Enjoy the Journey

Enjoying The Journey

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Phil Blair.

Phil BlairPhil Blair attended SUNY Cortland with the intent of studying and pursuing a career in Adolescent Education of Chemistry. It was there that he felt God’s gentle, yet persistent call into ministry. In the exciting journey God invited him on, he found himself as a student leader in his BASIC chapter for the following semesters filling multiple roles throughout. Today Phil finds himself on leave from classes while actively serving in Jesus’ local church. It is there where he finds the outlet to reach the Cortland community, the place that he now calls home. Meanwhile he still advises the new leaders on campus and lives each day falling more and more in love with God and His beautiful design. 

Have you ever been set out on a task and asked yourself, “Ok, so I know the desired outcome, but how in the world do I get there?” If you’re anything like me, you have likely spent countless hours agonizing over the best route or the best plan of action. You may have even been wise enough to call out to God and beg for instructions. But again, if you’re anything like me, verse 105 from Psalms 119, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” rings frustratingly true.

God simply calls us to be faithful and trust as He provides a lamp and not a giant flashing spotlight. Often God will only offer us a small snippet of a grander design. The good news is that we are certainly not alone in our frustrations. The better news is that I think I have personally found a means of coping with this struggle and wanted to share it with you.

God’s word makes it clear that He’s called us to a life of faith and trust, which requires us to keep our eyes constantly fixed on Him. We might find ourselves wanting to get our BASIC group to a new level of maturity or striving for a personal breakthrough of some sort.

We spend a ton of energy drawing the most logical and “straightest” line from point A to B. We make strategies and plans hoping that we will get where we want to be with as little challenge as possible. But I dare you to be bold and challenge the “logical.” Sometimes God calls us to do things differently.

Take Tarzan for example. When he finds himself wanting to get from one side of the jungle to the other he doesn’t spend his time and energy planning out a straight route, building bridges, or cutting down trees to make his logical path possible. He instead simply reaches out and grabs a vine and swings! He takes the next available option and trusts in his internal compass to make the best decisions to take him to his intended destination.

Now I know, the planner inside of all of us is freaking out! If you were to look at Tarzan’s path, it would most likely zig zag, loop around, and maybe even backtrack. In the end, there might have been a much simpler and easier way for him to arrive.

I have struggled with this and maybe you have too. The desire to know exactly what to do next sometimes cripples us from moving at all. In God’s beautiful sovereignty, He gave me an opportunity to take a step back and witness firsthand how much slowing down and enjoying the journey teaches you character.

In this season of my life, I have simply been obedient to follow where God is leading, no matter how illogical it seemed. Honestly, at the start, it was more out of exhaustion and confusion than any gallantry or wisdom. That is the beauty of it all, that is exactly the place where God becomes so very real to each one of us.

I felt like Tarzan, just reaching out for the next branch, not really sure what would come next. In this season of complete submission, I was given an opportunity to be part of a teeny tiny men’s morning Bible study at a local assisted living home. That’s where I met Fred and Harry. They taught me something important about life and journeys and Tarzan.

Fred can be best described as a silent man, somewhat somber, and all in all very dignified. Harry, his best pal is just the opposite. Harry is the ruffian, the class clown, the life of the party, and one of the best story tellers. Often, I would find myself sitting in wonderment listening to the two navy men swapping stories and reminiscing about everything from deployment shenanigans to heart wrenching stories of their last moments with their wives.

One sunny morning in mid March, I had the pleasure of hearing a particular story of a cross country trip Harry found himself on and a hitchhiker he met along the way. The story itself, although funny, was nothing groundbreaking. I don’t know what it was about that day or that story, but later I was impressed with the importance of the journey and the adventure. The importance of taking in experiences everywhere you go and learning as much as you can along the way. The importance of just living and not planning all the time. The importance of just going.

Hey, that sounds familiar doesn’t it? Kind of reminds me of God’s design for our lives and God’s call to Abraham in Chapter 12 of Genesis. He presents Abraham with the simple, yet terrifying, task to just go. Just go and don’t worry about what lies ahead, don’t worry about whether you feel this next step lines up with where you think you’re headed, just go and keep your eyes fixed on him for the next step. Just reach out and grab the next vine.

The reason I chose this topic to share isn’t because it’s the newest trend or the easiest thing to grasp. This was (and continues to be) one of the hardest leadership characteristics I strive to learn. I assure you it has also been the most fulfilling. So, I want to encourage you to join me. When you let go and let God, the most extraordinary things always tend to happen.

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About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.