Jen’s Gem: God has a better plan for your life.
Several weeks ago, I resumed my walking regimen to speed up the last leg of my weight loss journey. Not only is it working, but I’ve gotten several great ideas for blog posts along the way. In fact, some days I get so many that I have to ask God to help me remember them all!
I typically walk around my neighborhood early in the morning before school buses and commuters take command of the road. For the most part, I’m walking on sidewalks, but now and then I have to step into the road. I do my best to keep my trusty New Balances close to the curb to avoid becoming roadkill for those drivers who think they’re on the Autobahn.
As I traversed the various lanes and avenues, I began to notice how poorly maintained some of our sidewalks are. I immediately pondered the use of my tax dollars and as I passed my children’s middle school under construction, I was given my answer. These broken pathways provided me a great analogy to my daily walk with God and my life.
Those that are newly-paved reminded me of the days when all is right with the world and I feel blessed. My steps and my day were easy. Other sidewalks, filled with potholes and broken chunks of asphalt, represent those days that don’t go quite as planned. Work demands, the needs of my children, or a sleepless night threaten to make me forget the many blessings I have been given.
Still other walkways are smooth, yet show signs of cracking in the future. They’re easy to walk on today but in a few years, they may join their distant battered cousins if not properly maintained.
I love walking on the newly-paved sidewalks! Since I don’t have to navigate the potholes, I can look straight ahead, not worrying about the bumps or cracks. My gait is faster, my mind is clearer, and I’m able to concentrate on my goal.
The battered sidewalks slow my pace, force me to look down, and make me fearful of falling and getting injured. Finally, the half smooth, half broken surfaces require a bit of both – a slightly slower pace and only a periodic glance downward.
You may be saying, “Why don’t you just walk on a track?” That does seem like the logical answer, but this would require me to drive to a local high school. Since I have only a small window of time to walk in the morning, I’d have to cut it short, potentially jeopardizing my weight loss goal. More importantly, I’d be bored stiff just going around in circles.
Another solution would be to simply avoid those streets with the rogue sidewalks. Interestingly, this is where the best inclines are located and Lord knows, I need all the strengthening and toning I can get!
Are you throwing up your hands yet in utter frustration? I hope not.
Here’s the thing. The ups and downs I face on my walk are a mirror image of my life – and yours. Some days go smoothly, others are a hot mess. The remaining are somewhere in between.
This complex puzzle of our time on this planet makes us who we are. It teaches us important lessons. It brings us unspeakable joy. And it also breaks our hearts.
But what I have learned is that no matter what type of sidewalk I’m on, God is with me. He walks right next to me when I need a friend. He walks in front of me to warn me of the potential bumps. He walks behind me to catch me if I fall.
When I keep God front and center in my day, I can be assured that I’m on the right path. As it says in Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” I’ve also experienced the opposite when I don’t have time to pray or study my Bible. My day is filled with bumps and broken pieces.
Proverbs 4:26 says “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.” God already knows the right path for me. Why would I want to choose another that might result in pain or sickness or failure? His plan was laid out for me a b-zillion years ago and He’s doing all He can to guide me on that path. Why? Because it’s the best one. It’s the right one. It’s the path designed just for me.
This week, I’d like to encourage you to ponder your own path. Has it been smooth sailing? Or, is it filled with a few bumps? God doesn’t promise an easy life, but He does promise He will be there, providing guidance, peace, and hope.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)