One of my dreams last night was a trip that I had to take to a small community nearby. But for some reason the way we were going to go was more of a round the mountain trip. We could go dead south(fastest), or in this case travel slightly west at which point we had a more direct route or the road that went around. For some reason I sensed the longer trip was the one, but I struggled with the idea that it was going to take more time and more miles And while the longer route was settled and okay, there was a feeling of “why”.
Why in my life is a very important question and I ask it often!
We came up off the dark back road and to the entrance of the community. There was a very large sign, with the name of the community in cursive. But the cursive writing was in a frame and it was one of those older metal signs. The writing was done in iron and “hung” in the air. (This town does NOT have this sign.)
That part of the dream ended but upon waking it was the more relevant part of the dream.
Why? I think more than anything else as I pray for others, there is a tendency to not want to “look back”. To go “onward and upward”. But as people see themselves as eagles and planes, they forget the return to the ground they must make. To land, to refuel. To prepare for another day. To make corrections.
Someone said to me “your family is pretty together”. I agree. I broke some of the cycles that came about in my childhood. I removed the tendencies that followed my father and mother. I am not mad or bitter about them or my youth, but I remember one of the turning points for me. My mom and I were talking about things that were good and bad and we were on a tough one and I said to her, “this ends with me”. Meaning there would not be a another cycle. I was cutting it off. (I have one more I am looking to see overcome in my family.)
Being “pretty together” is the result of a few things. One was acknowledging the depth of my despair. The darkness of my situation. From their I laid out my choices or “fanned my options”. And I systematically began (Along with my wife.) to choose them. Not all my choices were good and some held me back. But overall, I feel as though the majority of the ones concerning family, friendship and legacy have been pretty right on.
Imagine my thinking a few weeks ago as I listened to a young person tell me, “I am an adult. I don’t need my parents.” I thought, this is not good that you believe that.
A degree of wisdom and insight come from God, but much of it comes from people…who are older than you are are. Who have been there. Who have DONE that. And know the results well.
As I watch people at work, in church fellowship and in life I can usually tell you were they will be and the encounters. I learned a long time ago the word will be tested. Whether it be your latest revelation or a prophetic word. Proverbs 30:5
Only yesterday I found myself thinking about a word I had been given the day before by the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Hmmm…I used to think it meant more of escape and less of provision, but I have come see the supply side more and more. So as I sat there with shampoo in my hair (Well, I am believing for all things restored!)the word rolling around in my mouth, I knew that the word was going to be tested. I did not know how or even why. I did not do as well as I could but I lived. And there I was thinking through, how I could have done better. It was then I realized this thinking. The best way to pass a test, is to realize A)You are not alone-He is there B)To accept that-not going off on “I can do this” and C) to let Him express Himself through you. “You mean get out of the way?” Uhhh…yes! It is not WWJD (What would Jesus do?) but WCJDTY (What can Jesus do through you?) Your answer is important!
But like the dream you can choose the longer, slower way to get some place. You can drive through some cool scenery but that does not necessarily make up for the delay. I know. Process, right? Well, process does not have to be long or arduous. As a spiritual dad used to tell me, “experience is a wonderful teacher but so much harder than just asking what you need to know and doing it. Experience can be a harsh leader.”
By the way, the community with the iron sign? That was not my final destination. It was on the way. The long way!
The young person striving to be an adult by being themselves and not looking to no one? I hope they hear. Young people, if I have had one regret over nearly 60 years it would have been to have had someone who cared and deployed wisdom in my life when I was 20, 25 or 30 years old. But for me it did not occur until my late 30’s and even now…I ask! Being adult does not mean walking it out alone. Young people, my prayer for you is you learn to ask. To reach out. To God, to more mature friends and family.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I get what he meant, but I believe it is “bad prophecy”. As a parent, teacher or mentor you may have to devote some time to overturning this. As a young person you may need to uproot some thinking. But so much is to be said for youth. It is restorative to those that are older.
As I watch people grow and change, I notice that those who seek wisdom and insight grow. Those that tend to “do it on their own” keeping to themselves grow slower or do it the hard way. Your choice. I learned a long time ago, if you are not asked your words do pretty much nothing. Far better to devote those words to prayer and prophecy over that person’s life or situation. And that alone is one of the greatest things I learned from another.
Folks, we need each other. For a lot more than just food and fun.
Learn to ask. Learn to listen. Learn to walk out the wisdom.