Life is process. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is famous for saying, “All is flux.” One Psalmist wrote, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage” (Psalms 84:5 NIV). People that get stuck in their ways grow stale, obnoxious, narrow-minded, and generally selfish. Fluidity is wisdom, flexibility prudent.
Due to the fact that constant change is inescapable, transition is an inevitably part of life. Transition does have to be a bad thing. Actually, it can be what keeps life interesting. Who knows what lies on the other side or right around the corner? Surprises only come to those who venture out in the unknown.
This last week my family has undergone a major transition. Our processes are in flux. Packed up entire house in one truck on Wednesday. Closed on that house Thursday. Living with my-laws for a few more days as we await moving into our new home. As we moved, I took a moment to reflect on a parallel between a physical transition and a spiritual transition.
As my wife and I packed our home preparing for our transition, there was a particular philosophy we employed. All of our things fit into one of following categories:
1. Absolutely necessary; we need it
2. Not absolutely necessary, but still useful
3. Have more than one already and only one is needed
4. Do not need anymore
5. Possesses great value for some other reason than it’s functionality (aesthetic, sentimental, etc.)
When you have to pack up an entire house, anything that falls into category #3 or #4 must be discarded. But notice something. Just because it falls into category #3 or #4 does not necessarily mean that the object does not possess any value. It does not mean the item is trash. All it means is that for where you are going, it no longer fits into your vision. This is not an issue of good verses bad or right verses wrong, but rather, do you need to take this particular thing into the next season? Will it enhance or obstruct your next step?
Spiritually, this could not be a better lesson for a Christian. Are you undergoing a transition in your life? If so, it is spiritual. Any and every transition is spiritual. All things are spiritual (ironically, only religious people usually reject the Biblical philosophy that All Things Are Spiritual). If you are in a transition time, this is a precious opportunity to run every area of your life through the filter of these five categories. Please consider the following truth:
The most difficult decisions are not between right and wrong, good and evil. The most difficult decisions are between what is “good” and what is “best.” This is where prayer and sometimes fasting is needed. This is where you better seek some advice. This is where you better stop a moment and reflect. When you are putting everything in boxes, most items that fall in category #3 or #4 are not bad. They simply do not fit into your idea of the future. They hold no value in terms of your future orientation. The object simply has no place in where are headed. When you choose to discard the item, the choice was not whether or not the item was bad for you. The question was, “Is this object best for where I am headed?” If not, then you give it away.
During transitions, this is your chance to open your heart to the searching, probing Holy Spirit. He will be more than willing to aid you in this simplification process. Anybody can eventually let go of something bad. That is easy. The real issue is if you will be willing to part ways with certain things that though good, will only take up space and become emotional/spiritual clutter in the next season.
We have all probably heard the phrase, “Good is the enemy of best.” This has almost become a cliche. However, expressions usually acquire “cliche” status only because they are so true, people repeat them over and over and over. Take advantage of a transition-time. Discard not just the bad, but also the good. Keep the good that is useful (categories #1 and #2) and the special (category #5) that God wants you to bring along in your journey, but get rid of the clutter, the spiritual baggage, the excess. This way, your heart will be free to be loyal, completely faithful, and entirely focused on what God has for you around the bend.
Don’t waste your “flux.”