I have always struggled with being a “results person,” beneath the artsy Instagram and the carefully-curated bohemian living room. Things only matter to me if I can measure their effectiveness. Maybe that’s ruthless, but it’s my natural state. I have never been an “enjoy the process” kind of human, and more often than not, that laidback mindset frustrates me. Taking a moment to smell the roses seems pointless if I could be growing more instead. I want to do things that “matter,” and any other focus simply seems like a distraction.
Lately, I have become convicted that a “microwave mindset” of efficiency and results is actually the opposite of godly. I think in a lot of situations, I just might be Judas, asking if we could have used the perfume for a financial need instead of just dumping it on Jesus’ feet. And in those results-minded questions, I miss the eternal significance of things I can’t quantify or completely understand. I am thinking about efficiency and missing the lesson that the broken jar of perfume holds. I fail to see the woman whose life has been transformed. I miss my chance to remember his goodness.
“Well, if you only have 3 years of ministry, Jesus, should you really spend so much time alone? We should make you a to-do list.” –Amanda, the bossy disciple.
How could Jesus do so many things that don’t seem productive? Napping during storms, talking in parables, waiting 30 years before starting his ministry, even though he was already perfect. Asking questions he knew the answers to, and talking about someone’s heart when he could have already healed them. Let’s move it, Lord! Blind people are waiting and we’ve got Pharisees to rebuke! What was he thinking? It’s almost like… he found purpose in the process and not simply the results.
I fully believe my life would be transformed if I looked at it from a place of being with God in the journey, instead of waiting to see if he shows up in the end result. I know He’s with me, but we are forgetful creatures. He is Emmanuel, the God who continuously reminds us that he’s with us. He’s El Roi, the God who sees us. He’s the shepherd from Psalm 23, the kind of gentle and brave leader who will set us a dinner table right in front of our enemies. He is just as consistent beside still waters as he is in the valley of the shadow of death. He’s with us in everything, because every part of our life has equal value to him. We have never “arrived” to the perfect place with Jesus. Before sin, even before death, He came down to walk with Adam and Eve every day. If I were Eve, I’d be expecting a great sermon from Him, or perhaps a list of rules.
But what he really wanted, there in His perfect world, was simply to walk with us.
The art of just being with God, learning how to abide, changes us forever. Jesus could have explained everything to the disciples and sent them on their way. Indeed, looking at time and efficiency, it would have made sense to us. But that’s not what he wanted. He wanted to walk with them from town to town, to cook fish together, to see how they’d react to things even though he already knew. Dwelling with them, watching them seek him as their lives unfolded, that was what Jesus wanted. His life proves that he wants to have experiences with us much more than he wants perfection. He wants call us his friends. To gain our trust and to shock us with his provision and wisdom. To exist outside of space and time, and yet to walk alongside us.
My 21st century perspective, if left unchecked, will destroy that relationship. An un-submitted idea of productivity will rule my life as an idol. I won’t let him lead me beside still waters, because I’ll approach with an agenda. I won’t let him invite me to the table, because I have a schedule to keep. I want to walk alongside Emmanuel, not to run ahead of him. Forgive me, Father, for thinking that I know best when You know everything. I want to see the significance in Your ways. I want to meet you in the moment. You are present. I will be too.
- Do you know how to just walk with God? Can you rest in His timing and His ways?