Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
It just depends. Last year, my wife Judy and I returned from a trip out west. It was a trip that would involve flying and driving. It was also a trip with one purpose…to get away, to relax, and to enjoy. It is not uncommon for us to take a trip and encounter some less than perfect weather. We have learned to say, “Oh well, at least we’re still away.” Away…that’s a good thing. You see, the purpose of a journey can often determine the success of the journey. Set your sights too high and too narrow and you will often find frustration and stress.
Let me explain. The first leg of our journey was simple…get to Colorado as quickly as possible. Because that was the goal…we flew. Also, because that was the goal every delay caused me to have a stressful moment. Long check-in, stress. Long security, frustration. Flight delay, double both. You see, the point was to get there…not to enjoy the journey. When I was much younger, just the thought of getting to fly was exciting. I would always ask for the window seat so I could watch the world go by. The joy was the journey, but now, alas, it is just a means to get somewhere, and the wonder and joy have slipped away.
Leg two of the journey was different. It was a hybrid of experiences. Renting a new and different car to drive, driving in a new part of the world, and going at a pace that better enabled us to enjoy it. Usually. But honestly, there was still a battle to be fought…an alligator to be wrestled to the earth. I had to determine if the destination was the goal…or was it the journey? I mean I know that there is always a destination but if that becomes obsessive, the joy quickly slips away. It was my call—enjoy the journey or race to the destination.
You see, if I am racing to the destination, then put me on an interstate highway where the roads are wide, and the speed limit is high. Out in Wyoming, the speed limit on the interstate was 80 mph…Katie bar the door. Oh, and those long, straight two-lane roads—yup, 75 mph. That fit my destination minded mindset just fine, thank you. But then there were the times that we were in the Rocky Mountains on a curvy, mountain road just driving. There really wasn’t a place we had to be—we were just driving and that changed everything. If there was a slower driver in front…that was fine. We would just sit back and enjoy the scenery as it slid by the windows. The journey was the destination and joy was the result.
But here is what I discovered. As soon as there was a “gotta be there” destination and mindset then that same road and that same slow driver became a stress point. The only thing that changed was the pressure to get there. That same scenery was an ignored blur as the only thing that mattered was looking for a passing zone so I could get there—wherever there happened to be. The end of the day often told the story—tired and stressed or refreshed and blessed—the way I traveled seemed to make all the difference.
There will always be a destination to get to and there will always be slower drivers and unexpected obstacles to keep us from getting there, but joy in the journey changes everything. Jesus knew that His destination was a Roman cross, but He never let the that stop Him from enjoying the day and loving those around Him. He loved the joy of the journey. I can just imagine Him smiling as He changed the life of a leper or blessed a small child…all joy in the journey. Paul, one of the guys who wrote a large part of the New Testament, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” In other words, have joy in the journey…no matter what that journey looks like. He did that really well.
So, when you find yourself on a winding, two-lane road, enjoy the journey. Take a moment to watch the beauty around you slide by the windows. See what God has allowed to come into your world that day and the destination will come soon enough. And when you find yourself backed into a rushed corner, there’s a couple of things you can do. First, plan a little better when you can and then use that extra time to talk to the Father about that day or maybe relax in Him because, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne