Now listen to me, you that say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money.” You don’t even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this: “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.”James 4.13-15 (GNT)
During a friend’s recent visit and our conversation about work and life, she expressed her opinion about her life’s journey. She described her journey as a “bowl of spaghetti.” She went on to explain. From her perspective, “her experiences – her lines – were not straight, connected end-to-end, but intertwined, like spaghetti, too sticky, and impossible to unravel. But, with the right sauce, it was a great dish.” Interesting metaphor. But a familiar perspective.
In reality, it’s similar if we look at our lives in whole or parts. Not many can point to one strand, one straight line from point to point. Instead, our life journeys are laced with meanderings, side tracks, and detours—some straight lines. We started with a goal, a dream, a vision. Our end?
It is easy to see where we started. But, when life happens, things get mixed. We look back at where we are versus where we thought we would be. We reach some conclusions. Well, more of a reconciliation. Because our current reality and the path that led us here are likely not a series of straight lines, they are just like my friend described, events intertwined and sticky. The product of in-the-moment decisions. Choices we make based on present information or situations—regardless of motivation or accuracy. We may not agree with them or would choose that course now, but they were our choices.
We examine our personal “bowl of spaghetti” and possibly reach some conclusions. Well, at least two. First, we must come to terms with where we are. Because of and despite our detours, meanderings, and wandering, we are here—our present reality. And secondly, we need to reconcile, as did my friend, that “with the right sauce, it’s a good dish.” This broad statement likely does not apply to everyone. But there is a truth here.
When we look back and reconcile, we must resolve to act differently. We need to realize; we have a choice. We can continue to plan our lives – as we have in the past – and hope for a different outcome, or we can choose differently. That differently? Allow God to direct our paths. Why? Because our straight line is not His.
His line for our lives is true. It is good when God directs our paths, even if it looks like a bowl of spaghetti. (Ro. 8:28-30)
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