The Accidental Tourist: A Parable

The Accidental Tourist: A Parable

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

"You've been living as a tourist in the Kingdom of God," said the voice I've learned to trust as my Father God's. It was a dream, but full of truth, what I call a "dream parable".

Like an ordinary child, I argued back, "Oh no, that's not true!" I picked up my Bible and turned to Matthew 6 as my "proof text" that I was living by faith, but as the familiar pages slipped through my fingers I suddenly discovered a section of the book of Matthew was missing! Not only were pages in Matthew missing, but a good part of my tattered and well-used Bible was just plain gone.

Realization suddenly struck me like a lightning bolt from Heaven, that the only pages remaining in my Bible were the parts that I was actually living! All the rest was simply head knowledge and nothing more.

I was a preacher and teacher of God's Word. I had memorized whole chapters and almost a whole book of the Bible. But what I lacked was application and experiential knowledge. God was setting me up to pursue my full inheritance as a daughter of the Most High God!

Papa wanted me to experience an abundant life. A life of no fear, no lack, and no limitations! That's our inheritance, but it can only be received when we live like Jesus lived when he was on earth as an ordinary human, like us.

My years as a good church-going woman of God flashed across my mind's movie screen. Not only had I been tithing 10% as a member and giving offerings well above my tithe, but I gave my time, up to 70-80 hours a week! I had been a youth pastor, a children's pastor, a regional coordinator for a large international ministry and so much more. I was guiding people's lives and yet, were any of us really living the "abundant life" God promised us?

Had I somehow gotten lost inside the Church? How could it possibly be true? Was I actually only a tourist and not a passport-toting citizen of Heaven? After all, everyone was applauding me because of our astonishing rate of church growth! I was the "golden girl," they told me, because nearly all of my programs were successful.

But I always sensed there must be something more! I knew there must be more than simply successful, well attended programs, that people enjoyed.

"You belong to Me. You're in the Family. But you are living like an orphan, as if you didn't own the key to My House! You are a citizen of Heaven but you have forgotten your identity. You are living like a tourist in the Kingdom of Heaven. You admire My Kingdom. You read My Word and think it's great! You're great at praying for others. But you haven't yet received your full inheritance."

Have you ever had a divine wake up call? This was my wake up call! The dream is many years old, but it still acts like a compass needle for my life today.

So this morning I awakened from another airport dream. Throughout the years I've had several such dreams where I'm in various stages of preparation for a very important flight! A decade ago I was married to an abuser and in my airport dreams we were always in disarray, completely unprepared and unable to make it to the airport, let alone on the very important mission!

Throughout the years of escaping from abuse these periodic airport dreams have helped me to assess my progress in being fully prepared for Kingdom living. And you need a passport for this Kingdom; that is, you need citizenship, just to get started! This is your identity as a citizen of the greatest kingdom in the universe. 

For me, I had to unlearn everything the church taught me! You see, knowledge on top of knowledge makes you feel comfortable. The teaching is predictable, familiar, and acceptable.

There's no more mystery when you spend years being indoctrinated and then indoctrinating others. We grow accustomed to the artificial indoor lighting, instead of getting out under the healing Sunlight!

The Apostle Paul freely admitted he saw things "darkly" and only in part. He talked about the Mystery. I don't think he ever intended that his letters be taken as a forever, eternal law, to be misconstrued by changing social and cultural structures. I believe we need less of Paul and more of Jesus, and I know Paul would agree with me!

Most Christians, like me, need a divine wake up call. We've fallen asleep and our luggage isn't packed. Our passport is missing. And the great adventure is here!

A couple years ago I finally had it all together… I made my mission. My luggage, my timing, and my passport were all in order! Finally! 

But today, I'm no longer traveling alone. My children are with me. For those who know my story, you understand that sociopaths can steal your children's souls, too. They try, that is. But God has our children, you know… he really does!

Today, I understand that it's not enough for me to be free… 

I have so many more I want to journey with! And so I will keep going back and helping my children, both natural and spiritual, to get their passports… to pack their luggage… and to fly!

I want to share more about this… because it's the real key to getting free. Are you ready to fly? 

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie November 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I have felt that I've been on a religious "precipice" for years.  It was if I could almost "see" what I was supposed to be doing, how I should be living, etc, but never quite able to get it into focus.  I started the long journey two weeks ago.  I made plans to separate from my husband of 18 years and allow time to regain my ability to think and hear from God.  Since then I've come to realize my husband is a sociopath, but not like the one you were married to.  He's a "benevolent jailkeeper" instead of a cruel one.  I'm excited about what is going to do in months/years to come. 


Susan Schiller November 6, 2016 at 9:20 am

A "benevolent jailkeeper" – wow, Marie…. you've nailed it with those words.

Yes, I understand what you are saying, indeed. And I'm glad you are clear on being out of that jail. I'm glad you can feel excitement for the future! 

You are speaking from a healthy position – I'm so glad to hear this! Thank you for sharing 🙂


Olga Hermans July 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

If we live our life without revelation of the Word of God; we can try to apply the owrd of God, but I still find myself empthy. But the moment I receive revelation and apply it, there is life and there is a change on the inside of me. I know we should serve in the chirch to only be serving, but we should serve because we love to and because we love to serve Him.


Susan McKenzie July 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

You’re so very right, Olga! Thanks so much for taking time to read during your vacation – blessings on your trip! I hope you can soak in all the beautiful of these amazing world we live in!


Claudia Looi July 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Susan, this year I've stayed away from many organized programs in our church. It's our relationship with God that matters not the activities. Great post.


Susan McKenzie July 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

It’s amazing how many people I’ve heard saying the same thing, Claudia! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


Ron Cross July 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm

That's a powerful word Susan, and very much applicable to my own life. We can be so caught up in our "service" that we start to miss or fall short of true covenant relationship with God. I know I'm guilty of that working in the music ministry.
Thanks for such an awesome reminder.


Susan McKenzie July 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Hey Ron, it’s very nice to meet you. Thank you for reading and sharing! Whenever you work behind the scenes of any church ministry it’s very easy to see we are not alone in getting caught up in serving and falling short of our love relationship with the Lord! God sees things so much differently than we do. Thanks for sharing!


Jessica Stone July 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Oh, Susan, that's exactly what He's been teaching me over this past year… application!!    Great post!


Susan McKenzie July 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

It’s so nice to know I’m in great company! Thanks, Jessica!


denny hagel July 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

There is nothing as sweet to the soul as being surrounded by those who 'know' the Lord! Thank you for sharing this positive uplifting article. I always find peace in your messages!


Susan McKenzie July 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I feel the same at your blog, Denny… such a sense of peace that everything is under control! Or rather, that you’ve got everything covered through your rich background with your parents and your own family. Thank you so much for your encouraging words!


Mary Marriner July 5, 2012 at 8:01 am

Thank you for this post, Susan.  Drawing close to God in this rat race of a life that we live is often difficult.  But that walk is the only and most important one.  God is so patient with us….it amazes me, but so does His love for us.  Your words spoke volumes to me!


Susan McKenzie July 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Dear Mary, I wonder how we all allowed this rat race to begin, and why we allow it rule our lives…. I feel like Alice in Wonderland sometimes, all turned upside down. Either too big or too little. Just not fitting into this world very well anymore! You are so very right, about how patient God is with us. What if He wasn’t??? Oh dear! Thank you so much for sharing, Mary!


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