I am currently in Starbucks, literally rubbing my eyes because I’m really really tired this afternoon. Thank goodness for caffeine amiright? Actually, it’s not even afternoon yet so seems like it’s gonna be a long day. But! We’re going home! To one of our homes. Whenever this time comes around we have an intense few days of packing (read: I fold stuff and tidy; Joe re-folds and packs. It’s our system and it works). But my goodness this last week is always so exhausting that I don’t really get to the point of actually realizing we’re going, it seems like I’ll be in a world of open suitcases forever.
For those of you that travel, you know that glorious moment in the airport when you check your bags in, you have your boarding pass, you’re through security and you breeeeeeathe. For what seems like the first time in a while you breathe deeply. Because other than finding a coffee and your gate, then sitting down to watch 600 movies there is nothing left to do, it’s all done. And if not there’s nothing to be done about it now. Bags are packed and weighed. Out of your hands. During this packing/last minute stress week I live for that exact moment. The moment I am in the free and clear and I can feel the excitement for the journey rather than the stress of getting to the airport on time.
I wonder how often this is how we come to God.
Before we come to Him, ready to be home, we do whatever we can to make sure our life is in order. We pack up whatever we have accumulated, making sure we weed through it carefully so it’s under our acceptable weight limit. “Look God, I can bring this because it’s not too heavy. I’ll check it here, but ima need to pick that up again mmmkay” “My carry on is acceptable. See look; I can lift it up myself. I’ll bring this with me”. I imagine us walking through our own version of a security check point. “Yup, I’ve checked my pockets, shoes, (heart). There’s nothing I shouldn’t have. Nothing that can hurt others (or myself) . I’ll do a final check, just incase something got past me. Nope, ready.”
I can see Him sat, smiling slightly to Himself. Waiting for us to go through each performance. Holding tight to our boarding pass and checking our passport over and over again. “still me? Yup, that’s still my picture. That’s my identity. I’m allowed here. I’m allowed to pass.” I imagine Him getting slightly bored looking at us in line. Waiting for us to go through the motions that we know well, orderly and tidy. Ready to breathe and walk into His presence.
Here I imagine something different. I picture how ridiculous it would be if this is how I entered my parents house. If I called ahead and told them “I’m outside, but I’m just going to deal with these bags that I have. I just have to lay down some stuff out here.” I see myself stepping through their front door and removing my shoes. Not because I’m getting comfortable but because I need to prove that I’m not carrying anything I shouldn’t be. I open up my purse for them to see. And finally I imagine their reactions if I held up my ID to show them. “Hi Mum, yes this is Lilly. See my face matches that photo. Yep, thats who I am, that’s my assigned seat. There should be a space for me here.”
Obviously not every season of my life looks like packing for days and days, or airports and flights. Some moments I’m settled at one of my homes and sometimes I have no idea what each day will look like. What I do know is that in every season I can so easily default to this performance before I really get real with God. I act as if I’m anxiously going through an airport, proving myself worthy each step of the way before I actually make it in front of God.
I forget that He’s actually sat at home, in my favorite squashy armchair, with a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit. He’s waiting for me to burst in with muddy footprints, bags hanging off each arm, disheveled hair and absolutely no idea what’s in my pockets.
Whatever moment you’re in today, I hope that you find Him in the place that He’s waiting for you. The place that’s home to you. And I hope that you remember that there are no check-in desks, there are no security gates. Home is where you get to enter without any fuss or fanfare. It’s the place you’re welcomed and loved just as you are. Flustered and carrying more than you should be.