About a month ago, I was whisked on a short anniversary getaway with my husband to a lake cabin in North Carolina to celebrate our 1 year mark. It was the perfect bit of bliss in our current season’s ground marked by transition.
On our anniversary night, given the festive celebration, I decided to immerse myself in the fine art of homemade pizza making. If you are ever looking to fill your man’s (or your own) stomach with pure Heaven, you can never go wrong with the Pioneer Woman’s mouthwatering BBQ chicken pizza. Homemade cooking is a rarity for me these days, but I was feeling extra loving that evening.
There I was, face covered in flour, looking over my pitifully unrising pizza dough, wondering where this delectable meal went awry, when Mark began telling me about his recent text conversation with our spiritual papa, Mike Paschall. Mark had been processing through our current season of searching (jobs, home, church, etc…) as much as one can via text, when Mike replied back with these 5 short words:
“Maybe there isn’t always best.”
I tell you, those words were my arrow, hitting bulls-eye on my current attempts to search out and conquer the “bests” in life.
Best so easily becomes that endless pursuit of striving to achieve that which cannot be attained in most situations – to the point that I inadvertently find myself entangled in this cobweb that kills most freedom in my life. And though I know how lifeless its pursuit is more often than not, I still find myself defaulting back again and again to searching for its gold, wondering if this is the time I could finally secure and earn…best.
Maybe you can relate with me on this. A new season comes along – like the turning of a new year or the embarking of a new venture – and you find yourself thinking about how to make this time around the “best yet,” different from all the rest before. Or maybe there are decisions to make and without thinking twice, you’re coming to conclusions through this paradigm marked best, trying to decide over and over again which is the best job, best apartment, best church, best next step.
And somehow, if we’re not careful in this endless search, we actually can start worshiping the idea of best, totally unsatisfied by any result that doesn’t meet its standards, discouraged by our failed efforts, or worn out by the perpetual cycle that never seems to bring an exhale.
The road to best will almost always be marked by striving, comparing, and constant achieving. And having gone down this path over and over again, I am convinced that the need for best in every area of our lives never brings rest. Or peace. Or oftentimes even forward motion.
Best can so easily become this road we strive so hard down its path, that we forget that it isn’t actually what Jesus journeyed on. He’s always been about abundance, sacrifice, life. He wasn’t about being the shiny king or playing the part of earthly power. He wasn’t focused on striving or achieving into best; He was about resting and sitting into identity.
Moments like this one, when the Kingdom crashes in on my pizza-making skills by the voice of the Father in the form of one simple text, allow me to simply breathe again – away from the weight of best’s pursuit.
What I keep wondering is, what would life look like if best wasn’t the peak of our journey? This may be a shocking thought, but what if God doesn’t care most about best? What if He longs for His people to risk and press on and breathe freely?
That night I heard Him say:
Don’t miss Me by only waiting for best. Because what if I’m actually moving in the place of mess and imperfection and a whole lot of trust in this season?
Maybe the currency of Heaven, the way we are able to tap into His reality and life in our midst, isn’t by way of performing, being, or attaining the best, but by the path marked faith, commitment, and intimacy – even when that guarantees discomfort and stretching will be right beside us.
That one text provoked something deep in me. I’m doing all I can to take myself out from under the weight of having to live up to a certain standard or reach a specific place in order to feel that life carries the impact I so long for it to have.
Maybe you, like me, need to exhale for a moment and remember what life is meant to be lived for. And simply get out from all the rest.