“You are here.”
Because sometimes we need reminders. Sometimes, we truly have no clue where we’re at and search the park map frantically wondering just how far we are from our hopeful destination. And sigh with relief or with discouragement or with annoyance because we’re not where we thought we were, or not where we want to be. And yet, when we look at the guide posted for us on a trail, at a theme park, or on our phone’s GPS, it’s very clear where we are. Barring a prank or some technological disturbance, the carefully labeled map’s big star, or hovering blue dot, tell us exactly where we are. Black and white. No room for grey. The clearly labeled (maybe) map points out for us how much farther we have to go, what the path looks like the rest of the way, and maybe where the restroom is if you’re lucky.
But, life… Oh, life. There’s no denying we are where we are. Oh, wait, there is. There’s lots of denying, huh? Just me? No, you too? Thought so. Sometimes we don’t even know we do it. And yet there we are, a blue star on our theoretical map, pretending, hoping, desiring to be somewhere else. Further along somehow – many times in noble ways too. And yet, in God’s wise and loving care, it’s this journey to the destination that binds us to Him in a way that simply being there does not.
We had the opportunity to go to Tuscun, Arizona a few months ago. I love mountains that spring up mightily in the midst of the desert – bold, breath-taking, and unmoving. My heart is tenderly spoken to every time I go to those mountains and am reminded of the unshakable power of our God. So, while Ryan was teaching at a training, I took off up Mt. Lemmon, driving until I reached the top, but stopping multiple times along the way to photograph these rocks sitting precariously, yet firmly, on both sides of the winding road.
I was amazed at the difference in landscape and vegetation that quickly changed – from hiking in Sabino canyon and being surrounded by enormous cacti standing grand and king-like, to the lush greens of pine trees. I was struck that the cacti stand tall and gloriously where they have been planted. The living conditions for the cacti are different from the living conditions of the pine, and yet they almost live side by side. If they had eyes, they would be able to look upon each other and their differentness and uniqueness. I wonder if they would compare? If they would judge? If they would be jealous?
But no, they sink their roots deeply into where they have been planted by the Creator, growing sturdily and steadily there, knowing that that particular ground, the amount of sun, desert, and water is exactly what they need for where they have been planted. An oak or a pine couldn’t grow naturally in the desert and the towering cactus couldn’t grow further up the mountain where the temperature drops from 80 degrees to 30 degrees in an hour.
Comparison is futile for these plants. The surroundings and soil at first glance even appear to be the same, as the landscape quickly begins to change, but they are not. The cactus, the pine, the oak, are all beautifully reflecting the image of their Creator, right where they are planted. Not comparing, or wanting what the other has – The Sovereign Creator has made and given them specific gifts to display His glory in unique ways. And I doubt they balk or whine about it.
What a lesson for me. Can I look on where others are “planted” and see God’s glory and image being reflected? Can I trust the soil and conditions in which He has me? And them? Because the reality is: I am here.
I am, by the grace of God, not where I was; and by the promise of God, not yet where I will be.
But right now, I am here.
As I accept this option, this reality, of being here, it means I embrace my limitations. I embrace my strengths, weaknesses, and desires. I embrace what I can’t do and what I’m not called to. I embrace what I can do and am called to. It makes my yeses and no’s a lot easier as I lean into some options and not others. It is simultaneously humbling and freeing.
My husband said recently, “we try to cover up our aimlessness with a lot of activity”. Hmmm. As I sink into where I am, I have a goal in mind, an aim, a purpose. A place in mind. People in my heart. I don’t have to cover up my aimlessness with lots of activity because I can see the “you are here” star reminding me that there’s a purpose in where I am and how God has designed me, even the limitations He has, in His loving care, given me.