Shortly after I felt God urging me to pursue a passion for speaking and writing, I felt restless in my heart. I loved my career in insurance and still do. The restlessness caused me to wonder how my career and my passions would collide.
I began thinking about all of the steps ahead and I started to dream. While dreaming is necessary, it also has the tendency to distract you from taking any steps at all. I’ve heard it said, “Confidence without a challenge equals complacency.”
A dream without action remains, simply, a dream.
I sat at my kitchen table and prayed:
“God, reduce the things that I pursue out of my desires and enlarge the things you would have me to pursue for yours.”
I knew this prayer was dangerous and I felt fear keeping me from wanting to even utter it. It was so much easier to just rest where I was.
When I arrived at my office that morning, my phone rang. Of all people, it was my State Sales Director. I immediately began thinking, why is he calling me? He’s heard about the blog and is going to ask me to stop, what if I’ve messed something up, was I in trouble? I was afraid my prayer was going to hurt more than I ever anticipated.
“Matt, I wanted to call to ask you to represent our state at Southern Farm Bureau’s Vision Committee.”
My jaw dropped; what a huge honor. As the only agent representative from our state, I would meet with other state representatives and our corporate team to discuss the company’s vision as we embark on a new year. I immediately felt like this trip was going to provide the direction I was looking for.
As I traveled to our meeting, in Biloxi, MS, I kept thinking that there was going to be some major occurrence; an act of God that would give me clarity and vision for my future. I didn’t consider it ironic that I was asking for clarity when nominated to a Vision committee.
As I boarded the plane and traveled through Atlanta, I kept a watchful eye on my surroundings, looking for a sign. I paid close attention to every conversation and each individual I encountered. Somewhere in route to Biloxi, I dozed off on the plane.
When I woke up, I looked at my watch only to realize that we were fifteen minutes past our scheduled landing time. Then, over the loud speaker, I heard:
“The weather in Biloxi is keeping us from landing and this holding pattern isn’t working. We’re going to put down in New Orleans and wait it out.”
Wait, the New Orleans airport wasn’t part of my journey. It was off course and worse, I was waiting. Then we got the word:
“The fight to Biloxi has been cancelled.”
That’s life. Delayed plans and things not going my way.
After a few calls with my corporate liaison, a bus was arranged to take a few of us from New Orleans to Biloxi.
As I sit here on the bus, I’m smiling and writing this post.
I’m smiling because I’m reminded how impatient I am. As I was trying to direct every step from here to eternity, I needed to be reminded of something. My plans often pervade everything I do and when they don’t go my way, the first reaction is disappointment.
What I’m learning on this journey is that, all too often, God’s plans are not my own; neither is His timing. That is why He invites us to trust. Flights get cancelled and sometimes we have to ride the bus.
Bus rides are where we define ourselves.
On the bus, we are faced with a choice. We can complain that we’re on the bus or we can enjoy the ride, learning along the way. The world has its own definition of richness, much like my plans for how I want my perfect life to go. The challenge to redefining what it means to be rich includes harnessing gratitude in spite of circumstances; learning to ride the bus.
Is it bumpy? Yes.
Is it inefficient? Absolutely.
Is it necessary? You bet.
As we drive through the dark, foggy night from Southern Louisiana into Southern Mississippi, I’m reminded that bus rides are necessary. But, they’re only effective when we learn to be grateful for them.
QUESTION: What bus are you riding?
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