Follow or Lead

Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise to do everything you say. I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as you promised. When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed. I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet, was quick to follow your orders. The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out— but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me. I get up in the middle of the night to thank you; your decisions are so right, so true—I can’t wait till morning! I’m a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules. Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by your counsel. (Psalm 119:60)

A long, careful look - more than a casual, once a week relationship with God - it takes us stopping long enough to take that look. We have to stop what we are doing - what we are deciding to do on our own - to really listen. It means we have to stop trying to figure things out on our own and lean into Jesus long enough and often enough to get our feet firmly planted on the trail God has blazed for us. 

What does 'feet back on the trail' really suggest? We don't need to get back on a trail unless we have somehow veered from the trail. If you have ever gone off a trail to bump along on where there is no trail, you know how likely you are to encounter things that bump up against you, presenting all manner of obstacles to your successful passage. Some of us have 'blazed' a few trails on our own, only to find those trails have left us way off-course. 

It often takes a long, careful look back at the trail God has laid out for us to remind us how difficult the trail we are blazing on our own really has become. We find ourselves hemmed in, surrounded by things that limit our progress forward - we may even feel like there is no way out of our present circumstances. A long look - attentiveness. A careful look - intent. This is what gets us back on our feet - not self-will, self-determination, or self-anything.

At the end of a rough trail we usually come to the realization that God's decisions - his plans for our lives - are the best. They are the most trust-worthy and reliable. How do we get to know his plans again if we have stepped off the trail he has prepared? We turn around and let him place our feet on that trail again. We don't get to that trail on our own - he brings us back and trains us how to stay attentive to the right path once again. 

We might think we find our own way back, but the truth is that God never let us get out of his sight. He guides us back at the point we are ready to return. Today you may find yourself on a path you didn't really think you would ever be on, but God isn't far away. He is right there waiting for you to call out - to seek to return to the path he has blazed - the one he has specifically prepared for you. Call out, get on your knees, seek his face - be open to being trained to follow and to no longer lead. Just sayin!

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