This morning, Jake and I were outside playing in the backyard, taking full advantage of the unseasonably cooler morning temperatures. I was sitting and enjoying my iced coffee while he toddled about the yard. As a new walker, I sit in the balance of letting him explore his new found independence while trying to keep him from smashing his face into the hard concrete. It can be difficult at times to allow him to hurt himself, knowing he won’t fully learn how to walk unless he knows how to fall. So I sat. Half relaxed and half ready to scoop him up at a moments notice. As Jake played, a bumblebee appeared. An intruder of our backyard haven. I jumped up ready to swat him away if he veered to close. Jake, on the other hand, was mesmerized. He was fascinated by this buzzing creature, a new addition to his tiny world. He watched in a trance until the bee got closer and then reached out with his chubby little hand. I immediately snatched him up. Perplexed, he writhed in my arms, trying to touch his new friend. I explained to him that this little bee, though cute, had a stinger and that if provoked, he would sting his little arm and it would hurt. But all Jake could see was something new and exciting… something he wanted to touch. In that moment, I realized that the next seventeen years will be filled with many moments just like that. Those moments will range from simple explanations of the dangers of a backyard bumblebee to life’s more complex subjects. And as I was lost in thought, I got a bit sad. The bee buzzed away in his quest for a flower and Jake went back to exploring the yard. But Jake’s little life had flashed before my eyes and the realization of his autonomy and free will hit me like a load of bricks. He won’t be a toddler forever (I’ve already accepted that). But the many life lessons yet to come seemed daunting. As his parents, we are tasked to train him and equip him. To get him ready for the big wide world beyond the backyard. We can have great conversations. Give him sage wisdom and deep insights learned from our own lives but, ultimately, the choice to apply that wisdom is up to him. We have no control over his life choices and, if I’m honest, that can be a hard pill to swallow at times. At the end of the day, Jake is a sinner just like me. He will be faced with moral quandaries and tough choices. He will be tempted by all the bumblebees of the world and will probably get stung more than once as he grows into the man he wants to be. Just as I can’t catch Jake every time he falls now, I have to allow him to make his own mistakes and learn his own lessons. The next seventeen years will be full of joy and probably some pain but thats how we grow. But for now, I choose to soak up our backyard adventures, watching my little person take his first steps in the wonderful journey we call life.
Today I found out that the reason I didn’t get a job was because I am petite and look too young. I was told despite being highly qualified and having the best references and recommendations from current employees, my stature was a deal killer. And you know what? That’s life.
We Americans teach our children from day one that they are special and that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. In school we saw posters with corny inspirational sayings like, “shoot for the moon and if you’ll miss, you’ll land among the stars”. At my high school graduation ceremony, everyone was given a medal just because they graduated so as to make sure no one was left out. All these things were done out of good intentions. Parents love their kids and don’t want them to be disappointed or have their dreams crushed. They want to prolong the brutality of realty for as long as possible. But hey, life isn’t like the Disney Channel. We are not all going to be the main character who gets everything handed to them. You’ve got to work for things in this life. At least, the things thats matter. So yes, I do look young. I am frequently carded at movie theaters and am often asked which middle school I attend. And yes, I am petite. So with my powers combined, I may not be the most likely choice to meet your clients. I actually understand that. It makes logical sense. So despite my frustrations, I find myself thankful for the way God made me. He made me with a purpose in mind. I am an intricate part of His grand plan, as are YOU (Jeremiah 29:11). He knit everyone of us in our mother’s womb, hair by hair, skin cell by skin cell (Psalm 139). He made me petite, He made me youthful, He made me smart, and He made me talented.
So maybe I’m not the best fit for some jobs. I won’t necesarily get what I think I deserve in life. Or maybe I’m going to be the Doogie Howser of real estate. Only God knows. And you know what? I’m ok with that.
As I’ve gotten older, I have begun to realize that life is kind of like a road trip. We are all driving down the road toward our ultimate destination: God’s plan for us. Like most road trips, its a long journey. For some of us its a family road trip, full of people who care about you but can get annoying after the nth rendition of “She’ll be Coming ‘Round The Mountain”. Never the less, God has given us family, or your college roommate, or the nameless “road trip buddy” to help us as we speed toward our destination. For others, we may be making the long haul alone. Our cars may look different, just like our lives. Some may be blessed with an escalade while others are hitchhiking their way. Either way, God has given us great directions (AKA the Bible) to help us get where we’re going. And like most situations, it is important (and necessary) to ask for directions if you get lost. I don’t know how many times I’ve needed 3rd party advice on decisions I needed to make. There is no shame is taking a pit stop now and again to refresh, refuel, and rethink your path. Always makes sure you’ve got either trustworthy passengers with you or trustworthy gas station attendants.
Now, I’m always trying to figure out exactly what God is thinking (I should really just stop trying and start trusting… working on that). I’ve devised a couple sure-fire tips for reading God’s mind while your on “Life’s Road Trip”:
- When God gives you a road block, He is saying their is a better way to get to where you’re going. Either you were headed down the wrong road completely or God knows there is a better route.
- When God gives you traffic, He is telling you to be patient. Enjoy the view. You’ll get there eventually.
- When God gives you a flat tire, He is giving you an opportunity to call on Him for assistance. Think of it as an opportunity to better equip yourself for the days to come.
- Lastly, singing makes the trip go by faster. We’ve been given this life for a reason. Each person has a purpose even though we may not not what that purpose is. But if you take the time to thank the Lord for your blessings, and even your curses, Life becomes more enjoyable. Whether you worship God through song, through art, or through business, use your talents to show your thankfulness and others His glory.