Are we there yet?
Such a classic question from children.
But is it just for the kids?
When we had little kids, most of our vacations involved several hours of travel to reach our destination. Dave and I did intentional things to help our three kids pass the time without driving us nuts. Since our children loved listening to books on tape and radio adventures like Adventures in Odyssey, we invested in these recordings and benefitted from a half-hour of quiet per episode. ?
I’d scour the dollar shelves and sales bins several months ahead of time to find small items that would keep the kids occupied throughout our trip. Our rule was you couldn’t open your new surprise bag until we were an hour away from our home. Each child anticipated opening their own colored bag. Sometimes we’d play car games as a family. Classics such as I Spy, The License Plate Game, 20 Questions, and others. Anything to keep the kids distracted and entertained with no electronics.
And still, we regularly heard, “Are we there yet?” ?♀️
How often do you ask that same question? Quietly in your heart? Or through your impatient actions?
Let’s be honest, As adults, we ask this question just as often as kids. And maybe even with some whining thrown in.
Look over the last year. The global pandemic changed our lives drastically. As we waited for rigid restrictions to lift, I found myself thinking, “Are we there yet? Will life get back to normal, please?”
And even heard myself whining.
The pandemic wait reminded me of the “wait” of recovery.
When Dave confessed his pornography addiction, I felt time stop. Then, when he pledged his desire to rid his life of it forever, time slowed down. I wanted that part to go fast! To get here! But it wasn’t instantaneous. We had made choices for years that brought us to this point. Now how were we going to choose to change and “get there” differently?
I wanted the pain to go away as quickly as possible. However, weeks and then months into our recovery, I wondered, “Are we there yet?”
When was the last time you knew you needed to make a change in your life?
Once you made the decision, there were more steps involved than you originally thought. “Are we there yet?” may have popped into your mind, or some variation of it.
Is your husband addicted to pornography? Is he using that digital filth to escape or numb out or feel something? I know. I’ve been there. You may feel like you will never arrive at your destination. Like change will never come.
Waiting for the change to come tests our resolve.
As Jill Briscoe says, “Waiting does not mean passivity. Waiting works us over, making us pliable in the Potter’s hand. He molds the wet clay and forms a real grownup out of the child in us.”
Scripture tells us to “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
Is waiting a passive, do-nothing thing? What does waiting for the LORD look like?
In Ephesians 6, we read that we are to put on the armor of God daily. In the Bible, God outlines six aspects of the Christian life, plus prayer, to protect and help us fight our spiritual battles. Each piece is critical. You don’t want to remember your sword but forget your helmet. Read about them here.
How do you armor up each day? You spend time studying the Bible every day. Journal about what you’re learning. Ask God questions and then listen for His response. I have a series of questions I used early on in my recovery from depression that helps me process my emotional state each day. Download a free copy of those questions here.
A soldier prepares for the battle through training, practice, and caring for his body. Those recovering from betrayal, depression, or discord use the same tactics. Training involves reading the Bible and processing what you’re learning. Practice means taking what you learn each day and applying it to your life. Caring for your body involves paying attention to the amount of rest you get, watching your mental inputs, and consuming food that energizes you. It’s a constant choice you and I make daily. The goal isn’t 100% perfection, but consistency.
Where are you today? Where do you want to be, a week, a month, or a year from now?
God tells us to armor up and then stand. Say what? Stand? I’m ready to go to battle, and God tells me to stand? What’s up with that?
Throughout the Old Testament, we read about many battles where prophets told the Israelites to watch what the LORD would do. The outnumbered Israeli army, ready for battle, watched God fight on their behalf. One of the most familiar passages where we see God fighting on Israel’s behalf is in Exodus. Moses tells the people to watch the Lord rescue them. Pharoah’s army was roaring toward them, and the Red Sea blocked their passage.
God opened the Red Sea, blocked Pharoah’s army from catching up to Israel while the nation crossed to the other side on dry ground. Once Israel was across, then God allowed Pharoah and his army to race after Israel. Once the army entered the passage, the waters rushed over them, drowning the entire army. Can you imagine standing on the other side watching this happen?
Where do you need to stand and watch God work?
Galatians 6 tells us to help our fellow believers when they struggle. But what does that look like for the person experiencing the struggle? When Dave and I were in the initial throes of discovering his pornography addiction, we had no idea how to get to where we wanted to be—a healthy porn-free marriage. We couldn’t ask “are we there yet?” because we didn’t know where “there” We needed help. Thankfully, through listening to the Holy Spirit’s direction, we reached out for help. God directed each step along the way.
We soon discovered, though, that the destination required us to break our isolation. Therefore, we needed to establish and develop new, healthy relationships with other God-fearing believers who would coach us, ask tough questions, encourage us, and pray for us. They needed to love us enough to work through the change with us. When God chooses to mold us into His image, it takes arduous work and the shedding of negative, destructive thoughts, behaviors, words, and actions.
If you don’t know where to begin, help from someone who has been there is huge! A neutral party who can listen and offer practical next steps can be invaluable.
Recovery from depression and addiction means change. Big time change. However, it also meant dealing with the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical false expectations we both clung to. These expectations or habits felt comfortable even though they threatened to drive our car off the nearest cliff.
“Are we there yet?” infers a destination. It’s forward-looking and thinking.
God graciously provides what we need as we wait to reach our final destination. Tools, tips, tricks, laughter, authentic conversations, and discipline all play a part in our daily recovery. When I ask God if I’m there yet, He reminds me that His work and provision in my life are sufficient for today. I look back and see all the mileage we’ve covered in this recovery life, but the destination remains before me. Someday I’ll experience eternal life with my Father. Until then, every day involves choosing to walk with Him along this journey, too often asking if we are there yet. I picture God smiling at me and telling me, “Soon.”
Do you know what action steps to take? Have you asked God? Reached out to someone to help?
As you wait for the Lord and for whatever it is that you long for, remember that God loves you more than you can ever understand. You swim in oceans of grace larger than the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Baltic, and Antarctic oceans combined.
Are we there yet?
No, but soon, Lord willing. Until then, lean into the lessons God has for you. Find someone to journey with you and encourage you.