There are a lot of paranormal shows and books that talk about ghosts being the wandering souls of the dead who still seek closure. Though I’m not blogging today to argue the existence or nonexistence of ghosts (smile), hold that thought about wandering spirits. I’m really going somewhere with this.
All around us (perhaps even a few are reading this post) are millions of living people who walk around with a spirit of restlessness that they’ve not been able to shake; this spirit sabotages everything they set their hands to. That’s a haunting far scarier than the things that go bump in the night—being stuck with an inability to commit or to find satisfaction in our already-blessed lives. So these persons are constantly changing careers, in and out of relationships, church-hopping, changing college majors a dozen times, moving from state to state, and in general, never able to just unpack all the boxes and sink roots.
I’m speaking both figuratively and literally here. And while I realize the nature of some vocations, ministries, and dreams involve being flexible and open to frequent changes, many people simply have issues with “stick-to-it-iveness.” One foot is planted firmly while the other has the sprinter’s shoe firmly laced up and ready to bolt. One eye is on the spouse or fiancé while the other is scanning other options, just in case the relationship fails to remain exciting and new. And church membership? Seriously? That person has a laundry list of every pastor who has hurt him or her, of every church that’s failed to be stimulating enough to earn permanent home status. Ask where he or she is connected and you’ll get an uncomfortable stuttering of, “Um, I’m kind of in-between churches right now.” I bet you know at least one person like this…and I hope for your sake that person isn’t staring back at you in the mirror. If he/she is, don’t be discouraged or feel condemned! We are going to talk a little about this issue and pray together.
There is nothing wrong with God-ordained change. Moses was getting up in years when God had him switch from herding flocks to herding people. Sometimes we even make bad choices that warrant change. Outside factors can leave us trying to find a new job, requiring us to move. I’m not talking about these types of occasional milestone situations; I’m addressing the curse of never being willing to commit—truly sell out for a cause–that can rob an entire life’s sense of accomplishment and fruitfulness.
The existence of a vagabond spirit is just as prevalent in seemingly-stable environments as it is among people who abandon their families and go live under bridges. Oh, it may not manifest as being the same thing, but the end results are not so dissimilar. Person can’t deal with mundaneness of stability, so person exchanges stable environment for a possibly unhealthy, unfruitful lifestyle of hobo-esque wandering. And sadly, the very thing which the person overtaken with a vagabond spirit is hoping to gain is the thing he or she forfeits in the name of freedom. Yeah, just like a ghost…wandering aimlessly in search of resolve.
There is hope for the wandering soul. It lies in submitting ourselves totally to God’s will; reading His Word, talking (and listening) to Him, disciplining ourselves, and admitting we have need of deliverance from the fear of commitment.
Father, break the “ghost syndrome” off Your people, we ask in Jesus’ name. We were not meant to be in a perpetual state of limbo in our lives. You began a good work in us and will finish it; and You designed us to walk in completeness. You have assignments for us–jobs, families, churches, life plans, goals, callings–that were meant to have a victorious, finished outcome. When we are faced with hardships, help us not to abandon our posts in continual hope that the pastures are perhaps greener somewhere else. Sure, it’s easier to quit, to lose by default; but why should we not instead…win?
Help us not to have chronic detachment that never allows us to stay and see things through. Help us to be people of covenant, people of our word, people of principle. When You end a particular season in our lives (and on occasion You do), it’s never left in chaos and confusion; that’s not how You operate. No, You have right order and a peace that accompanies every change that You orchestrate personally in our lives. Give us tenacity—the kind that sets us up for favor, promotion, and utter blessing. Give us an ear that hears the voice of the Good Shepherd and is keener to His voice than even to the sound of opportunity knocking. Not every knock is something or someone sent by God! We won’t open doors You don’t instruct us to open. We will be neither unable to commit, nor too stubborn to obey when You order change. We will be balanced; we will be able to be in a fixed place/circumstance for as long as You ordain, without being attached to the world and things of the world. We will find joy in the assignments You give us; and instead of being driven to find the next big thing that fuels our adrenaline, we’ll linger long enough to rest, reflect, give thanks, and enjoy the work of our hands! Bless us with a deep appreciation of commitment that makes having variety and mobility safe instead of destructive to Your best for us. We will bring the fruit of finishing to You instead of leaving a littered path of abandoned missions.
By allowing You to establish borders in our lives through accountability and covenant relationship, we poise ourselves to be fruitful and multiply. We prove ourselves fit, through our faithfulness in a few things, to be made rulers over many. Thank You, Lord, that Your children are being loosed from the “ghost” mentality. Thank You for casting out the vagabond spirit that denies us satisfaction in commitment. We are alive in You–and we are not aimlessly wandering souls! In Jesus’ name we ask and give thanks for answered prayer!