Not Arriving, Justin Davis

Today’s “Pruning” post is from Justin Davis. Justin, his wife Trisha, and their three boys are such a blessing to me. They are a living testament to how God restores and redeems our brokenness. Through their ministry at Cross Point Bellevue and Refine Us, they teach others (like me) the power of authenticity, truth, and grace.

Find their blog here.

And Justin’s twitter here.

I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that you never arrive. I’ve also been a Christian long enough to know how easy it is to have a sense of arriving. There is a tendency in all of us to think that our relationship with God has arrived. It’s not that we think we are done growing, it is a sense that we don’t think we need to grow anymore.

This isn’t something we would articulate to anyone, it is this feeling we have inside as we go to church; compare ourselves to others; evaluate where we are now compared to where we were 3 years ago. It is easy to have a sense of “I’m good. I’ve arrived.”

I guess to some extent, that is the season I’ve been in. My marriage is better than it ever has been. My relationship with God has a nice rhythm. I’m being intentional about developing my relationship with my boys. I have good friends that I enjoy spending time with. God has blessed me richly to give me a second chance in ministry.  I didn’t even realize how much I was struggling until about a month ago. Our family was on vacation in Florida, and Trisha and I just started to read together The Me I Want to Be, by John Ortberg. I had heard so many good things about it, that I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the hype for me. Be careful what you wish for.

After reading the first chapter, Trisha and I were sitting at the table talking and she said to me, “The first chapter is you, right now. You know that right?” Tears started streaming down my face. I knew that the life I was living wasn’t the life that God had in mind for me. I had a diminished sense of joy and peace in my life, and I didn’t know why. I said, “I’m not the me I want to be.”

We continued reading and at one point, I said, “I just feel like crying. I feel like mourning the life I pretended to have.” She said she wouldn’t think I was crazy if I just cried. So I did…for a while.

Through some very grace-filled, heart-felt conversations that week, I realized that I had not dealt fully with my parents divorce last year. I had not processed and mourned the news I was given last year that the man I thought was my dad, wasn’t and I was adopted. I wasn’t pursuing deep, meaningful friendships in a way that brought life to my heart.

God is not done with me. I have not arrived. I am in a season of pruning. I am in a season of refining. I am in a season of preparation. I’ve come to understand that God uses pruning and refining in our lives to prepare our hearts, our faith, our minds for a renewed call and responsibility. It is our choice to engage it or not.

In the past, I had been more than willing to embrace the expanded call and responsibility, without embracing the pruning and refining. What happened as a result was I had more responsibility than my character could withstand. I pretended for a while, but eventually imploded.

In this season, I am giving God full reign. Peel back every layer. Uncover every hurt. Walk me through every flaw. I surrender to the pruning. I want to become the me HE wants me to be. Not arriving has never felt so good.

Are you content in not arriving?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • "n the past, I had been more than willing to embrace the expanded call and responsibility, without embracing the pruning and refining. What happened as a result was I had more responsibility than my character could withstand. I pretended for a while, but eventually imploded."

    Oh boy, that hit home. Hard.

    Perfectly describes me for the last year or so. Thankful for a precious Father who starts stripping the very things away that I tend to start thinking are so "right" and so "good". The very second those things start displacing God, any rightness and goodness in them disappears.

    I've definitely learned to embrace and even look forward to the pruning these last few months. Can't say it is always fun, but in the end I am always drawn closer to God in one way or the other. That's something to be joyful about all the time.

    Thank you for your words here~
    My recent post A Heart of Flesh

  • Joseph

    I have never felt that I have arrived. In fact, I feel it so much so I sometimes fall into the background as I feel that others have arrived and I am the outcast in the group.
    It has stalled me on volunteering in certain areas, joining certain bible studies etc because I feel that I will totally be the stupid one in the group.
    Crazy is that I am not usually self conscious at all….not even close. But when it comes to my faith, which I am proud of, I feel like the dumb kid sitting in the back of the class.

  • good words justin.
    just another reason why i need to get that book.
    and just another reason why i am glad to call you a friend.

    a couple of months ago, i would say no. i am not content at all and could not wait to arrive. but i am learning we will never arrive. i am learning to live with that.

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  • Powerful word, Justin. I needed to hear that this morning.

  • Amen Justin! I continually need to remind myself that I have not arrived. It is frustrating at times but I know that I am on a journey.
    My recent post 3 attitudes that steal away our gratitude

  • Makeda

    Justin thank you for this perspective. I hadn't really thought about it but I guess I was thinking I had arrived but God is instead beginning a season of pruning in my own life. He is just beginning to peel back some layers that I have kept under lock and key for a very long time. It hasn't felt so good yet and I'm not sure that it will while I'm going through but I trust that on the other side of this process I will know a life of true joy and contentment where I am pursuing deep, meaningful relationships that bring life to my heart. Thank you for these words today. They were indeed honey for a heart in transition.

  • Wow, Justin. Thank you for sharing this! Much to ponder…
    My recent post Where Rubber Meets the Road

  • Joe Slaughter

    Thanks for putting this guest post out Lindsey. My "personal quest for perfection" (I guess it comes from my years & training in music) makes it hard for me to ever think I've arrived. I really enjoyed Justin's writing & am now following him on Twitter.