How do you respond when the path you are on is suddenly blocked? What is your first response? Do you shake your fist and holler out "Get out of my way" or "Coming through" and push through anyway? Or are you the kind who stews quietly thinking the words you would never say. Maybe you respond with a diversion like checking your phone messages or the surrounding scenery. Chances are on your way anywhere in this life, whether literally on the road or just maneuvering along life's path, you are going to encounter unexpected road blocks, unplanned delays and various derailments for better or worse.Well I am here to share a few of my latest insights in light of recent road blocks and how I believe they are helping me redefine my definition of success.
Lesson 1: Look Up or "Are you talking to me? "
Personally, I have never REALLY had an animal speak to me, BUT if I did I, would like to think I might reconsider the direction I was travelling. When Baalam rides his donkey (Numbers 22) and is derailed, by an Angel no less, instead of contemplating the direction he is going he tries to plow on repeatedly until finally he realizes God himself is the creator of the road block standing between him and his gain. When we want to plow through obstacles, we really need to be clear that God isn't re-directing us for a reason, as in this case. Baalam's wrong motives, as well as choice, were completely out of the will of God. God deals mercifully with him despite it all. So lesson number one is all about looking up when something stands in your way. Check in and check yourself out before God. Maybe you are off track. He can get you back on the right path...or direct you to another.
Lesson 2: "Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."
I am not sure who said this, but it is a lesson that resonates strongly within me this year in light of recent personal circumstances. It just makes good sense. One of the biggest challenges we face as believers, living in an unfair world, is balancing our faith with common sense and practically living it out wherever God has us, often before an unbelieving world. Wisdom is needed and Wisdom is promised. But, sometimes we forget and get sucker punched...so we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and get on with it. Rose gardens are nice but begging your pardon, we are not promised a rose garden. (You know I have to include a random song that is triggered when I write).
Lesson 3: "Trust No-One"
Many years ago I was a fan of a TV program called The X-Files. The tag line of the show was "Trust No-One". Now this might seem extreme but I think we really have consider with whom we place our trust. One of my first Bible Teachers reminded me that in this life I will be let down and I will let other's down. That is reality. We live in a fallen world and we ourselves are prone to sin. Once we are spiritually born into the family of God we desire to walk in victory. But truth be told (and that is what I am here to do) I have fallen on my face as a Jesus loving, God fearing Christian despite my desire to shine for my King. I also have had some really nasty things done to me by those who claim His name. I have learned that GRACE is how we get here and GRACE is how we stay here. It is never by anything we can do or not do or muster up on our own. Heaven is the place for perfection. In the meantime we have to be careful to keep our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith and trust Him alone. It all comes back to Him ...and he will lead us to a few who might be trustworthy. Thank Him, stay focused on Him and recognize that trust is a fragile thing. Think eggshell. Be careful with where you place it and be careful to treat other's trust gently.
Lesson 4: Remember the Good
Sometimes, remembering the good isn't easy. But I promise you it can be done. Sometimes it takes time to heal or just time to allow more perspective. This is not about rose tinted glasses, but think of it as "Reality Training". Scripture tells us to bring every thought captive and under the authority of Christ. It exhorts us to dwell on that which is good and excellent. It reminds us that what we do not master will ultimately master us...past or present. We are not to be slaves to our past, but as God reveals truth to us we seek Him and bring our minds into full submission to Him. We train ourselves to remember the good. Focus on it in others and ourselves. Leave the rest to God. Leave behind that which is not useful to you. The fact is anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness can be traded for empowering emotions when brought into the light and transforming grace of God. We are not to repay evil for evil. We are to be excellent at what is good and innocent of evil. It takes training. It takes going to Jesus continually. It can be done. And when we feel we can't ...again we run to him in our need, failure, fear and doubt and He meets us there.
You never know where a road block might lead you ...it might just take you down a new path of discovery which brings you closer to God. I pray it does. So remember the next time you hit the ground running, ordering your life just so, heed the donkey, the angel or whatever God uses to block your way. You never know what catastrophe He may be keeping you from...or what blessing lies just around the bend, over the horizon, or beneath the surface!
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