Last year around this time, I attended a series of preaching lectures at my alma mater, the McAfee School of Theology. I don't always make it back there for special events; however, when I heard Brian McLaren would be the guest lecturer, I not only made the trip, but sent him an email to see if we could "get together". Really? We'd met once. I'm not sure what led me to do this, other than the fact that I really admire his work. I also think that many of the ideas expressed in his books have inspired me down the path to church starting. Still. Asking before-hand for a featured speaker's time is not my norm.
I must admit I was pretty pumped when I got an email confirming that he would be able to carve out some time for us to meet. We ended up only having about 30 minutes, just enough time for me to ask him about his church starting experience, lessons learned and advice for a new-by. We talked about influential books and the necessity of balance and self-care, but there is one piece of advice that has stuck with me since then. As I shared about my hopes and dreams for our new faith community and for my ministry, he shared some simple yet powerful words that have emerged from lessons learned on his own journey:
Take the long view.
To be honest, I was not sure how I felt about these words when I first heard them.
Take the long view?
What about making each moment count?
What about living like there's no tomorrow?
Take the long view.
Take the long view in life, in ministry, in leading our faith community.
The more I've let these words sink in, the more they have helped me to be focused, to be content, to be present. Everything I hope to achieve, everything I dream of and feel compelled to work toward, does not have to happen today. In fact, it will not happen today. Taking the long view means being present today. Here. Now. It means seeing and participating in the beautiful moments that are unfolding on this day, and not always wanting to do and be more. It means tabling some things that are not as urgent, not as necessary and for which the timing is just not right.
I needed this advice, and I am thankful that it still lingers in my heart and mind. While I have many hopes, dreams and visions for the future, they will (or will not) unfold in due time.
How do these words speak to you?
How do you need to be more present today, here and now?