Skip to main content

Steadiness is about more than discipline

If your life is marked by 'fits and starts', but very few 'finished items', then you are probably not alone. In fact, more of us start things and never see them through to completion than you might imagine. We have closets with unfinished craft projects, crossword puzzles that never quite get that last clue answered, and ideas for improving processes at work that never make it off the drawing board. We are great at 'imagining' stuff, but the follow-through to get it completed is oftentimes lacking. One thing I have adjusted to as I have 'grown up' is the idea of this whole 'slow and steady' progress toward a goal. When I wanted to have a savings large enough to handle unforeseen emergencies, the process began with only a couple dollars here and then a couple more there, but it was in the consistent savings of those small amounts that I learned I could save even larger ones! Slow and steady isn't always the way we do things. Some of us jump in both feet first, as thought the water will be too cold and we'd never make it all the way in if we don't!

In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. Ephesians 4:2 MSG

As we think about what God is saying to believers in this passage, we might be tempted to hang our heads a little because we know we have been making fits and starts in this walk with him, but 'finishing' very little. Where there is a start, there is the potential for a finish or a stall. We can get across the finish line, giddy as all get out that we did, all the while not even looking back at the path we took to get there. When we do look back, we see what could have been a much shorter and straighter path became a pretty long and jagged path of twists and turns because of how we were running it! We were running and we made it across, but what a journey it took to get us there! Some would argue that the person who makes it across the finish line has done better than the one who is simply 'plodding along'. I might be tempted to argue that one out a little because a slow and steady progress in the right direction always outweighs having 'made it', but with very little consistency or integrity!

A couple of things mark this path of consistency. Most assuredly, the path is marked by a starting and finishing line, but it is also marked by milestones along the way. I don't think I have ever hiked a trail that didn't have some markers along it - at least not one I was confident would result in me reaching my destination safely! Those markers not only help to outline the path one is to follow, but they indicate where you are in the progress you are making. As you drive upon an American highway, you will observe these green and white signs along the roadside at various intervals. They may not be at every one mile mark, but when you observe them you will note they are either counting downward from the last point or upward toward the next one. Milestones mark out our path because they help us see how far we have traveled and if there is still any distance yet for us to travel, but they also keep us aware of being on the right path!

Why does this path of consistency require humility? I think it is because there are always going to be times when we need to ask for directions! We are bound to not know the next step to take, or how to find our way back on course when we haven't been paying close attention to the course we have taken. We need to be able to acknowledge our need for help when we aren't feeling like we can go on any longer - when the path seems a bit too steep or too 'unknown' to travel. Humility isn't for the weak of heart, my friends. In fact, it takes more fortitude and 'umph' to admit you are lost, or that you are wearing down in the journey than one might first admit. Yet, in so doing, we place ourselves at the mercy of someone else - either God, another who has traveled this way before, or both! We find we can muster up the energy for the next step when we are humble enough to admit we haven't been paying the right amount of attention to our present ones! Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean

Doubt isn't a bad thing

I would like for you to consider for a moment what this journalist was attempting to share in his words: " Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow ." (Ambrose Bierce) Have you ever doubted? Then it is suggested you were at least at the place of some form of belief. Have you ever considered what your doubt was attempting to reveal to you? Perhaps doubt is not a bad thing because it points us to consider the truth of a matter. Where doubt is - - - there truth is. It may be in the shadows, but it is there! We need only look a little closer and we will find truth has never been far from us.  The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate dow