Journey On . . . By Joe Lehman

Many of us find it helpful to think of our lives as journeys.   Journeys have a goal and a direction.   “Road” signs mark and guide the way for us.   Sometimes it’s necessary to stop to get our bearings, directions and/ or encouragement.    Companions make the journey that much better.

All through our sacred texts, we find people making journeys.   God said to Abram and Sarai to “go forth to a land I will show you.”  Moses led God’s people through sea and desert to the Promised land.  Jonah fought going to Nineveh but when he began his journey there he was more than surprised by the response to the message he spoke.   The People of God, when freed from exiled in Babylon travelled home rejoicing. Jesus journeyed to the cross; even his last hours included a mile walk from the Mount of Olives to Golgatha.  And we can’t forget the missionary journeys of those sent to proclaim Christ to the ends of the earth.

As we know all too well, not all journeys are smooth ones.   The roads can be bumpy.   We can run out of gas.  We might come upon roadblocks that make the travelling difficult or stop us in our tracks.  In order to continue on, we have to “deal” with what is in our way.

Over the years, I have compiled my top ten list of what we could call the obstacles on the journey of faith and life.   Naming them helps me and others better take them out.

1. Forgetting we are a “pilgrim” people. We were not created to be squatters or to settle.

2. Believing God is at work everywhere else but at work in me or in our lives.

3. Taking ourselves too seriously – thinking everything depends on us.

4. Living life on the surface.  We need to go inward, and take time to pause, pray, think and   ponder the deeper questions of life: who, what for, why, and how.

5. Defining ourselves by what we do, not by who we are.  (Isn’t this why retirement and the empty nest phase of parenthood are so difficult for some of us?)

6. Holding on to the mistakes we’ve made and doubting forgiveness or freedom is God’s will.

7. Doubting the present or what is happening to us at a particular moment.

8. Thinking obstacles need to be faced and tackled by me/us alone.

9. Refusing to take responsibility for what we have done or left undone.

10.  Fear:  the great crippler. It can paralyze us or send us running in directions other than   toward the goal.

Dealing with these obstacles in prayer or with a trusted confidant will help make our lives- our faith life –  so much easier.   May God bless all our goings and comings.

Joe Lehman is the Pastor at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church located at 2505 Electric Rd. (Rte 419. Visit them on the web at: www.oln-parish.org

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