I’ve officially been in the Holy Land 24 hours now. Afters years of anticipation, months of planning, and much time spent dreaming, I’m finally here. I’ve dreamt many things for this time. My desires have always been the same– to make friends, share the Gospel, follow the footsteps of Jesus, learn from local missionaries, and see the Bible come more alive to me than ever before. I wouldn’t say these dreams are idealistic at all. They are very possible and doable. The problem is, since leaving the airport in Houston, TX three days ago, I’ve been distracted.
I never realized before how goal oriented I am. I figure out an end destination and then I get there. I love efficiency too. So I love getting there quickly and well. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in this case it was. I became so goal-oriented that I started to miss it. The irony of this is that it actually caused me to overlook my original, larger scale goals- my dreams.
For example: I met some friends on a train back from traveling Amsterdam on an extended layover. Jesus easily came up in conversation because I just graduated with a Religion degree, and the first question any university students ask is always, “What is your major?” Come to find out, they were both agnostic but seeking the truth. You would thought that this perfect opportunity to share the Gospel with new friends would have been taken advantage of, but alas I was too focused on getting to my airport terminal– two hours early. After I got to my destination, with plenty of time to spare, I was humbled.
And again: Yesterday evening we arrived in Jerusalem, and met some people on the bus who walked over a mile with us to the Damascus Gate. They both considered themselves Atheist Jews. We conversed for quite some time. What an opportunity! I was only halfway present though. I was tired from the long journey with little sleep. I walked with my head down, sweat dripping from the blazing sun, and body burning from the walk carrying heavy luggage. All this to say, we still had good conversation. Its just that I was so concerned with arriving at the destination that I missed the journey, the beautiful surroundings that I had so longed to see, and, most importantly, the people.
I realized how selfishly wanted to finish the task at hand that I totally ignored the chance to share- which is the greater goal of my heart’s desire. The lesser task took me from full investment in the conversation. From full investment in the moment. One of my favorite hymns “Come Thou Fount” talks about how humans are “prone to wander”. This couldn’t be more true. I would venture to say that wandering can sometimes come in the form of distraction by something lesser. Wandering of the heart and mind occurs when I lose the moment in order to complete a less important task at hand. I think that we, as humans, are very prone to this. We are really, really good at losing the moment. I want to live my dreams, all to the glory of God, way more than I want to merely get things done. So when the moments come I just have to remember that goals never outweigh people. Tasks never outweigh love.
My lesson after spending a day in the Holy Land: Don’t let distraction keep you from living your dreams to the glory of God. By His grace, embrace the moment as hard as you can–you’re never getting it back. Because, when push comes to shove the cry of my heart is that I don’t want to miss a thing.
You, Erica Anne Hairston, while you are in the Holy Land and forevermore, don’t be interrupted by “getting there” because you’ll miss everything you actually desire.
You, camp counselor this summer, don’t let the busywork of getting things done or arriving to activities on time keep you from spending time with a camper who wants to hear about Jesus.
You, university student, don’t let homework or a 4.0 take you away from enjoying God to the full.
You, adult in the workforce, don’t let the stress of every day life or Netflix take you away from what really matters.
You, person that thinks really hard, don’t let your desire for knowledge trump your desire for knowing God. If all you want is to ask questions than your hunger for answers can never be filled.
You, person that doesn’t think enough, don’t go on living in distraction. Life is far too precious to not live it fully present.
You, Christian, love is more important than tasks and destinations so be loved by Christ and love others well.
You, human, enjoy life and treasure the moments because its the only one you have.