Take The Long View
So, I’m heading into my final year of studying which I’m excited about! However, being faithful and committed to the calling on my life hasn’t always been easy as I have watched others land their dream jobs and get promoted. Nevertheless, if there is one thing I’ve learned over the past five years of being a college student it’s that all those hidden years (and endless cups of coffee) behind what felt like never-ending essays, assignments, and late nights have helped me to take the long view on life.
Looking at my life from a long view perspective has taught me to listen, to rely and to depend on God completely each and every day as I head into the future He has planned for me. Taking the long view instead of allowing the now moments to distract us from our purpose helps with our focus and in the process halts the enemy’s plans that have the potential to derail our calling.
As believers, if we’re to live a life of high purpose we need to take the long view. However, taking the long view requires courage and bravery if we’re to stick to the standards our higher calling demands even when it feels uncomfortable, out of vogue or unpopular. But this is where the enemy gets into our heads if we’re not careful because he’s happy to use our discouragement, disappointments, and frustrations against us, keeping us focused on the temporary discomforts of the now instead of seeing the bigger picture.
All those moments along our journey lead us to where we need to be. Moments where we’ve felt forgotten, alone and left out means that we just need to keep faithfully putting one foot slowly in front of the other and take the long view. Those not-so-great now moments keep us asking the same question to our inner compass, ‘Will this decision point me to my calling or away from it?’
I have always admired the late Queen Elizabeth II. Reigning as long as she did for over 70 years required Her Majesty to simply keep listening to her values, her truths of who she was at her core. Her vocation caused her to take the long view and look toward the future with hope. It caused her to do what she felt was right for her calling rather than do things that felt easier and more comfortable in the difficult now moments.
She once said, “I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.” This is a timely reminder for all of us who feel the tension of taking a stand for our values and truths because we’ve learnt to take the long view on our calling, helping us to make decisions that will reflect where we need to be as we work toward that future goal because to live any other way would be a disservice to ourselves.
But how do we take the long view when there are so many roadblocks, distractions, and disappointments when we decide we’re going to live a life of high purpose? How do we keep our eyes focused on the long view when we sometimes feel lost, alone, or forgotten in the now moments along the way?
There are many Bible stories we read to encourage us on how people lived out their calling because they decided early on in their journey to take the long view. Each Bible hero was equipped, highly favoured, and anointed by God so they were able to live out their vocation. But a vocation isn’t what we focus on and as Parker J. Palmer points out “Vocation does not mean a goal I pursue; it means a calling that I hear” this thought possibly became a truth to the Bible heroes we read about because they lived a life focused on the long view so they could hear their calling. They learned to listen to their lives so they could hear their destiny loud and clear even when their circumstances were bleak and their now moments felt highly uncomfortable.
If we look at the life of Moses, he learned to hear the sound of his calling all the way through the desert as he kept reminding the Israelites to take the long view and see the abundance of the Promised Land rather than focus on their lack and needs in the wilderness. Or what about David? Even after the prophet Samuel had anointed him as the next king of Israel he spent a lot of time tending to his father’s sheep. And even in his adult years, we find David hiding in dark, damp caves for years because king Saul wanted to kill him. Moses and David knew they had been called by God for a special purpose and they learned to stay focused on God and listen to Him rather than let their temporary discomforts derail their calling.
Taking the long view meant that Moses dreamed of the Promised Land and all its abundance even in the discomfort and lack of the wilderness. Taking the long view showed that David envisioned a light, airy palace even though he was living in the darkness of the damp caves. Wisdom comes when we keep choosing the long view because that’s how God works.
Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to ‘place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.’ Taking the long view means that you’ve learned to trust God and understand that He has gone before you. He’s made your path smooth and straightened out the curves even when the path feels dark and lonely.
Why don’t you do yourself a favour and stop allowing the enemy to keep you so short-sighted in your faith that you get bogged down and stuck in the difficult now moments?
Decide to take the long view on life and you’ll be able to push past your circumstances and listen out for your vocation calling your name!
Do you feel that your vocation isn’t a goal to pursue but a calling that you hear even when difficult circumstances and now moments arise?
I pray today that you will take the long view and see the bright future God has for you. I pray you will listen to your heart and allow God to take the lead to help you discover your destiny and calling. Amen.