Living Beyond Limbo – Turning “Eventuallys” into “Events”

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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.

  • http://masonslater.com/ Mason

    Congrats on your upcoming graduation, friend! 

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

       Thanks @214ac6f82498c44351de51563a0e656b:disqus ! I suspect your studies are going well GRTS…

  • Wes

    Kurt…here is the beginning of “events” that have eventually led me to the current moment.  Though we don’t know each other…keep going!!!…this olde man here in Colorado will be praying you forward into “your one wild and precious life” (borrowed from Mary Oliver).  I will be reading, with interest, your journey.  And…if ever through Denver, there is a long meal waiting from me.  :-)

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

       @683e5111123421eaa7deba9fe0faadc0:disqus … thanks for your gracious comment. Very encouraging!

  • http://lifebeforethebucket.blogspot.com/ Adrian Waller

    Many of my own goals mirror the examples you gave. I say that these Eventuallys will become Events when we move, and I hope that really is the case, because I don’t want to keep putting them off. They’re much too important for that.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

       @awaller1990:disqus  Amen. If we keep pushing them back into tomorrow… they will become “those good ideas we used to have.”

  • http://www.ehendrick.org/pastoralcare/index.htm Kevin W. Bridges

    Great post! There are individuals who spend inordinate amounts of time looking at the future. The Ecclesiastes writer described them in 11:4 when he said, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” In other words, quit trying to predict whether it’s going to rain in the future and start planting.
     
    If you are always looking forward (or backward) you are not really very conscious (or mindful) to the present.
     
    And I think “Living Beyond Limbo” begins with living more consciously. Living consciously, to me, means seeking to be aware of everything that bears on our actions, purposes, values, and goals — and behaving in accordance with that which we see and know.
     
    Practiced consistently, mindfulness is an orientation, a discipline, a spiritual commitment.
     
    I think it is important that we realize we are responsible for our choices, decisions, and actions. I am the cause of my choices, decisions, and actions. It is I who chooses, decides, and acts. If I do so knowing my responsibility, I am more likely to proceed wisely and appropriately than if I make myself oblivious of my role as “source.”
     
    Nothing is more common in moments of acting irrationally than to blank out the awareness that WE choose to do what we are doing, as if the action were somehow happening of its own accord.
     
    Living consciously entails a mind that is active rather than passive.
     
    Being “in the moment,” without losing the wider context.
     
    Living consciously means noticing and confronting my impulses to avoid or deny painful or threatening realities.
     
    Living consciously means being concerned to know “where I am” relative to my various (personal and professional) goals and projects, and whether I am succeeding or failing.
     
    Living consciously means being concerned to know if my actions are in alignment with my purposes.

  • BruceSeaman

    Now middle aged and marching through the last half, I heard many of the same urgencies rattling my soul 25 years ago. While they’re all wonderful and worthy, many remain unfulfilled. In all, they may simply be reflecting the broader, basic desire of our God for us, that we should ultimately declare our goal: Eventually I’ll be faithful in whatever God sticks me next. Then we find that God forms the events that we need to experience … and frankly, I haven’t liked or appreciated all of God’s choices in that regard. You’ll be a blessing. Congratulations and peace!

  • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

    Worthwhile thoughts, Kurt. It’s amazing how eventuallys can be overtaken by the everyday. Without intentionality they just become “woulda, shoulda, coulda.”


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