Guest Post: Living Beyond Limbo
In less than two weeks I will be a seminary graduate. After five long and exhausting years, I will have a Masters of Divinity degree. It was a great experience, but now what? That might be the most significant question of all.
My wife and I are planning to lead a team into the Northwest for a church-planting project. But this will not happen until late summer of 2013. And, well, it’s not even the beginning of summer for 2012. For the next school year I have this large gap in front of me.
My plan is to hopefully finish writing my book proposal (and then some) and also to get a job to start paying back my student loans. And yes, the book thing will be fun, but I honestly feel like the rest of my life is a year away. I feel like my life is in limbo.
I know what direction my life is going but I also know that I’m not going to start that journey right away. I find myself in this weird in-between place.
Do you ever feel like your life is in limbo?
The more I reflect on my life the more I feel as though “limbo” is a normative reality. I regularly feel like I’ve not quite arrived yet. It’s as though the future is always ahead of me but I never catch up to it.
This is often true in my own spiritual journey. There are a lot of things that I want to accomplish for the purposes of Jesus and his kingdom. Most of those things, I think about as “future” ideals.
- Eventually I’ll stand up for nonviolence.
- Eventually I’ll ride my bike as a primary means of transportation.
- Eventually I’ll start living in authentic intentional community.
- Eventually I’ll read all the books that I’ve purchased.
- Eventually I’ll join a movement involving civil disobedience to stand with those abused by Empire.
- Eventually I’ll stick with a work out plan.
- Eventually I’ll engage in spiritual practices in a more holistic way.
- Eventually I’ll start living a self-sacrificial life for the poor.
- Eventually I’ll consistently experience the power of the Holy Spirit like I read about in the book of Acts.
- Eventually I’ll put what I write into practice.
- Eventually I’ll…
It’s interesting that “Eventually” starts with a smaller word “Event.”
An Event is something that is happening in the present or has already happened in the past. An Event is an actualized moment in history.
Why is it that I like to turn potential “Events” into “Eventuallys” by delegating what could be a reality today, to some distant future?
At the same time there is something amazing about dreaming about Eventuallys. Without an imagination for Eventuallys we might never actualize Kingdom-of-God-sized Events.
Both matter. Eventuallys and Events. I will never arrive at an Eventually if I don’t engage in an Event. I also will only engage in meaningful Events if I have a vision for Eventuallys. How I see the future determines my potential present. How I live right now determines if my dreams might come to fruition.
So, what would it look like for you to step toward your Eventuallys through concrete Events? Perhaps the time to start living beyond limbo starts today.
Kurt Willems is an Anabaptist writer and pastor who is preparing for church planting by finishing work towards a Master of Divinity degree at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. You can catch up with Kurt at the Pangea Blog, Twitter, and Facebook. He’s a contributing writer for Red Letter Christians, and has also written for Relevant Magazine, The Ooze, Emergent Village, Mennonite Weekly Review and Sojourners.