Leftover Mess


Proverbs 16:9New Living Translation (NLT)

9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

One morning, not too long ago,  I took leftover pot roast, rice, and carrots to work for lunch in the oblong glass dish with the blue top.  The top is not a snap lock and is merely a friction fit, which over time has worked its way loose.

When I typically transport lunch in my insulated lunch bag, if the container does not snap, I set it in so that I must carry the lunch bag horizontally.  Otherwise, I just strap it onto my satchel and it hangs vertically.

Before leaving the house, I'd taken great care to transport the delicious contents to the car, and had set it on the floorboard for the twenty minute ride to work.  

During the ride, life and its accompanying distractions made their claim on the priorities of my mind.  Before exiting the car upon arrival at work, I strapped the lunch bag onto my satchel and began walking toward the office.

After about twenty seconds, I realized what I had done, so I immediately corrected the orientation of the lunch bag, and carried it like a tray the rest of the way in.

I knew that when I got to my desk, and unzipped the lunch bag pocket, I'd find a juicy mess. Yet, I hoped that by some miracle, it had not leaked inside the pocket.

Of course, when I got to my desk, it was just as expected, and I spent the next twenty minutes cleaning the inside of the lunch bag, as well as all the other contents that were along for the ride.

What a mess! 

However, there was one redeeming aspect to this otherwise annoying experience.  It was immediately brought to my mind that this mess illustrated what happens when we get ahead of God's will for our lives.


Have you ever felt like you were walking right down the fairway of God's will? You're certain that God has put you on course towards the next destination on your journey with Him.

Then life happens, and instead of pursuing God's plan for us (by staying in constant communication with Him through prayer and the reading of His Word), we simply get complacent. We think we know the destination, and figure we'll eventually get there if we simply keep walking (that might be a "man" thing, but for the sake of illustration...).

We get comfortable with our day-to-day routine of our new path, and before we realize,  we are veering off into another venture.  Or worse, we begin accelerating our action, thinking if we work harder towards the goal that God has placed before us, we will succeed more quickly. 

How ludicrous is it that we think we can accomplish something quicker than what God has planned (than what he has preordained)?


Proverbs 16:9 tells us, "we make our plans, but (it is) the Lord (that) determines our steps".  Yet, we seem to always get it backwards.  We think the Lord determines the course (or destination), but we plan our steps...and we are wrong!

God seeks everyday communication (communion) with us (His creation).

It is important to have a continual conversation with God. My grandmother taught me that from a young age.

"You can talk to God all day long.  If you get a good parking spot at the grocery store, tell God thank you."              
 - Emily Theola "Mema" (Humphries) Ammons

If you and your best friend were riding on a cross-country trip, and he was navigating from the passenger seat with a map (not a gps), would you ignore him for the last 3/4 of the trip? No.

And if your friend noticed that you made a wrong turn, and was attempting to turn the radio down so that he could inform you of your mistake and suggest a course correction, would you turn the radio back up and say,"I love this part!". Maybe, but even a good friend would eventually turn the radio off and tell you what you needed to hear.

And, there you go.

Going Forward:

When I pray the Lord's prayer, I often pray "...and lead us not to the point of trial that you would require to get our attention..."

Lord don't let us drive to the end of this road, only to discover a "road closed" sign. If we have to turn around after traveling so far, we'll certainly run out of gas and be in a mess, trying to get back on the right track.

And now back to the messy lunch bag analogy...

We set out with the knowledge that our steps must be taken with certain provisions in mind (we must keep the leftover dish inside our lunch bag in the upright position).

When we get distracted, or forget what we decided when we set out, we'll often create a real mess for ourselves.  We need to continually remind ourselves of the most important detail, which is the goal of what we are trying to accomplish (getting that pot roast into the fridge at work without spilling any of it along the way due to carelessness).

When God blesses us with an opportunity to serve Him, let's continually remind ourselves of the goal of serving Him.  

He knows the way, and will determine our steps.  We'll receive peaceful instruction via God's Holy Spirit, if we seek His guidance each day before setting out.

And, perhaps more to the point of my journey, and the struggles reflected in this blog, let's not be so quick to expand upon the opportunity that God has put before us.   In choosing to pursue other things that we may be interested in, or that seem (to us) to fit into God's plan, we may begin walking ahead of (or worse,  away from) God's will.

I've chosen to start Parallelables, because I felt called into service by our Lord.

In the process of learning how to start a blog however,  the entrepreneur in me wants to blog about several other subjects alongside. Meanwhile, parallelables are still sitting in "rough draft purgatory".

This doesn't mean we can't do lots of things for God. It means, we should test everything we do through the filter of "is this what God would have me to be doing right now?"  Or put another way, by one of my new favorite preachers (Pastor Brian Biggers - The Lamb's Chapel in Haw River, NC), "Is this flesh or is this Spirit?" 

So, talk to God often...every day. Ask him to guide and direct your steps. The closer you get to Him, the more clearly you'll be able to hear His voice, when He let's you know you've veered off track. 

Thank you Lord for always being close to us. You've said that you will never leave us nor forsake us, and we're gonna hold you to it, by checking in every day to see what you have to say.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for visiting the #Parallelables Blog, and reading "Leftover Mess". Feel free to let me know what you thought about it, by leaving a comment.

    If you have the time, you might enjoy reading some of the other posts linked below.

    Hope to catch you back here soon.