It’s amazing how many people are in careers and on life paths that they stumbled or fell into without really aiming for that specific job or that specific lifestyle.
Oh, a few knew what they wanted to be when they grew up from early on. I freely admit that I did envy those people. They knew their minds and hearts and were on their right road seemingly from the cradle.
I, and many others, took the scenic route. It wasn’t a lack of discipline or a lack of interest that made my roots vines. It was an abundance of interest in many things. Choosing one to give my full attention and focus required letting go of all the others–or so I thought.
What I’ve come to realize is that my thinking was wrong. I limited it to the way mortals think. I should have expanded it to the ways of God.
While our acts might not be deliberate, His are. And while we seemingly flutter, what we’re often doing is gathering knowledge and experience and insight. We’re growing into the person we must become to walk the path He has planned for us to walk.
I look at the verse above, Proverbs 3:6: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths.” I look, and I wonder, why didn’t I really see that earlier? Why did I not grasp that the flittering was a season of gathering? That seeds had to be planted and time (and maturity) were required for them to grow?
It seems so simple now. So clear. So obvious. Couple that with the “first seek Him” I had on previous readings underlined twice (once in red and once in black) and read again last night in Matthew, and then it’s really a proverbial clear as the nose on a face, isn’t it?
Feeling quite foolish for being so oblivious to the obvious, I pause to think. And then I stop, and think some more. The simplicity in this truth is overwhelming. That I missed it for so long confounding. It just doesn’t seem possible…
But … ah, wait. Wait. The rationale hit me. It’s sinking in, and I now understand.
Even if I had seen a well-defined path that was blazingly alight, I wouldn’t have recognized it as my path. Only as a path. I would have had doubts about walking it. About whether or not I should, could, or was supposed to walk it. Because I was not ready.
We (and I’m certainly no exception, as you well see) tend to forget.
We aren’t who we were.
We are who we’ve become.
It takes living, experiencing to gain understanding and become the person we are right now, today. For who we were to morph into who we’ve become. And that cues us that if we continue to seek and grow, we are not now the person we will be five years from now.
He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change. (Also wisdom imparted in Matthew.) We grow and change.
And now I’m chuckling. Because years ago I grasped this insight, relating it to writing. But then I didn’t relate it to life or to paths. Totally missed that one!
Back then, a writing friend felt she’d stumbled on “the secret” of novel-writing. She was torn between keeping the insight to herself and sharing it.
The emotion driving this conflict was that mean old “fear of not enough.” You know the one I mean. If you share, then others know the secrets you know, and they’ll use them, too. Then there won’t be enough left for you. That fear. It’s a common one. Inaccurate and flawed, of course, but common.
Anyway, we talked and I shared my philosophy, which is to share. Give all you can give to others. It makes the whole stronger and wiser and that elevates us all. And quit worrying. There’s more than enough. Walk in his ways and you will not lack. Remember the lesson about the sparrow falling, and us being more important to Him? God is a god of abundance, not a god of barely enough. And no mortal can out-give God.
Back then, I told my friend that you can give a person a whole loaf of bread. But only those slices that this person is ready and willing to eat can or will be eaten. That was true–about writing, about life, about paths, about everything. It’s a universal truth. That I didn’t see back then.
But thinking about it, giving a whole loaf is good. Yet receiving a whole loaf is like trying to teach a preschooler statistics or economics. They simply don’t yet have the foundation in place yet to receive that knowledge. They’ve got to first learn numbers, then addition, then…. you get the idea.
So why share the whole loaf?
Because you never know which slices exactly will be received. Which slices that person needs to give them what they need to progress on their journey. They’ll gather what they’re willing and able to gather, and at some point in the future, when they’re ready to gather more, then more slices will be offered and will echo from the past, as this has with me. And then they’ll grasp something new and yet familiar and known. And they’ll ask themselves how they missed it.
Maybe they’ll chuckle a little, too, at not seeing the nose on the face. I hope they do.
We’ll know how we remain oblivious to the obvious. Because we’ve been there and done that–more than once. So maybe rather than beating ourselves up about that, we’ll smile, too.
It’s clear that we can’t harvest without first planting seeds and nurturing them as they grow. To harvest, the work first must be done. How we do it, regardless of whether ours is a straight-shot path or the scenic route, we can be content and free from envy. How?
First seek Him. If we keep our gazes fixed on Him, and our hearts and minds receptive, then He’ll guide us. We’ll get exactly where we’re supposed to be at exactly the time we’re supposed to be there–and we’ll have the skills and tools and wisdom and understanding and insight–all that’s required to do what we need to do once we get there because we aren’t limited to our own resources. He’s with us. We have authority and access to His resources.
Knocks the stuffing right out of those limiting fears and worries about all we don’t have, doesn’t it?
This is where the receptive heart comes in. If we don’t ask, He won’t give. (It’s the free will gift. He gave it and won’t infringe on it.) And if we ask, we also must be willing to receive.
So if we have a willing heart and our receptors open, and we ask and are willing to receive, then we might just bypass a couple stops on that scenic route. We might see the noses on the faces in front of us sooner. We might see the signs on our path guiding us and recognize them as signs quicker.
And we might find our footsteps on our path are a little quicker, a little lighter, because we know and trust that we are guided and that there will be signs.