About 3 months or so ago I downloaded a training application on my iPhone. My desire was to shed some unnecessary pounds and hopefully get fitter than I was at the time.
I still remember the first morning I woke up ready to start using my new cyber training partner. I knew only too well how difficult it can be at times to train all on your own and the difference another voice encouraging you, even if it’s an electric one, can make. My information had been uploaded and the program had been set. Three plus months down the road and I am very happy to tell you that I have shed around 18 pounds between exercising and changing my eating habits. I feel better than I have in a long time and among the many things that have been impacted by this change, one of the best ones is how easy it has become to get out of bed in the morning.
Now if that was all this app helped me with then my money was well spent. Yet there is more and it revolves around this voice I mentioned earlier which is designed to keep you going, especially when all you want to do is quit. “Just a little bit further”, “You are nearly there”, and “Just a few more” have become regular sounds around my house in the mornings. Yet as encouraging and energetic as these messages are when you begin the program, the fitter one gets the more irrelevant they become. Please don’t misunderstand me. The program is designed to increase in difficulty as time goes by however the timing or content of these messages isn’t.
Now for the best part of the last three months as my fitness began to improve I managed to ignore the irrelevant messages from the voice until a few days ago when I suddenly noticed something new. This time when I heard my electric friend tell me that I was almost there something inside me suddenly pushed back. You see I don’t know about you but for most of my life, and more so with my walk with God, I have heard over and over “you are almost there”. No matter how great of a breakthrough I had just experienced, no sooner it had happened instead of enjoying and celebrating it I was captured by that voice from within reminding me that even though this was good I was still not there.
As you can imagine, like with the exercise app, never really being there over time becomes not only frustrating but it causes an unimaginable wave of anger to arise within. The feeling that whatever we do, or manage to avoid, is never good enough does nothing for our heart nor the condition of it apart from tearing it into pieces. We are reminded of this truth in the Bible where we are told that hope differed makes the heart sick. Yet despite the adverse feelings and the truth, our ego insists on pushing forward towards a finish line which is never clear. I mean let's face it if it was really a little bit more don't you think that by now we would already be there? Or at least some of us would? So today I am wondering if maybe this promise that tells us that the best is yet to come if we push a bit further, is actually blinding us from the fact that the best already came to tell us that what we look for outside can actually be found within us right here right now.
After many years of trying to land the ever eluding carrot I realized the other morning that what is really behind this “keep going is coming - just a little bit more” mentality is also nothing more than an attempt to distract us so we can be robbed from making the biggest discovery any of us will ever make. Not to mention the fact that this feeling of incompleteness is often what then leads us into unhealthy comparisons and competition with others, even though our journeys are all supposed to be different.
I am further convinced of this truth by the fact that every time I have been through a very traumatic event in my life, the biggest strength and encouragement to continue did not come from the promise of some future event as much as it was in what was present within me. Please understand that while I do not have a problem with receiving from something that tells us that better circumstances are ahead, I nevertheless believe that relying on this to find peace and fulfillment will only lead us to a place of total frustration and disappointment.
Yeshua tells us that what our lives are supposed to seek first is not a future event but instead the Kingdom which is within us and in the moment and not somewhere else and later. While we look for our salvation in some future success, Paul also reminds us that this can happen today instead of later.
As I look back I realize how much this way of living robbed from me. While I thought about what life would be like when I would be able to finally stand in front of thousands, I missed the fulfillment present in the stroll I was taking with my child down at the park. While I dreamed and thought about how my life would change when I would eventually manage to sell millions of books and I would be finally known, I failed to fully engage in the romantic approach my partner had just made towards me. Or perhaps the manner in which I treated one of my kids when they interrupted me while I worked on something that I considered more valuable than hearing, "I love you Daddy"...
This is a tough truth to grasp as we are all so easily sucked in by the promise of “just a little bit further” This is why I would like us to sit down and carefully consider today that this grand result we all seek ahead of ourselves is not meant to be the consequence of an outer accomplishment. Instead, this grand victory, which can deliver the happiness and peace we all long and look for, becomes a reality the moment we finally understand this:
We get there when we realize that in Christ we are already there.
Unlike my exercise app as life moves on so must the voice within us. If today we are still hearing “just a little bit more” instead of “I love you” or “I know you and see you” accompanied by a sense of well being and peace, then please allow me to suggest to us the possibility that perhaps it is not God we are hearing, as much as it is our own ego and its incessant quest to continue playing a central and controlling role in our lives.
Remember - When Yeshua said that it was finished. He really meant it!
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