I don’t know about you but for me taking a trip and experiencing a change of scenery is always a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to reevaluate and think about my life. Not only do I (typically) come back rested and ready to tackle life and all its twists and turns, but I come back with a renewed vigor to do it well. It’s an opportunity to take what I’ve seen and apply it to my daily life.
Having just returned from a short vacation back to Fargo, I’ve been reflecting on how much my life has changed since I moved away from there seven years ago. It feels like I only graduated from college a couple of years ago, but the reality of how much the city — and my friends who still live there — have changed, is strong. The city has expanded into what was corn fields when I was in school. Friends have earned promotions, gotten married and had kids. Businesses have launched, struggled and failed (and succeeded).
I couldn’t help but realize that there is a crazy, divine path for my life that led me from Fargo to Greenwich to Issaquah. I don’t understand it and probably never will. And I certainly haven’t been able to recognize it during each moment, but the view in the rear view mirror is pretty amazing.
Driving around Fargo I gave into the rabbit trail thinking of what my life would have been like had I landed a job in my college town. What would it be like living there now? Would I be married? Have kids? Would I still be working at the same place, doing the same thing? Would I still have the same friends? Would I be bored? What would my relationship with God be like? I felt like God told me over and over again that none of it was even an option. Fargo was my college town and place to establish my adulthood, but it wasn’t a landing place.
Those six days were some of the best I’ve had in recent months to unplug and let my mind take a vacation, too. I found myself open to what God was wanting to teach me. Not only about the orchestrated plan for my life, but also about other people.
Reading an article in the local newspaper I was horrified over the treatment of male baby chickens (this is Fargo, remember) who are tossed out like garbage and killed because they don’t produce eggs and don’t grow fast enough to be raised for meat. As clear as anything else I’ve ever recognized as God’s voice, I knew God was teaching me that I need to be as horrified by the poor treatment of people as I am these chicks.
A few days later as I was driving through an older part of town and thinking about how rundown many of the buildings were, God again illustrated a message. To Him, we are just like these buildings — from the outside we are poorly maintained and dilapidated. We have dysfunctions in our families, problems to be resolved, debts to be paid, health to be restored. Yet despite the status of the building, a business still operates. And despite the state of our affairs, our lives still get lived. Both are still valuable and have the ability to be improved through sometimes difficult, painful and costly upgrades. Business owners can choose to make an investment and upgrade their building. And we can choose to make the investment and allow God to upgrade our lives.