenery around us – the motive for the sight reading practice; how to apply that particular Bible verse to our own lives. There will be times where the route to the destination feels tough. And that’s ok. But the route is not going to change. The only way to change the route is to change the destination.
So why don’t I change my destination to alleviate some of the boredom of my journey? Simple. Because I love what I do. I’m passionate about extending the boundaries of God’s Kingdom. I’m passionate about Kerith Community Church and the people in it. The joy of being at my destination far exceeds the boredom of the route to it.
Can you remember your destination?
Are you struggling with a particular journey at the moment? Maybe you’re struggling in your faith, a work situation or a relationship. Perhaps you’ve lost sight of your destination after years of travelling along the same roads. My encouragement for you (and particularly for me) is to remind yourself of your final destination. Is it worth the occasional ‘hard slog’ or mind-numbing repetition? If your answer is no, then I suggest you reassess your destination. If your answer is yes, then keep moving forward. You’ll get there eventually and when you do, it’ll be worth it!