A Lesson from the Wilderness

Hollow. Empty. These words best represent a feeling I’ve wrestled with over the past week. It was something I could feel in my chest, but couldn’t easily explain. I didn’t recognize it until I found its opposite for a short time on the road home from Dallas. My mind wandered into a day dream filled with passion and purpose, and for a time I became suffused with energy. It awakened me enough to see the marked difference between my dream and my present day to day life.

Many I know would characterize my days of late as a wilderness. Despite great promise and opportunity, I am consistently met with obstacles and disappointment. Many seeming promises are ever on the horizon, always drawing just near enough that I lift my eyes in hope before I’m met with yet another delay. I admit I may be impatient. I may also be unready despite believing I am ready. However, knowing that does nothing to assuage this feeling of being stuck. I’ve realized that this feeling of being stuck has led me to an poor, old habit. I’ve lost my sense of purpose in the struggle for survival. I’ve mired myself in a pursuit of the means to chase a dream rather than losing myself in pursuing the dream.

How do I know this? Because I was faced with, among other things, a situation that might have forced me to look for another job. I love my job, and I’ve been attempting to work towards a promotion so that the job might actually become a career and give me more freedom to move forward. But when I was confronted with this decision, I knew I wouldn’t really care if I had to go elsewhere. Right now, even this job I love is a means to an end, and my stress was largely as a result of the path in this job appearing to be blocked. I had placed my hope in this job to give me freedom to move and to begin making a home and helping build a community. When I was faced with constant delays and the real possibility that I might not find that hope fulfilled there, it suddenly obscured my purpose. I couldn’t see where I was going anymore. I got lost. That imagery helps me understand a little better what it is to be in the wilderness.

You see, lost in a wilderness without purpose I find that passion is quelled, and when the way forward is mired in obscurity and delay, hope fades. Without passion and hope, it’s easy to forget what led me to the wilderness in the first place. I came to the wilderness because it is part of the journey. Even my time here is not without purpose, and it is part of the path leading to a future destination somewhere on the other side. I hope it is part of the path to realizing my dreams, and realizing the dreams God has for me, but in reality the only one who knows the future is God himself. All I can do is hold fast to purpose, chase my dreams with passion, and cling to hope for the future. All the while, trusting God’s love and his sufficiency to sustain me and bring me through.




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