When God looks at us, He sees us as the person He destined us to be, at the fullest state of completeness we will ever be here on Earth. He relates to us from our true state, in order to help us grow and reach our potential. As people, we tend to focus on the end result, who we will become, reaching that next goal or level, and so on. We become so focused on where we ultimately want to be that we forget about the journey.
The Lord isn’t concerned about the ending because He has already secured and completed it. He knows exactly who you are and everything that He is going to accomplish to get you there. We tend to look solely at the ending and forget all about the journey. We have forgotten that the journey is truly the most important part of our life. It is the journey where our character is forged; where we are shaped, molded, and formed into the person we are meant to be.
I believe we forget about the journey because, let’s be honest, at times the journey is hard. Because God is working outside of time and human reasoning, our life’s journey often takes much longer than we would like, and at times makes absolutely no sense. And so, to escape the pain or mundaneness or absurdity of our current leg of the journey, we focus on the end.
By choosing to focus on the end, we lose the joy that is waiting there for us when we arrive. We lose sight that God wants us to enjoy the journey so much, that He has surprises and good things lined up for us along the way. When we focus on getting to a certain destination in our lives, we also lose what that place was truly intended to be for us. We focus on it to the point that we make it into something so wonderful and seemingly unattainable, that when we reach that landing-point, it somehow seems less than we imagined. No matter how great it is, it is not what we had built it up to be and we end up not appreciating what the Lord intended to be a blessing to us.
Let me share a story from my own life that illustrates the point I’ve been trying to make. On our first trip to Maui, we heard about the Road to Hana. It is the most gorgeous road I have ever been on. The road traverses a cliffside and passes through the lush, tropical Hawaiian jungle. There are hundreds of switchbacks and one-lane bridges, revealing panoramic views of the ocean and breathtaking waterfalls. Around every curve, an unexpected and beautiful surprise awaits you.
The Road to Hana is relatively short. It is only about 52 miles from Kahului to Hana. However, because of all the switchbacks and bridges, without stopping to see the sights, it takes 2.5 hours to drive. Our hotel strongly recommended that we set aside an entire day to make the drive, and to stop along the way to enjoy all the sights.
Well, my husband and I set off on the Road to Hana. Unfortunately, early in our trip, we started thinking, “Wow, all the stuff we’ve seen so far is great. If this stuff is so good, Hana has to be even better.” And with that thought, we decided that we needed to get to Hana as soon as possible. We were going to power through the drive. Mile after mile, we passed some of the most incredible scenery, waterfalls, hiking trails, and nature parks. We longingly wished to stop and enjoy the sights but felt pressured by time constraints to get to our destination. So we drove by all the amazing sights along the way, never stopping once.
Finally, a couple of hours later, we started seeing signs for Hana. My husband and I were giddy. At this point, we thought Hana would be the absolute pinnacle of all the breathtaking things we had seen blur past us along the drive. And then it happened, we entered Hana, a remote, sleepy, and isolated little village of about 1200 people. The only thing of any interest to us was the bay. We drove down to the bay in complete bafflement. It was a pretty bay but we just didn’t enjoy it. We were completely dismayed and let down. Hana was absolutely nothing we had envisioned. So, after a few minutes, we got back in our car and made the long trip back to the hotel.
Two days later, we were supposed to have taken a boat trip around the island but, due to high winds, we got a call early in the morning cancelling our trip. With nothing else to do, my husband and I decided to drive the Road to Hana again. But this time, we decided to take the entire day. We stopped at a store and purchased a picnic lunch and a CD that highlighted all the things to see and do on the Road to Hana. We took our time, stopping at everything we found interesting. My husband and I relished in the unbridled beauty of this more remote portion of Maui. And when we entered Hana again, merely 48 hours later, it wasn’t the same town we had seen before. It was quaint. The bay was beautiful and inviting. This time, Hana was the culmination of a leisurely and beautiful journey.
My husband and I drove the same exact road twice, within a two day period, with two extremely different outcomes. Ignoring the journey, the first drive was lackluster. The second time around, when we focused on enjoying the journey, the destination became an unexpected gift.
It is when our focus is in the right place that everything comes into perspective. Our journey, called life, is meant to be relished in every aspect and facet. Celebrate all the small victories and gifts along the way. Then, when you do reach major milestones, you will be surprised to find that they are even better than anything you could have dreamed or imagined. So, my friends, forget about the end and enjoy the journey.