Meaning well isn't really a personal virtue. It usually identifies people who have good intentions but lack the wherewithal to deliver the worthy idea, action, or thought that momentarily flashed across their screen. Perhaps it's another mark of the spiritual and moral condition of our culture, that we are people of good intentions. Today, government is stalled, the church is in some sort of decline or redefinition, careers are pretty much a spin-the-bottle rotation with ever changing results, marriages are hit and miss, and young people are living in their parents attics until their thirties. It's a maybe world annotated with question marks. Right now millions of Americans live in the woulds. Some of us are lot there. Covid-19 still has us all stumped. You know, the world of good intentions.
Demographers like Gallup, the Pew Forum, the American Values Atlas, Barna Research, and many others summarize these cultural markings as indicators of a nation adrift. In my mind this translates to a nation with obscure beliefs being carried along by the currents of the times. Subsumed from the American landscape to the local living room it is life without direction, the unfocused reality of life defined by the complexity and velocity of the times rather than deeply held beliefs. For me it is most often the competition between my personal values and the moment, with the moment often winning the wrestling match for my limited resources. That I may actually have good intentions is really no salve for the wounds created by what I would have done in another set of circumstances. Most often, living in the woulds, at least for me, is a matter of destination.
Or, it should be. As a convictional Christian, my destination is the Kingdom of God. Faith reminds me that this Kingdom, as defined by Jesus, is a present reality and a future promise. Seeking his Kingdom first, as clarified by Jesus, should be the controlling interest of my life (see Matthew 6:33). Doing the Father's will while on this earth is my directional guarantee, along with confessing Jesus as Lord, of entrance to that Kingdom (see Matthew 7:21). My destination as a Kingdom person should actualize a more intentional approach to everything I do. Having a clear destination in life should move me from being lost in the woulds to being a person of the Kingdom in every life activity or pursuit, living intentionally.
We are hard wired to be governed by destination. Children know early on to ask, "Are we there yet?" when beginning any journey. Educators prime us for performance by casting our vision to the next grade. When doesn't the mention of Christmas at least temporarily draw our children back to sanity? How often we humans will forgo a momentary pleasure when saving for that dream vacation. The rigors of my knob year at The Citadel was often mediated by the dream of standing in that "long grey line", the arrival point of every person who walked through Lesesne Gate. The truth is that we are regulated in life by having clearly defined life destinations. It's a way out of the woulds.
Are you lost in the woulds? It wouldn't be that rare right now, in the lingering forever of this Covid-19 pandemic and the cultural tensions so obvious in every area of life. Many of us are struggling to find direction and meaning in this angry, seemingly senseless world. Maybe it's time for a gut check about our life destinations, something on a grander scale than with the man in the mirror. Perhaps our destinations have become secondary or tertiary or even farther down the line of life priorities. Wandering in the woulds isn't all that challenging or daring. Without clear destinations its just that, wandering in the uncertainty of what would be. Even more, it's often more than just meaningless wandering. Sometimes we're lost in the woulds. and can't find our way out. Take a moment for some soul searching. Clarify or renew your life destination right now.
My prayer for the day? "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10, ESV). Lord, get me out of the woulds and living intentionally.
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