We get stuck...
Suddenly there's no big event on the horizon to work towards, there's no conference to plan, no mountain top experience on the horizon. Nothing.
And we hear that still small voice in our souls tell us It's time to slow down, not work so hard, be patient. We hate it.
God, how we hate it.
As I'm getting older and questionably wiser I am becoming more convinced that God is more interested in the person we are becoming rather than what we are doing.
He is attempting to prepare us for eternity, make us into the kind of people that would enjoy it in Heaven.
An example is tithing:
I honestly think He cares less about the fact that we would give ten percent to the church and more about making us into generous people. The kind of people that would gladly give money to a need because we are accustomed to giving away a whole ten percent and we have never gone hungry.
When we fight the "ten percent rule" looking for ways around it, we are missing the point.
When we ask "yeah, but gross income or net income?" we are missing the point.
The point is God wants His people to give generously, to meet needs where we find them. Not follow arbitrary rules.
When God makes us slow down it isn't because we're useless or because we are terrible sinners. It's because He wants to make us into the type of people that are completely comfortable in our own skins. The kind of people that are satisfied no matter what life throws their way. The kind of people ready in season and out.
When I read the gospels this is what impresses me most about Christ. He seems so comfortable in his own skin. Not shaken or thrown to tantrums (I know the whole temple thing, but that was ONE time and it was because poor people were being taken advantage of.) He doesn't seem anxious or needy.
It's because he knows who he is. And he knows that he is the "beloved son in whom God is well pleased".
If we could get a glimpse of our own belovedness this anxiety and posturing would disappear. We could love others unconditionally, not worrying if there would be enough for us. We would stop fighting and striving to be better, to be more like someone else because God seems to love them and bless them more.
This is how we become more like Christ. Understand that God loves us just the exact way we are. Not some idealistic future version of ourselves. But the people we are....right now.
When we understand our own belovedness then those other fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, all those come much more naturally to us.
In this my hope lies: I am the beloved son of God. Warts and all. And in this hope I can change my world.