Are you someone that loves to travel, or are you more of a stay-home body? Whether you prefer to stay local or roam far and wide, we all have to deal with the same issue, the wandering of our minds.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Romans 7:18-19 – NIV
I’m not quite sure where it came from. Perhaps it’s genetic. My Grandmama had it too, but it didn’t take her too far afield.
Grandmama had all the signs. Even as a little girl, I could see them. Whenever someone showed up in her driveway with the words, “Do you want to go…”, Grandmama would be rushing into the house to grab her pocketbook before she could hear where they were headed. It didn’t matter. Grandmama was sitting on “Go!”, and anywhere was fine with her.
I don’t know. Maybe it was my Army brat upbringing that got it started. All those miles traveling from one Army post to another opened my eyes to that great big world out there. I was fascinated by the Changes in scenery, enchanted by the interesting people along the way. Suffice it to say, whether the source is genetic or experiential or a combination of both, I have a strong dose of the wanderlust.
Wanderlust…the almost uncontrollable urge to wander, to roam, to travel, to see and experience new places and things. Perhaps those 29 moves as a child got things rolling, but I have had a bucket list long before the term was trendy. From as far back as my teenage days, I started talking travel with friends and strangers alike. When someone mentioned a place of interest, I would add the place to my mental bucket list. With the diagnosis of my retinal degenerative disease, the need to make progress on that list became paramount. That’s when I packed my bags and got busy. No time to waste. I had places to be and things to see!
Over the years, our travels have carried us far abroad and all over the United States. Most recently, the purchase of an RV travel trailer has added an exciting new dimension to my wanderings.
Surely, God has blessed us with fabulous opportunities to go and see while I still can. I am so exceedingly grateful for every mile and every view. I imagine that God gets a good chuckle out of hearing me “Ooh” and “Ah” over some magnificent vista. I hope God finds pleasure in my enjoyment of his amazing creation.
Yet, I think there is an avenue of my wandering for which God is not so pleased. I am talking about the wandering of my mind, the distractedness of my thinking, my inattention to the things of God. I don’t mean to do it. It’s not intentional. It’s just that my mind wanders so easily.
I find myself distracted by the items on my to do list. I piddle away my time on unimportant tasks. I get obsessed about my flowers or my phone. I squander away my time without much to show for it. My mind wanders during prayer or grows inattentive during sermons. Sometimes even that jolly bucket list draws my brain away. Instead of focusing on the priorities God has for me, I spend far too much time on the priorities of my own choosing.
So is that sin? I think so. Sometimes it’s a sin of omission. Other times, I fall prey to sins of commission, but bottom line, I make other things idols. My gaze shifts away from God, and as a result, I squander away my days.
Yet, amid all this confession and self-reproach, there is good news. God gets it. God understands my human frailties, and He stands ready to forgive me. He will redirect my course if I simply turn back in contrition.
There is a line in one of my favorite praise songs that spoke to me as I pondered this wandering issue. The line reads, “Your goodness is running after me.”*That line makes me think about how I run along chasing the wind, and all the while, God’s goodness is running after me, relentlessly pursuing me, intent on bringing me back into the fold. I matter that much to Him. So do you.
Isn’t that amazing? Our Good Shepherd never gives up on us no matter how far we roam. As the Apostle Paul so boldly proclaims, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25a, NIV). Because His love for us is never ending, God never stops searching for us. Over and over again, He runs after His little lost sheep. Isn’t it high time we gave up our wanderings and let Him bring us home?
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
John 10:14 – NIV
O Sweet Jesus, O Good Shepherd, we run to You. We long for the comfort of Your loving arms. Forgive us when we fail to follow Your leading. Forgive our wandering minds. Create in us a clean heart and a right spirit to serve you well. Bring us home, Lord, bring us home safely to You.
In the Loving Name of Jesus, we pray,
*Quote from the lyrics of “The Goodness of God” Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music