Second Journey: Destination

Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash

Something is happening.

I feel that I’m falling deeper, yet I’m not afraid.

I feel that it’s so much bigger than I can handle, yet I’m not overwhelmed.

I feel that I’m experiencing some sort of…rebirth. An awakening…of my soul, of my true self.

God, could it be, that you are closing the chapters of my smaller stories? Are you closing my morning program, as You transition me into a life that accomplishes more of my true purpose?

Brennan Manning calls this the second journey.

For the Christian, the second journey is often accompanied by a second call from the Lord Jesus. The second call invites us to serious reflection on the nature and quality of our faith in the gospel of grace, our hope in the new and not yet, and our love for God and people. The second call is a summons to a deeper, more mature commitment of faith where the naiveté, first fervor, and untested idealism of the morning and the first commitment have been seasoned with pain, rejection, failure, loneliness, and self-knowledge.

–Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

I should give a little bit of a background story. I’ve been in a season of “desert experience” for a few years now, and my soul has been in some dark places (see post God Showed Up Bigger). I think it’s similar to the season in the wilderness that the Israelites experienced after they left Egypt, before they reached the Promise Land. I have become very acquainted with the words described above: pain, rejection, failure, loneliness, and realization that I have been relying on self-knowledge and my own abilities. This humbling experience has caused me to cling to God tighter. The waves of the storm have been high, and I needed the security of my Anchor more than ever before. As always, when I seek God more, He takes me deeper. Deeper experience of His love. Greater awareness of His presence. Clearer understanding of His perspective. I’ve had similar experiences like this before, but not to this magnitude. Because this current storm has been the toughest (not to mention the longest) I’d ever faced, the awakening experience has been more real, more revealing, and more powerful than ever before.

I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life.

–John 14:6, The Passion Translation

Recently I heard this profound truth regarding the above statement made by Jesus during a retreat I attended. “Heaven is the reward. Destination is the Love of the Father.” Heaven is not the destination; it’s just the cherry on top that happens to last for eternity. The prodigal son thought the destination was his father’s house. His plan was to beg to return there as a servant. He didn’t know that his true destination was the love of his Daddy. “I am the Way….” To where? To the love of the Father. That’s my destination. Jesus will take me there, always.

Brennan Manning confirms that this is precisely what the second call (mentioned earlier) asks: Do you really accept the message that God is head over heels in love with you?

Jesus also says, “I am the Life.” This part…I’m finally starting to understand and experience it. He is the Life. I have no life apart from Him. The life I had built for myself – the sandcastles I had built – had to be torn down. God needed to take away all the pseudo stories I wrote for myself and turn them all upside down, so that I can finally live the real story God has in store for me. My pseudo stories had the wrong theme…trying to make my life look good on my own. The true theme of my story is, and will always be, discovering deeper the love of my Father and living my life out of that love. The second journey calls me to truly live, in freedom.

A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I came to give you everything in abundance, more than you expected—life in its fullness until you overflow!

–John 10:10, The Passion Translation

Back to this retreat I went on. I had a taste of this “fullness.” I tangibly experienced the deep, intimate affection of God in my body, soul, and spirit. I experienced the gentle presence of Jesus. I was overwhelmed by it all, but He gently whispered to me, “There’s so much more I want to show you. So much more of My love to be lived out, even (especially) back in your everyday life.” I am meant to fully live a life of discovering beauty, intimacy (deep affection), and adventure (sacred romance)…not just for a few days in the most ideal retreat setting but in my everyday life.

I don’t want to live in my pseudo-stories anymore. I am the prodigal daughter, and I am my Father’s delight. That alone causes me to dance…to burst in joy. My heart can’t contain it all…and I don’t want to contain it.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it
Still You give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
No lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

–Bethel Music, “Reckless Love”

His love chases me. I have finally moved beyond head knowledge to heart knowledge of this truth: I am the lost sheep, I am the prodigal daughter. His love chased me until I was found and brought me home. He left the ninety-nine…for me.

Oh, this reckless love…I can’t contain it. It won’t allow me to remain the same. It leads me to greater beauty He has for me, to deeper intimacy, to a wilder adventure…and He wants me to experience all of it, now, everyday. I hope to share some of this “second journey” with you in the coming posts.

I have no idea what the second journey holds…but I do know the destination.

Beloved, you are Home, in My arms.

Papa, I come running to You. I throw myself in Your arms. I am HOME. There is nowhere else I want to be, ever. Stay with me, always.

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