“Success is a journey, not a destination.” Anonymous
How many words can you replace the word “success” with? Could you insert words that define your journey?
Several years ago at a retreat I attended, a spiritual director I met with and shared a snippet of my story with gave me a book to read – “Hinds’ Feet on High Places”. This book is an awesome allegory of a faith journey. The more I read the book I began to see how much my story and my journey related to the main character’s – Much Afraid.
Much Afraid wants to leave the Valley of Humiliation and travel to the High Places. She cries out to the Good Shepherd who gives her two companions to make her journey up the mountain, Sorrow and Suffering. Her journey up the mountain wasn’t easy. Along the way, she encounters Bitterness, Self Pity, Pride, Resentment, and Craven Fear who torment her. Much Afraid in the story often questions her abilities and sometimes when she calls upon the Good Shepherd, she doesn’t feel him near helping her along the journey.
Any of this sound familiar to you in your faith journey?
Today, I look back on my own journey. I have companioned with Sorrow and Suffering. I have also met Bitterness, Self Pity, Pride, Resentment, Craven Fear and a few others tempting me to give up. There have also been times when I didn’t sense my good shepherd, Jesus, coming to my aid when I called out.
Just as Much Afraid matures through her journey and her companions, I have matured in my faith and am learning a great deal of trust and surrender along the path I’m on. I’ve gained so much along this road of healing. The destination may be the top of the mountain but I marvel in the realization that it’s not my focus. It’s the little gems I pick up along the path, the growth, the things I overcome and endure that are key aspects in my life journey. The path I’m on is God’s and my trust and surrender is a choice for me to embrace.
Healing is a journey, not a destination.
Another piece of the book that I love is that before the journey commences, the Good Shepherd plants the seed of love within Much Afraid. At the end of the story, this seed has grown and Much Afraid has accepted her Sorrow and Suffering transforming them into Joy and Peace.
I have always loved the image of this seed of love being planted within. This seed represents so much in our faith journey. It is important to realize that it is openness that allows this seed to grow and bear fruit. Perhaps, you might say this is the “miracle grow”. Along our journey we will be tested, we will have trials, we will be tempted to veer off the path God has us on but it’s this seed within, our faith, that produces the perseverance to continue the journey.
Often times, I have been frustrated with myself when I feel my healing takes a dip. It may sometimes feel like it will never end that I will remain broken. It’s in knowing that this is a journey and not a destination that gives me hope on my path. The more I proceed, the more I dig deeper in my healing and that produces endless fruit. The deeper I dig, the more I grow in love and feel loved by my Good Shepherd, Jesus – my Lord and Savior.
Ryan Stevenson has a new song that has been playing on the radio and has been touching my soul. I can visualize myself on the top of the mountain, arms stretched out and my hands lifted, totally surrendering “with every heartbeat in my chest…. the days yet to come and the days in the past.” I invite you to listen to the lyrics in this song and to read the book “Hinds’ Feet on High Places”. Envision your faith, your healing, your relationship with God as a journey, not a destination.