I was blessed to be a visitor in the Queen City last week for my sorority’s international conference. The city was gorgeously painted in our signature pink and green colors. Our events were primarily held in what is referred to as the Uptown area, whereby many of the streets run in one direction. This was not surprising to me. I originally hail from the city of Chicago, where one way streets downtown are quite common as well. However, as I rode in the car with two of my sorority sisters looking for a parking garage we noticed something odd. We approached a red light and subsequently came to a stop. As we sat waiting for the light to turn green and make a turn to get back to the area where we felt we needed to be (nearer to our venue), we realized that we could neither make a left nor right turn. There was signage on both sides of the street displaying the proof. I’d never seen such. In that moment, we were presented with two options. Either remain where we were, or go straight ahead. Immediately I said, “Now that could preach.” That is certainly not my intention (nor my calling), but because I do “praxis” I resolved to explore the connection and applicability.
Recently in a conversation with a friend, she shared she is now over 50 and does not intend to spend the second half of her life giving energy to things that do not matter. I am nearing the second half of my life, but I believe there is a lesson for each of us, no matter our age. There will be distraction. As believers, we see a perfect example in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were surrounded by beauty and everything they needed, and yet they were distracted so much so that they made a decision that altered their entire trajectory. On this journey, there are countless opportunities to get off track to what God has purposed you to do.
On the street in uptown Charlotte, we were not permitted to veer. In life, we are. Yet, we can decidedly make the difference. We have free will to option out of the path God has provided, but there is a potential for destruction. Had we elected to turn either right or left, there are much worse consequences that might have occurred besides a ticket. Our lives and the lives of others driving, walking, biking, etc., could have been endangered. The same is true for electing to be deliberately disobedient or even contagiously curious and disengage to what the Holy Spirit has commanded or what has been divinely ordered for your good. Just like driving, we must pay attention. We cannot afford to allow the distractions of life to take up residence in our spirit.
Understandably so, following the path God has instructed is not an easy selection. Daily I must choose to keep this flesh under subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27). Without God, this is impossible. Without God, our lives will be a constant rotation reflecting improper moving violations. To get the maximum utility of what we have access to, what has been purposed for us and what is our designed destiny we must choose to follow the wisdom exemplified in Proverbs 3:6, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.” As a child in church, my Pastor, Rev. F.D. Johnson, would state this scripture, with the addendum, “not in part, but in all thy ways.” Until I was older, I really believed that his liberty was a component of the verse. In actuality, its not, but in practice, Rev. Johnson was on point. As sinners saved by grace, we often like to dissect the portion we desire and discard the rest by resting on the “God knows my heart” trump card. That may work temporarily, but such thinking will not get us where we need to be in the state that God needs. We will sustain wounds along this journey but self-inflicted wounds are not cute and much more difficult to heal. Detours while driving may navigate you around obstacles, but detours from God will result in insurmountable damage. As I’ve heard, he is the God of 2nd, 3rd, 99th, one million, infinity chances. However, as we build relationship with him, we should attempt not to dishonor his love for us by doing what we want instead of what he commanded. Is it easy? Not all the time. Yet as I see the fruit of trusting him, I am compelled more and more to try his path, the one of least resistance as opposed to mine. Prayer is our constant opportunity to receive assurance, peace, affirmation, endurance and belongingness to the one who understands us, our needs, our weaknesses and our opportunities for greatness. As we travel let us allow our Creator to take the wheel to get us to where we need to be. No shortcuts necessary. After all, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Forget the turns. They just get in the way.
Allow this song to minister to you. It affirms staying the course: