This is going to be the beginning of a great post, I don’t know why I just thought that but I did and now you get to read part of my thoughts, anyways moving on...years ago when I studied at a college that was located precisely 24 hours away from home I picked up a new hobby: flying. I love flying not just because I’m freaky fast at taking a belt off my pants and sliding off my shoes through a conveyor belt but because I love traveling to new destinations, exploring sights and watching the world from the skies as I ponder every single place I could visit to create lasting memories (I’m also addicted to people watching but secretly I think that’s everyone else’s hobby too). On this particular flight heading home for the holidays I ruined my chances of getting a full night’s worth of rest due to playing video games and watching movies. With what seemed like time for only a nap I was dropped off at the airport ready to head home.
Passport? Check. Luggage? Check. Headphones in your ears for no reason other than to let people know I can’t be talked to at the moment? Check. My head was running through the list of making sure I had everything with me. I’m definitely one of those weird people that suddenly panics thinking that somehow my ticket printed off as Chris Tood and now it won’t match my I.D. So I role play the conversation of how I’m going to convince the airlines I’m not a Tood but a Todd. After being at the right airport standing at the right gate the lady at the counter scanned my ticket. After a green lit beep I shook the sweat off my forehead and proceeded towards my seat. The aftermath of no sleep was starting to catch up to me but luckily I had a 3 hour flight before I would arrive to Miami that would suffice for a short nap. Now usually I always wait until the plane has taken off before I even think about dozing but this time I was going to trust that whoever I was sitting next to would let me use their shoulder as a potential drool station.
Twenty minutes later I woke up to two men yelling at each other a few feet away from me. Let’s scan the list of appropriate places to yell at in public with a crowd staring, yeah an airplane didn’t show up on my list either. With my headphones out of my ears all I kept hearing was how one guy stole the other guy’s seat. This wouldn’t be a big deal except there was another person sitting down also in a seat not corresponding to their ticket. After twenty minutes of the plane being delayed and body temperatures rising the flight attendant finally ran towards the back asking for everyone to stand up to check everybody’s ticket. “You’ve got to be kidding me! How could people not know where they’re supposed to be sitting! We’re supposed to be flying already” I whispered chiming into the noise. With more than ten people sitting down on seats they weren’t supposed to, the flight attendant was having to seat everyone in the back of the plane down. With now forty minutes of our flight being delayed babies were crying, adults were arguing and children were furious. There was officially an uproar and I couldn’t help but to think: “who was the moron that started this mess?!”. Now before I tell the rest of the story, it’s important to not jump ahead with conclusions because I already know what you’re thinking and the answer is: yes I am that dumb but no I did not delay a plane for over an hour on purpose. By the time the flight attendant checked my ticket she traced this commotion all the way down to me. Being as tired as I was I stole an elderly gentleman’s seat that would force for him not wake me up and sit somewhere else which translated into a whole line of people that would begin to take seats they weren’t supposed to sit in until someone claimed their behind to sit in a certain spot. I wish I could tell you that I slept like a baby that rest of the flight and made it back home without anyone cursing me out but obviously you’ve never delayed a plane for over an hour like me. My eyes couldn’t be more open and could feel so many people staring me down making sure I was going to not move an inch for three hours on a plane. Blame it on the fatigue, blame it on my lack of double checking, the truth is, I had made sure I was in the right airport, walking down the right gate, flying in the right plane, but at the end of the day none of it mattered because I was in the wrong seat! Ultimately I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
It doesn’t always hit me but if I’m real honest I feel like this in my Christian walk as well. I can tell people I follow God, I can open my bible a few times during the week, I can even pray before every meal, but I know ultimately my heart is seated in the wrong seat. Whether I selfishly try to earn my favor with God, or try to get by with a checklist of things to do to appear as a Christian, I know that I can still be in the right airport, right gate, right plane, and be sitting in the wrong seat. I love how the Bible puts this in Matthew 22:36-37 “36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Why do is it that I get selfish and make Christianity all about me? Oh right it’s because one of these aspects is misaligned. I’m not loving God before myself in these areas. We cannot love someone we don’t know, so knowing Him should be our first priority. Those who pursue God and who take seriously the command to love Him above all else, are those who are consumed with the things of God. These are the people eager to study God’s Word, eager to pray, eager to obey and honor God in all things, and eager to share Jesus Christ with others. How often do I check my heart to see if I’m just in a motion of following God or if my heart is there with Him? I’m starting to ask myself this same question all the time.