Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3: 5.6 (NIV)
Here’s the picture.
It could only be described as a Winnie the Pooh kind of day, blustery and uncertain. Pulling your cap tight against the ever increasing and penetrating wind, you remember a quick peek at the thermometer earlier that morning revealed a numbing 39 degrees. You’re standing in the fairway, 180 yards away from a narrow elevated green sloping from back to front and guarded on the front and left by water and on the back and right by yawning revetted bunkers.
A slightly errant tee-shot came to rest on the far left side of the fairway—the right side was the intended outcome—now requiring an approach shot which must be navigated around a majestic oak tree standing invitingly, with open arms, in your direct line of flight. Too much navigation will bring the water on the left and front into play; too little, the sand-filled canyons on the right. Although still in the freshly manicured fairway, the ball has come to rest in a sand-filled divot. The goal, the cup, is precariously cut in the front left corner of the green, which you now notice is holding a flagstick displaying a flag seemingly starched straight by the steady gale blowing from left-to-right.
Years ago I would have surveyed that scene with only one acceptable outcome in mind—with the ball landing softly on the green and rolling slowly and directly into the cup or at least as close as possible. Only one outcome would have been acceptable. Today, my intention is the same, my desire is as intense, my goal is as clear, my planning and preparation as complete, and yours too I would guess.
But before making that shot may I suggest you invoke what a good friend describes as the NATO principle. That is, you are “not attached to outcome.” The result—you will find joy in the journey. A journey of endless possibilities and paths to the same or similar outcomes. Or a journey perhaps of a different outcome than that for which you had planned altogether. A journey in which you begin to notice all the blessings around you, as you plan the shot and walk the 180 yards to the green, and as you live each moment of each day He has laid before you.
I’ll bet you’ve already planned your “shots” for the week. Schedule set. People to see. Calls to make. Meetings to attend. Goals in place. Outcomes assured, right? Uncertainty has now been made certain? You feel pretty secure? No worry, trepidation, gnawing anxiety, increased pulse-rate or muscle freezing fear remains, all because of your painstaking planning. Right?
I wonder how far back in your memory you have to go to find that moment when all of your best laid plans didn’t work out as you had envisioned. How far back do you have to go to remember the water hazards, “pot” bunkers, blowing winds and frigid temperatures you hadn’t planned for when you woke up that morning. Perhaps you confronted a lingering illness, a friend in distress, a job that took an unexpected turn, a child that just couldn’t seem to find their way in life, or a relationship stretched to the breaking point. If you’re experience is as most of us—you don’t have to look to far to find that day when all you had perfectly planned out—didn’t quite happen as planned.
Planning for tomorrow by using the gifts and abilities He has given each of us is required, necessary and important. But the outcomes of tomorrow, which we plan for today, are as certain as any of us holing out that shot described earlier. The only thing certain about tomorrow is that He will be there to journey with us.
And that’s where our security for living comes from—not in knowing the outcome, not in storing up material wealth, not in planning for every possibility—but in going on the journey with Him. Security in knowing that no matter the unexpected twists and turns, we will be fine because we face them with a God Who wants the best for us. We face them with a God Who’s plan for us is to become all He created us to be, leaning on His infinite wisdom not our own. And the outcomes of tomorrow, although uncertain, with Him, become limitless possibilities with boundless opportunities for living a life which is exciting, energizing, stretching, and abundant, and full of unimaginable blessings only He can plan for us.
May I suggest a crisply struck six (6) iron imparting a gentle draw on the ball into the holding left-to-right wind around the sentinel oak and gently landing on the front edge of the green? It rolled off the front slope and into the water? Not the outcome I intended. My mistake. Probably should have hit a five (5) iron.
But did you notice the mother duck and her five babies paddling their way through the now rippling pond?
They’re a part of the journey with Him. It’s all about the journey.
Thank you Lord.
In His Name–Scott