Freedom is a value we seek. We hold it as a right in the United States. We want it in our personal lives, even our professional lives. We hope to have it in our retirements and to pass it on to our children. Because we live fast-paced lives with rampant technological change, freedom often means we seek convenience. When things are convenient they seem to more readily fit our schedules. When something is convenient, it seems to help us gain some freedom of time or effort. Drive-thru fast food restaurants, cell phone providers, and other businesses seek ways to serve us in the most convenient fashion. We desire freedom and, therefore, want convenience because it promises us better results to live in this fast-paced society. Convenience buys us time and gives us freedom.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, I had a buddy who made the best barbecue. The smell enticed me to savor the moment as I breathed deep. My taste buds were provoked to a splendid experience as the juices and complex flavors danced in my mouth. I could not help but to smile with every bite. I needed to know how to cook this great tasting barbecue, so I asked for the recipe and method for cooking. What I got next was a science lesson mixed with the realization that the process for the dancing flavors took longer than 24 hours to prepare. My buddy had been barbecuing all day. I thought so much for convenience for this July 4 celebration of freedom. It made me appreciate the meal all the more.
I began to really contemplate; the inconvenient stuff in our lives can often have great meaning. For one, spiritual formation that takes place by being a part of a worshipping community is often inconvenient. I mean shoot — most churches worship early on Sunday morning. Having to get the family to bed on time Saturday night, up early enough on Sunday morning, breakfast prepared, everything in the car, and off to make the worship service in time is a serious commitment of time and energy. It is safe to say that it is not the most convenient thing to do for many around the globe. I kept contemplating. When Jesus walked up on some of his followers and invited them to join him, they dropped what they were doing and followed. Surely, those first followers did not do the most convenient thing. As my mind drifted, I began to realize that convenience is not really what we seek. Yes, we seek freedom. We crave authenticity and meaning.
I think that I am going to have a conversation with my family. I am going to name the fact that we are blessed to live in a society that makes many things fast and easy. I am going to celebrate the convenience that we have at our fingertips, but I am also going to uncover the fact that many great things take time and effort. As a person committed to spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and holistic formation of individuals, it is evident that time, commitment and effort produce the greatest results.
This Sunday consider embracing inconvenience. Think about the values in your life that take time and effort. Name the shortcuts you take that actually rob you of your values. Slow down. While writing this, I can close my eyes and smell and taste that savory barbecue meal with good friends and family that took more than a day to prepare. Some of the greatest things in life are inconvenient.