Pastor Nate Wagner brought a message this week that explored the idea of “waiting with correction.” He opened by sharing the image of an airplane flying from one coast to another: if that plane takes off and starts its course even one degree off, it will end up at a drastically different end point. He also informed us that planes are actually “on course” for only about 5% of their travels. Flying is an act of constant, consistent, ongoing, intentional recalibrating.
Maybe this is a good image for our spiritual journeys, as well. Maybe our journeys should be ones of “regular calibration that’s ongoing—that’s intentional; an ongoing, intentional, consistent, persistent series of adjustments made over a lifetime, where I am concerned about being even one degree off and where that could take me, but where I recognize that there is something that will always be in need of modification.”
Pastor Nate spent the remainder of his time talking about how we can become better at making these necessary recalibrations and adjustments and how we can fight against habituation (“the process by which one becomes oblivious to those things in our lives that are always present or lose awareness of something due to high familiarity”). From Colossians 3:1-4, he gave us three aspects to consider when making our constant recalibrations: our affections, our attention and our source of identity. Included below are the questions he gave to begin evaluating these aspects.
- Do I want to make my mark and a name for myself, or is it my greatest desire to simply impact His Kingdom in whatever arena He gives me?
- Do I want to become known as a great communicator and great preacher, or do I simply desire to consistently offer something helpful to a redemptive community?
- Do I desire to establish a loyal following and build a great church, or do I simply want to faithfully shepherd a body of people with the anticipation that one day I will die with them?
- What’s my response when I’m confronted by, or convicted by, my own sin: resistance or repentance?
- What is my response when I’m exposed to someone else’s sin, especially when it negatively impacts me: empathy and brokenheartedness or judgment and exploitation?
- What are my expectations in my relationships (with my spouse, my kids, my community, my peers), and what do I do when those expectations are not met: assume the worst or choose to believe the best?
- What’s my perspective on my circumstances: out of self-pity and frustration do I see myself stuck in a prison, unable to move forward, or do I see my circumstances as providential and therefore a passport to where God is leading me and how He’s preparing me?
- What’s my perspective on my story: do I see what has been happening to me or what God has been doing in me?
- Where is my security found?
- Who or what has the power to determine my worth, my value, my significance?
- Where will my security, resilience, safety net, my resolve come from?
- When I ride the roller coaster of success and failure, do I let success go to my head and failure go to my heart because my identity is not found in Him?