So we are in the middle of our #BestDayEver series and today we looked at a message entitled, “My Happy Place”. We discussed how we all have a place, person or thing that we go to when we’re stressed, struggling or even just to escape the everyday of life. While most of these things are not bad in themselves, our reason, motivation and approach to these things are what derail us. As one author said, “good things that become god-things are bad things”. We all do this and it often happens very subtly and with good intentions. Yet before we know it we are looking to someone, some place or something to actually be “God” for us. We put the weight of our hopes, dreams and life on that thing and typically before long it crumbles before us. How many of us have been in relationships where the other person was putting expectations on us that were beyond what any human being could handle? While it may feel good to be “superman” for a little while, eventually we collapse. Here’s the thing, whatever we look to for life can quickly take the place of the true and living God and ultimately will fail us. It’s important that we keep short accounts on these things and make sure we “put them in their place” (proper place, that is). Here are the questions I shared that may help us to identify our “happy place”:
This morning as I read Galatians I was hit by Paul’s concerns. He was talking to a religious group of people who were struggling to live by faith because they were so concerned with keeping all the rules. In fact, it seems like they were getting to the point where they were basing their standing with God on their own “performance”. They were even looking at the act of circumcision and their heritage as Jews as what gets them in with God. Paul says to them, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision not uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”
Well, we arrived back in Minnesota on Monday night and are still getting unpacked. It’s weird since we’ve never been away that long. And when you return, you know that God did some stuff in you and you can’t help but feel different while lots here is the same. It can be like an out of body experience in some ways. But I’m sure we’ll adjust — I think the challenge is wanting to hold onto what you learned and how you grew and yet incorporate that into “real” life. That will be our pursuit for sure. We are already assessing how we can simplify life and it’s very freeing. I am a little nervous but also excited to be back teaching and preaching this weekend. I have definitely missed interacting with the great people at Grace! Well that’s my personal update and emotion — but here’s a spiritual question I’ve been wrestling a lot with that I think could be incredibly helpful for you…
We are on the final leg of our sabbatical world tour (okay just 5 places in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina–mostly in Florida). We are currently visiting with Lisa’s parents in The Villages (about 2 hours north of where we were) and beginning the trek home to MN. We will leave Saturday morning and begin the several day process of traveling close to 30 hours! It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience and our girls are at the perfect age for this experience. More than anything else our family bonded like never before and I believe it will continue paying dividends for years to come. I, of course, didn’t have all the time I was hoping to devote to writing the book, studying for upcoming sermons and just being with the Lord – but I think I had exactly the kind of time God wanted me to have! I don’t regret any of it and feel like I grew significantly as a person, a dad, a leader and a pastor. But whether it’s truly growth won’t be seen until we’re back.