Is it about the journey or the destination?
A friend posted this scenic saying the other day about the journey, and I questioned it. I said life is about both – the journey and the destination. If there’s no destination, what’s the point of the journey?
My friend’s response:
So can you tell me what your destination is? And once you get there, then what? I know I have goals set to get me places, but the goals will never stop; otherwise I wouldn’t feel like I was growing as a person. Therefore, I don’t really have a destination because it’s so much bigger than that.
I see what she’s getting at. I have goals as well that will never stop. Even if I achieve a goal, others will remain. That’s how we grow as individuals. I’m with her 100 percent on that.
But the destination is the big picture. We need to think big thoughts sometimes. What is our purpose? What are we doing on this Earth, anyway?
A goal is a desired outcome. A destination is a place where someone is going.
We can have many goals. But where are we going?
John Maxwell, a leadership expert I respect greatly, offers this perspective:
What matters more, the journey, or the destination? If you only focus on the journey, you lack direction and motivation, and if you focus solely on your destination, you can miss the life lessons and memories along the way. Plus, you often discover through your journey that your final destination isn’t exactly the same as it was when you started.
Interesting. The destination of our lives may change as we continue the journey, Maxwell claims. As we experience life, we discover new paths and journeys – and perhaps a new place where we want to go.
For most of my adult life, my journey was smooth and relatively easy. I had a secure job that paid the bills with money left over, my wife and I raised three healthy and active sons, we all were involved in a few extracurricular activities – life was full, fun and worth living.
Then, as our boys were heading off to college, my job was eliminated. Since then, I’ve held six jobs in seven years in three states.
The journey got bumpy.
I never would have met the friend I quoted at the start of this article if my life had not taken those unexpected twists and turns.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Cor. 9:24)
Every runner runs to win the race (unless you’re in the Boston Marathon, in which case you’re just trying to finish – when the finish line becomes the destination).
My friend poses an interesting question: Once I get to my destination, then what? When I reach the finish line, what comes next?
Her first question gets to the heart of the matter: Can you tell me what your destination is?
My destination is heaven. As long as I am alive on Planet Earth, I won’t get there. So there’s no chance of reaching my destination while I’m still on this journey.
Why, then, pursue an unattainable place?
Because the destination is attainable. Just not in this life. And if I don’t pursue heaven, I won’t get there.
Therefore, my dear friends … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
This doesn’t mean I have to earn salvation. No, salvation is a gift from God. But if I am “saved,” then my life will reflect it. My goals will change. My journey will take a different – and better and more meaningful – course.
I have to pursue God continually.
Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? (Romans 6:1)
This earthly life is not about me. I’ve written about that previously in this blog. I am a tiny piece of the puzzle that God is putting together. But God thinks I’m an important piece, worth having around.
This is true for you too.
The least we can do in response to God’s love – even when those closest to us hurt us, or even when we don’t feel worthy of God’s love – is to say thanks and try to do things He would enjoy. That’s the way we treat those we love on this Earth, isn’t it? We try to do things they enjoy.
This is the journey.
The destination is to live not only for God, but with God.
To live without God. Ever.
There’s no middle ground. We might think there’s a purgatory or something like that, but there isn’t. God is tapping on our hearts. We say yes or no.
That determines our ultimate destination.
We can’t pursue anything bigger than that. Destinations we pursue here on Earth will end someday. Each of us will die one day. That’s a guarantee.
We don’t like to think about that, but the end is coming. Hopefully later rather than sooner, but …
Maxwell profiled a husband and wife who spent a lot of time studying their purpose in life. They offer this conclusion:
To those starting out on their own personal journey to find their purpose, the couple gave this advice: “Know that this is your journey. It’s a path to follow, not a destination. Once you realize that you are on a journey of your own, you can stop comparing yourself to others and celebrate their wins, knowing that yours are coming. Someone else winning helps you, it doesn’t take away from you. There is more than enough for all of us to win.” Are you winning in your life right now? Or are you too busy comparing your life to others and feeling let down? The journey, and the destination, are yours to choose.
Enjoy the ride. Pursue your destination. See you at the finish line.