August 4, 2012

Running ahead and wandering off…

I learn some of the best life lessons when I observe children.  Throughout my day, I found myself reflecting on a few situations I observe during my trip to the grocery store.  As I entered the store from the parking lot, a little girl was running ahead of her mom.  She was about to run into the entering traffic lane when her mom caught up to her and grabbed her hand with a yank – stopping her cold.  It was the type of situation that makes you catch your breath as you watch it unfold from a distance.  Mom, with the mixed look of panic and relief, scolded her daughter then gave her a hug and picked her up to carry her safely to their destination.
I continued on with my shopping – picking up a few items from the baking isle.  A dad rounded the corner of the isle with his son.  The boy ran straight to the chocolate chips and with an exclamation of “Found ‘em!” threw them into the cart.  Then he ran down to the end of the isle and rounded the corner.  Meanwhile, dad had stopped to pick up a few other items in the isle.  A moment later came a voice from an isle over shouting “Dad? Dad?!  Daddy!!!”  The father called the boy’s name and was met at the end of the isle with the boy hugging his leg.
Finishing my shopping in the produce section, I watched another situation unfold.  As a mom concentrated on selecting cucumbers, her two little ones wandered over to the bakery eyeing the doughnut selection.  Mom glanced up with expectations of finding them standing by the cart.  She was looking back and forth when our eyes met.  I wordlessly pointed to the bakery on the other side of the vegetable stand.  She smiled and shook her head.  When she pushed her cart to them, they looked up at her oblivious to the fact their wandering had separated them.
As I pondered reflections about each of these, I could relate so easily to the parent’s point of view.  There have been quite a few wanderings and running ahead moments experienced with my three children. 
Then it hit me.
I’ve been the child quite a few times (more than I care to admit)….running ahead…, wandering off…, separating myself from my Father.  I stood still with this thought for a bit.
I can pinpoint quite a few times when I ran ahead of God.  I saw what I perceived as a course of action; thought a certain path looked right and moved forward only to realize what may have looked really good as I started… ended up to be the wrong direction – obstacle after obstacle – leaving me weak, confused, struggling and flailing ineffectively.  My impulsive decision, my wrong approach or wandering away from God’s intended path landed me in a place where I was troubled, not in sync with others and distant from the Father.  There were times I was so oblivious that I was headed in the wrong direction action-wise or thought-wise but I can now see it was so obvious.  It took a good yank from my Father to reel me back in - often in the form of being allowed to suffer the consequences of my choice.  Yet, lovingly God protected me, set me right again and at times even carried me through until I was ready to seek His direction…seek HIM…and follow.
Why do I “follow the stubbornness of my heart”?  Can’t I see I make the journey so much longer and so much more difficult when I run ahead? 
What have I learned….?
-seek Him first
-Be Still
Lessons I am still striving to implement daily.

Matthew 6:33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Psalm 85:8  I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.
John 10:27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

"Those who walk with God always reach their destination"...a bit more easily and quickly.