Life is a combination of settlement and journey. We cannot always live out of a suitcase. We need to be settled.
That’s why immigrant life is difficult. You are uprooted all of a sudden and have to survive in a totally strange land. Too much change all at once. Too many unknown variables.
Abraham was also an immigrant. He immigrated twice. His original home town was Ur. He went to Haran. And from there, he immigrated again. He left the place where he was well settled. It wasn’t just his decision. He felt that it was God’s calling. He was called to take the journey.
So you can see his life was a mix of settlement and journey. That is what life is. A good harmony of settlement and journey. The question is when to take a journey and when to settle. How do you know that?
The settlement gives us a sense of rootedness. It gives us a feeling of being grounded and we feel stable. You are quite comfortable when you are settled. For example, when your relationship is settled, you feel quite satisfied and content. When your job is settled, you feel secure. When you are settled with yourself, you feel confident and comfortable with yourself. That’s a good feeling. I like that.
But our reality does not let you stay there too long. Changes happen in your circumstances and also in yourself. Things are not the same anymore.
Instead of feeling settled, you feel like you are stuck. Your life is going nowhere. You want to move but you can’t. You should. You have to. But you can’t.
Feeling stuck and being settled are quite different. Feeling stuck is like a car stuck in a ditch and you cannot get out. You don’t want to be there but you cannot get out. You are stuck in a rut.
Why do you feel stuck? Because you don’t find meaning in what you do. You have outgrown your current situation. Your current situation is so far from your values and from what you really desire. You don’t get excited about your life anymore. It doesn’t give you positive energy.
It is not that there is any problem. You just don’t feel like you are doing anything valuable, meaningful, and important. You are completely out of sync with what you want in life.
This is when you need to take a journey. You cannot just sit there and do nothing about it. But the problem is – Recognizing that you are stuck, sometimes you make drastic changes just to feel free. Out of fear and out of desperation, you just make changes.
Just making changes is not necessarily taking a journey. You need to think about who you really are at the core. If you don’t know who you are and what you want and yet make all these changes, what good is that? In the end, you will be stuck more deeply.
Take That Journey
Taking a journey is not just about making changes such as quitting your job, leaving your relationships, or moving to another place. Taking a journey is taking a journey of really getting to know yourself, your values, your desires, and your life goals. It is finding out who you are at the core, what you want in your life, and what you like to do. It is more of an inner journey rather than an outer journey.
God wants you to take that journey. Because God wants you to live a blessed life. God does not want you to live a life being stuck in a rut.
There was a professor. He was a lecturer at Harvard but he couldn’t get a full professorship there. So he went to a small college in a small town. When he marked students’ papers, he always gave two sets of mark. One – their real mark. The other – the mark they would have got if they were in Harvard. He was stuck back in Harvard. He will not be happy with his life.
If you are stuck, you cannot live a blessed life.
This is what God said to Abraham.
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)
God wanted to make of Abraham a great life. God wants to make of you a great life. God wants you to be a blessing.
Don’t be stuck where you are. Whether you like it or not, change always happens. You will always outgrow your situations. Your needs, your wants, and your hopes all evolve. If you don’t deal with these changes, you will be stuck.
You will be unhappy, unproductive, and uncreative. Blaming your situations or other people, do not help. It just makes you feel worse. That is not a blessed life.
Trust that you can make your life happy again. Trust that God can help you. You can live your life again with new enthusiasm, new excitement, new hope, and new energy.
A little change in your attitude can bring about a huge difference. Once you are unstuck, you can fully drive your car with full speed.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. It is never too late to start over in life. For goodness’ sake, Abraham was 75 years old. Until 75, I don’t know what he did. The Scripture doesn’t say it. The Scripture is not interested in how he lived those 75 years. Probably, he didn’t do much. What he did wasn’t significant enough for the Scripture to mention it. It was like his life began at 75. Moses’ life began when he was 80. So don’t tell me it is too late to start over.
A Dynamic Settlement
Abraham started this journey, fully trusting God. So we call him the father of faith. The journey I am talking about is the journey of faith. We are called to take the journey of faith. We don’t know exactly where we will go. Abraham didn’t know either.
Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (Genesis 12:1)
The land he will show Abraham, it said. It didn’t say where. That is the journey of faith. We don’t know exactly what our destination will be. It is unknown to us.
Every step of the way, we trust God. Then amazingly, you can hear the voice of God calling you and letting you know what to do. You hear the inner voice. The inner voice that breaks through the noises around you. You can hear that.
When you take the journey of faith, strangely you feel settled. You are making important changes but you don’t make them out of desperation. You don’t make changes just to get out of your rut. You trust God, you listen to the inner voice, and you follow your heart. It is not emotional decisions. You don’t follow mindlessly what others do. You switch off the autopilot mode and start driving. You feel empowered. You will constantly be on the journey of change. And yet, you feel settled. This kind of settlement is very different from being stuck. It is a dynamic settlement.
When you look at a tree that is alive, it is just there. It doesn’t move around. It is well settled. But within it, there is a lot of movements. Waters go up and down. It is settled but not stuck. But not the dead tree. It is there in the same way as a healthy tree but there is no movement inside. No journey. It is stuck there.
The Faith Journey
Good life always takes the journey. The journey of change. They are constantly discovering new things of life. And they pursue them. They search what is meaningful and valuable for them. And they pursue it.
You hear. You hear life’s calling and God’s calling. You don’t just randomly choose a path. You wait for God and God leads you and guides you by calling you. God uses your desires and your hopes to guide you. Especially your desire to do good for you and for others is very important because God uses it to call you and guide you. Ultimately God wants to bless you and bless others through you. When you take the journey with faith, you are taking the path of blessings.
The ultimate goal of life is not about achieving your goals. It is about becoming the kind of person you want to be and God wants you to be. That is the goal of faith journey. Abraham became Abraham, the person of faith through his journey.
Last week, I mentioned that we will all hit the ceiling, our own limitations. In every field, they all hit this ceiling. They confront their own limitations and they hit the plateau. The only thing that can help you break that ceiling is to have faith, faith in God and faith in yourself.
Don’t doubt about your ability. You will become a person you want to be and God wants you to be. We are all bound for the promised land as our choir sang beautifully today.