Updated: May 29
In Jason Upton's song I Will Wait is a repeated line about Jesus, “You’re the sun in my horizon.” As one who explores horizons with people I find this compelling. As one who deeply adores sunrises, I find this inspiring. As one who loves Jesus, I find this amazing.
I have said to many pastors over the years that they should have some key relationships, even if only people in your contact list you can turn to when needed. These people are a doctor, tax advisor, lawyer, mentor, therapist, and a coach.
If you will indulge me, I'd like to tell you about a critical session I had with a therapist that changed my life dramatically. It explains something I say in my ads and other writings that may be of interest to you.
A conversation with my therapist started by me wanting to explore what it is about water that fascinates and freezes me. I talked about my love for water, be it still waters in a pond or living waters in a mountain stream, a river, or especially the ocean. I shared how it was hypnotizing for me to be near water where I felt I could somehow connect closely with God and still feel remarkably alone simultaneously. How can I be full and empty at the same time?
The topic took a dramatic turn, which is not a surprise given that I am an external processor with no limits on the numbers of rabbits I'll chase in any given conversation. We began discussing reasons for why I tear up every time I see videos of soldiers being reunited with their families. I cried every time I would see them and never understood why. In one of my seminary classes prior to that session, our professor showed the class a video that was probably 10-minutes long showing several of these tear-filled reunions. It felt like a 4-hour feature film to me which I simply sat and worked diligently to hide my pain and waterworks even though I could not explain why it hurt me so.
The easy question for my therapist was if I knew anybody in the service. We talked about my father and how some of his choices in life affected me in mine. Don't get me wrong, I loved my father with my whole heart and have missed him since his passing many years ago. He was a Navy veteran and Merchant Marine. He was an old "salt" that could not seem to get the water out of his mind nor blood nor priorities. He and my Mom divorced after many years of back and forth with Dad being gone months at a time. Our paths criss-crossed many times over the years with the connection never being totally lost, but never what it could have been.
I still think back to what my therapist told me in that session years ago that helped me overcome a lot of memorized pain. As I mentioned earlier, we had started by talking about how much I loved in particular to go to the ocean’s edge and just relax and listen to the sounds of the waves greeting the shore with a sometimes profound high five. But if that did not mesmerize me enough, it was staring at the horizon that often seemed to capture my heart.
Why is it satisfying and horrifying?
What is it about horizons that fascinate and haunt me?
The horizon of the sea had the power to take my breath and cause me to freeze in time and space. My therapist kept asking gentle questions to help me find my way to the deepest recesses of my heart. I had no answer, until he said the most profound thing that still echoes in my head clearly today. He said, “It sounds like you’re still looking for your Dad.”
That moment, after a heavy production of tears, changed my perspective entirely. My eyes were looking at sunrises over the ocean. My heart was seeing an empty horizon with no ship coming home.
My next trip to the ocean was far more refreshing, relaxing, and rewarding. It was the first time I looked at the horizon and, captivated as usual, I knew what I was looking for, and it wasn't Dad.
That day, and to this day I have a new thought come to mind that thrills my soul. I no longer stare blankly to where sky and water meet. I see clearly now what it is that I'm looking at and looking for. I now have a new question that inspires me today in my own spiritual walk. Actually, it isn't even a question.
“I wonder what’s next.”
This drives me in everything I do. Every time I face a crisis or unanswered circumstance I know to turn to God whether I'm at the water or in my office. I am a firm believer in God's call and how that call for me is to help people, as my slogan says, explore their spiritual horizons.
It doesn't need to haunt you. It doesn't need to frighten you. I like to help others find the excitement horizons truly offer. It is the next step. It's what's around the corner, what's on the way. It is what is in store for you whether you are a leader or follower trying to muddle your way through life.
Exploring horizons has been my insatiable quest from the moment my therapist pointed out exactly what I needed to hear. I was looking for something that was impossible in a place that exudes possibilities.
What’s next for me? As I write this I have the next two months of work lined up ahead of me. After that, beats me. My first book is now released and might open some possibilities. Otherwise, I'm not really sure what is in store. Am I panicked? Nope. While I don’t know what is on the horizon in that capacity, it would be easy to want to feel stressed about it. Instead, I just think of life's bigger horizons, and I know that my Father already has the answer. This is my leap of faith. I trust God completely and continue to work toward my next.
What is next for you?
What do you see on your horizon?
How much are you trusting God to lead you there?
What is your next leap of faith?