I can be caught up wishing I was a part of certain group. For the past few days, I’ve wistfully looked at pictures and updates from Bob Goff’s Lodge Retreat, filled with natural beauty and stories from people I admire. Bob was there, of course, and so was Don, John, Ryan, Carlos, Shauna, Propaganda, Jen, plus many others. Part of me wants to be there too, and not just for the community, mountains, waterfalls, and great music.
I want to feel like I belong. To be famous, influential, and see lots of my posts and pictures liked and retweeted. Typing it seems silly, but the truth of feelings in the moment remain the same. The desire grows from something deeper than social media interactions, and it’s a need to be encouraged, affirmed, loved, and a part of something bigger than ourselves. Carlos Whittaker, who was at the Lodge, had this to say after leaving.
I just spent 3 days with 140 successful people who I had no idea what they did.
Because nobody talked about work.
Nobody talked about what they did.
Nobody talked about followers.
Nobody talked about marketing plans.
Everybody talked about their heart.
Everybody talked about their families.
Everybody talked about their faith.
And we just did stuff together.
You see, sometimes the only thing keeping us from experiencing heaven on earth
Is us gazing at earth and only glancing at heaven
When heaven is right in front of us…
I want this (not necessarily at the Lodge), but I realize even for these remarkable people, a weekend at the Lodge is just a small piece of their own lives.
When I’m working a retail job and trying to crank out 500 words each day, life feels so ordinary. I understand it’s a part of the process, a challenge to overcome. This is the pivot point of our stories, where we can throw in towel or keep practicing, playing the long game and outlasting the competition. At the root of my emotions lies the frustrating little devil of unworthiness.
Until you get invited to the Lodge, you’re not smart enough, creative enough, a real writer or speaker.
We all have a lodge we’re waiting to gain entrance to. We want to join the club and be admired, to feel like we’ve made it. The mental thought process goes like this:
Now that I’m in the Lodge and on the right Twitter lists, life will be different. The heavens will open up, the angels will sing, and we’ll be able to get down to the real work of changing people’s lives.
But what if the heavens have already opened up?
Whenever I catch my mind wandering to silly places and unrealistic expectations, I like to play a little mind game. What is the difference between my unrealistic expectations and reality?
In the midst of the beautifully ordinary day I contemplated all of this, I deconstructed my unrealistic expectations. Here they are.
Upon arriving at the Lodge, everyone gives me a hug and says how much they enjoy my book (which of course has been written by now) and podcast. I’m handed a cup of strong coffee, and walk out on the deck, surveying the water, mountains, and beauty of creation. It’s at this moment the heavens open up and the angels celebrate, while God looks on and says “Way to go Matt, you did it!
Oh the foolish man I am. I sit bolt upright and smile, slightly ashamed, at my fully formed daydream. I can almost feel myself being physically shaken by my savior, urging me to snap out of it. Because here’s the wonderful truth for me, you, and all of us.
The Heavens have already opened for me.
In Mark 1:9-11, Jesus goes down to the river to be baptized. At this point, his ministry hasn’t begun. Jesus is a 30 year old carpenter, probably still living at home, who had one flash of youthful brilliance debating the priests and elders. John the Baptist was the rockstar, drawing the big crowds and headlines. Along with the rest of the people in Judea and Jerusalem, Jesus had trekked out to be transformed by the water. When he was raised out of the Jordan river, this happened;
Immediately Jesus saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Because of this, I am also chosen, a beloved son, delight of my Father, enough.
Remember, this happened before the miracles, healings, or a single teaching. God didn’t wait until the cross to love Jesus, and he’s not waiting to call me beloved until I publish a book, am invited to Bob Goff’s house, or hired by Donald Miller.
This simple, indisputable, easily forgotten fact is the basis of my entire book. Currently titled Enough, Already – I explore the ways we find and seek the definition, meaning and purpose for our lives. The ways we fill life with possessions, power, and people we think give us our definition and tell us we’re enough. But ultimately, all the things we seek have already been given to us by God. The heavens have already been torn open. You are loved, chosen, and enough, already, in God.
What will you do now?
A little more of the backstory of this post can be found on my daily practice blog, 500words.
Everything I Know
I write about developing your best self, regularly delivered on Friday
ps - there's no bonus for you to download and never look at again.