It has become my habit to pause and ask myself, what I am feeling at a given moment. I admire people who clearly know what they are feeling at all time, but I cannot count myself in that number.
The other day I was in conversation with myself, and God about this very question and I arrived at the conclusion I was feeling “unsettled”. This word conveys a lot of nuance. It is not that I am anxious or worried but rather that I feel I am journeying in novel and unfamiliar territory. I find myself pining, like so many of us, for a return to ‘normal’.
We are all journeying in strange and unfamiliar territory with the onslaught of a novel corona virus and so feeling unsettled is pretty normal (at least one thing is normal!).
But I began to think back. Was I settled before the pandemic? Is it a good thing to be settled?
I started to think about the ‘settlers’ those who homesteaded this land. They only became settlers as they stopped moving. Before that they were sojourners.
I admire those early settlers. When I lived through bitterly cold prairie winters I thought about those hardy folks, in their soddies weathering their first such winter season. They clung tenaciously to the land and built! What amazing settlers they were!
In the world of temporal things being a tenacious settler is most admirable, but in the Kingdom of God I feel more called to be a missionary, someone in motion sent by Jesus Great Commission to “Go!”. This means that being ‘unsettled’ is the natural state of one following Jesus.
He is constantly “making all things new”. His love is “new every morning”. Moses and his people were to pick new manna each day.
I feel that I ought not to settle, for settling may mean living off wormy manna. Like the early Israelites I find myself wanting to go back though God’s promises lay forward.
Now all this does not mean that I do not miss things like in person gatherings, handshakes, and perhaps even hugs, but I believe God has a better and brighter future for me. He calls me to be unsettled but assured. He calls me not to obsess about losses but rather trust in my Provider.
I think I have come to understand that there is a positive ‘unsettled’ and a negative one. The call of Christ means holding the present, with all its bane and blessing, lightly and be prepared for the next stage in the journey and what glories await.
Jesus invites me to abundant life. I do not want to settle for less. As Captain T. used to say, “It gets gooderer and gooderer!”