Flourishing or Languishing?

When I got my first job out of college, it certainly didn’t feel like I was flourishing. I lived in New Jersey and worked in New York. I woke up every day at 5:30 AM to catch the train, and if there was a seat, I could spend a little time reading the Bible. The train almost always filled up, though, so every day I was torn: do I give my seat to someone (and lose the opportunity to read?) or do I continue sitting and reading? Either way, I felt guilty, and since I wasn’t sleeping much any way, waking up even earlier didn’t seem right. Then one morning, standing on the train and reading, I came to Psalm 139:1-3 (emphasis added):

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up… You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.”

Down to the detail of when I was standing and when I was sitting, God was telling me He knew about my struggles and the deep guilt I was feeling. In fact, He even knew the name of the train I was on: the Port Authority Trans-Hudson, i.e., the Path Train. What I learned that day is this: God knows that life after college is different than life in college. He knows we need to make adjustments to fit into the new place where He has called us. “Flourishing” is not simply a reflection of the activities we are involved in. It is also a matter of the heart. During times of transition, sometimes our hearts are fine (though frustrated) as we seek to settle into new patterns.

Resources

  • 2 question quiz: If you are feeling stuck/languishing/frustrated about your intimacy with God,
    • Is the problem your activities? (Have you stopped doing what you know works, or is the problem you just haven’t found a pattern that does work in your present circumstances?)
    • Do you have somebody you can talk to about how you are doing?
  • A book Dean recommends for dealing with busyness is Practicing the Presence of God. A modern translation of this 300-year- old collection of letters can be read online here.
  • You can read more about The Navigators Mission, Values and Vison here. (Or watch the vision statement being illustrated here.)