Picture this: it’s your graduation day at Narrow Gate. It’s been eight months since you walked through the Lodge doors. You’ve lived outside, spent a week hiking the Appalachian Trail, and you’ve lived in a bunk house with ten other dudes for months. You’ve played more games of Ultimate Frisbee than you can count and learned how to weed eat. You’ve volunteered in the community and been mentored by prominent leaders in business and the church.
You’ve made it to graduation. You’ve made it to the finish line. You’re done!
You stand in front of a crowd of friends and family and read aloud your Vision and Purpose statement. You kneel and receive a Father’s Blessing. Now it’s time to accept your sword – that symbol of accomplishment that each Narrow Gate graduate possesses. And you hear Bill say “This is the end of the beginning…”
The beginning? But you’re finished! You’re graduating! Isn’t this the end?
And then you hug your friends and family and drive off Narrow Gate’s campus, and it starts to sink in. You start to understand what Bill meant when he said this is the beginning, not some glorious end. As you think about the next steps ahead of you, the decisions you still have to make, the life you want to lead, it all starts to make sense: We are all in process. As a follower of Christ, we never “arrive,” we never “graduate” from being His child.
We are all becoming.
If you look into the Old English roots of the word “become,” you’ll find it means “to move with the purpose of reaching some point completely or thoroughly.” To move with purpose. Knowing that our final destination is not an Earthly Kingdom. Knowing that we are temporary vessels in this world.
Philippians 1:6 says “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Narrow Gate is a place where God chooses to begin His work in the lives of young men. We are the starting point, the launching pad. And the days that come after graduation are just as important as the eight months spent in intensive daily Bible study.
Graduation is a celebration of victory. Of transformation made possible only by the grace of God.
And the days that follow are the rest of the story.
So don’t be discouraged if you feel burdened with the weight of not having “arrived” yet. Don’t listen to the lies that tell you your life should be figured out and your faith should be stronger by now. We are all becoming. We are all on this journey toward that day of completion.
Celebrate the small victories. Celebrate the moments of visible growth and change. And remember that we are all still children at the feet of God. We are all becoming.
If you or someone you love would benefit from the Narrow Gate experience, please check out our website at nglodge.org or fee free to call us at 931-583-0645.