One of my favorite things to do is order things. Food, clothes, shoes, household supplies, gifts. You name it. I love ordering it.
Of course, as the mother of a toddler, I love the convenience of it. I can sit at the computer -- in my pajamas and with Michaela in my lap, no less -- and order her summer clothes in a tenth of the time it would take me to get across town to the mall, fighting traffic and my urge to get a million other things I don't really need and dragging a 3-year-old.
Beyond that, I love the excitement of waiting on a package and opening a package of goodies from hundreds of miles away.
Sometimes, I'm disappointed. The color or the size isn't quite right, the discount wasn't applied or something is missing. But most companies have a decent return policy and I can fix the issues with a quick call to customer service.
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This week, my good friend and my hubby's spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jim Whittington, made me think about ordering in a whole new, spiritual way. During his sermon at a special service in downtown Atlanta, he talked about a scripture that I've heard many times but never really thought much about.
Psalms 133: 119: Order my steps in your word.
In this verse, David is asking God to guide him as he walks though life, dodging deadly pitfalls and learning to trust in God. He invites God to steer him in the right direction, to lay a clear path before him.
But it's interesting how he puts it: ORDER my steps, he says.
That means: "Lord, I don't know what's on the menu for me. In fact, I don't care. I just want you to place an order on my behalf and help me to accept it and move on."
I've heard of people who let their dates or spouses order for them. Sometimes, Michael might order my drink for me if I have to run to the restroom or if I'm busy getting Michaela settled, but usually he orders water when I want lemonade or lemonade when I want water.
Rarely would I ever let someone order something significant on my behalf. Heck, sometimes I even walk around the restaurant to see if I see someone with the dish I want to order to make sure it looks good. Or I might even call a customer service line to make sure I know the exact dimensions of a product.
But I am learning that when it comes to my life, I have to trust God enough to let him do the ordering. I have to place my life in his hands. I can tell him what I want, but I still have to leave it up to him.
It's not easy, but it should be. When I look forward, my path seems so crooked, so overgrown with doubt and challenges. There are forks in the road, and I have no clue which way to go. There are people on either side of the path giving me advice about what to do, but often their advice is confusing or flat-out wrong. I wonder how in the world I will make it through the test and trails and pitfalls along the way, and I wonder what challenges are just beyond the bend. It's like traveling in the desert with no map, no campus, no GPS.
But when I look back, I realize that the path is straight, at least at the times in my life when I let God lead me. Somehow, the crooked places are straight, the overgrowth is cleared, the dark places are filled with sunshine, the muddy places are dry and the potholes are filled.
A good example is when I got laid off from an awesome job at the Lexington Herald-Leader. I was devastated. I was angry. I questioned God. I was bitter. I though that journalism was my career path, that I would always have a good job and make decent money. But that wasn't what God ordered. He ordered a different path, one that included me being a stay-at-home mom, going back to school and doing some totally different with my talent. Every day, the path is clearer, but he still keeps the map out of my reach. He wants me to trust him.
Life is like a puzzle with no picture to use as a guide. There are all these pieces and you have no clue where to put them. But when we let God order our steps, it all comes together.