Being in my twenties in 2019 is a challenge. The trends, styles, latest memes, and fads are changing at a rapid pace that quite frankly, I can't keep up with. Just when I finally feel that I've managed to swim my way to the shore of Society Island, a tidal wave of yet another new viral sensation I must familiarize myself with catches me with its all-consuming force.
All I'm trying to do is fit in. Why is it so hard?
The brutally honest answer, that which I've continually wrestled with while swimming toward the said island of notoriety and acceptance, is that I'm not supposed to fit in here. That's not even the island I should be headed to.
One of the most challenging aspects of my walk with Jesus, reaching back to the day of my salvation through the very moment I type these words, is that while I've been given this physical, earthly life, this isn't my final destination.
Some within Christian circles will refer to this as our "dual-citizenship", meaning that while we are very much citizens of this temporary world, we also have an assured home with our name on it waiting for us in Heaven. However you chose to label it, I'm going to chose to label it as confusing.
Even while I know that a final destination filled with the presence of God, face-to-face conversations with Jesus, and a cornucopia overflowing with the Fruits of the Spirit is awaiting me, I still have a good chunk of time here on Earth. And let's face it, this world isn't always the easiest to live in. Knowing that one day soon I'll be resting peacefully on the shore of Heaven doesn't seem to stop me from swimming like a blind fish towards a deserted island of empty promises.
One of my favorite quotes, that I share with basically anyone I come in contact with, helps me process this conflicting citizenship.
"A boat is made to be in the water, but once the water gets in the boat, it drowns."
I find this to be a beautiful metaphor for our time here on Earth.
Boats have a purpose. I don't know much about boats but I do know that some boats carry supplies to other parts of the world. Others may carry families to and from Caribbean docks and have on-ship amenities to create a joyful vacation atmosphere. And yet, other boats are the very workplaces of some individuals who have dedicated their lives to the tedious vocation of fishing. Regardless of the make or model, each boat was created intentionally, placed in the water with a purpose.
We are boats, friends. Sometimes it feels as though we were plopped in a swirling sea with no destination in sight. This world does that to us. The waves of popularity, politics, and peer pressure can make it easy to lose sight of where we are going and what we need to accomplish before we get there. Let's look at some encouragement from God's word...
In John 15:19, Jesus Christ himself explains why this is such a hard concept to master. "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it's own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
In other words, this is why the tide keeps pulling us under, we don't belong to this world. This is a temporary sailing, if we want to keep this boat picture alive.
The comfort in these words from the gospel of John is the assurance that God has "chose us out of the world." Although we are here right now and must navigate the evil and suffering floating all around us, we can have confidence knowing he will not leave us here. He has placed us here with a purpose, perhaps to deliver the supply of the gospel, create peaceful atmospheres for others to enjoy, or dedicate ourselves to jobs of serving others, just like fishermen.
We have an exciting task at hand, as those who know the truth and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We have the opportunity, the obligation, to make this truth and saving grace known in this swirling sea, so everyone has the chance to join us in our eternal rest.
So I challenge you with this today, and perhaps the rest of your time here on this broken planet. It is easy to become engulfed (I truly cannot stop this metaphor if my life depended on it...) with the pain of this world and forget the pleasure of where we are headed. And don't misinterpret my heart here, I don't want us to become naive to the pain. But let's begin to sail intently, steering as many other boats as we can in the direction of Jesus. Decide today to no longer dedicate your time here on Earth to fitting in, but doing your part to fit others into the Kingdom. -Taylor