When ugliness bubbles out

When it comes right down to it, there are really two types of people.  Process people and product people.

Process people relish in the journey, loving all the detours, on-ramps, rest stops, and scenery along the way.  They tend to be all about the how of getting somewhere or doing something.  The bigger the adventure, the better.

And then there’s product people.  They are all about the what – what is being accomplished, what is being achieved, what has been completed.  They prefer the shortest-possible route with the least amount of delays, because the journey is just a means to an end.  It’s the destination that matters.

I’m a product person.  I like to achieve something.  I get great satisfaction in finishing tasks.  Crossing three items off my to-to list is fabulous, and it’s even more fabulous if I still have time to complete three more.  And while my orientation might be great for some things, it is hardly conducive to living the life of a Christ-follower.

Becoming like Jesus is all about a process.  It’s the journey that really matters.  It’s the little decisions made daily, the new holy habits that are formed, and the ugly ones that are changed.  It’s the daily prayer of abandonment during which we say, “God, I’m yours.  Whatever you do today, I accept it.  Not my will, but yours.”  And it’s the realization that, thankfully, His mercies are new every morning, and tomorrow is another day to try again.

There are days when we feel like we’re finally making progress, and those of us who are product people, gaze excitedly at the horizon looking for the finish line.  But then there are days when ugliness bubbles out, at times we least expect or want it.  Take today, for example.  In amongst making time for what was important, the ugliness of distrust showed its face.  Without just cause or justification, I struggle to trust those closest to me.  But that wasn’t the only ugliness.  There was also jealousy – jealousy over a friend’s exciting opportunities.  Although my heart soared for her, the ugliness bubbled out, whispering, “But what about me?”

And as much as this product person wants to have “arrived” and be fully conformed to the image of Christ, I’m also thankful that I get another chance to try again, and to make it right tomorrow.  So maybe there is something to the journey after all.  Maybe as the ugliness bubbles out, I can offer even that very thing I most dislike to Him.  I can abandon not just my will, but my ugliness.  And He’ll take it, transform it, use it, and make it beautiful again.  But that takes time – it doesn’t happen overnight.  It might require a few detours, a couple rest stops and several on-ramps.  And along the way, it might even mean enjoying the scenery.

  • A.

    I didn’t have any concept of age or authority. I remember realising, Oh, the world has rules and we don’t.