This guest post comes from Teronya Holmes of Tennessee, mother of two active boys and wife to her husband of nearly three decades. Teronya loves her many roles which include mom and writer, volunteering, and her other varied passions which include travel, hiking, skiing, kayaking, biking, reading, and photography.
Wondering, how many of us have settled for something “less than” what God has planned for us because the road got a little too bumpy along the way?
And by less, I don’t necessarily mean “less money, fame, fortune, success, etc…”, because that may actually be the path of least resistance for some, and very often is NOT the path the Lord intended for us.
“Settling for something less” might really mean TAKING the path of attempting to earn more money, fame, fortune, success…because the path of abandoning all for God is often too difficult.
I know – this goes against all the other “you can do it” social media posts and podcasts and videos that are out there, constantly trying to motivate us to achieve, and usually attempting to make money off of us in the process.
But I’m wondering – how many of us settle for following the path that leads to worldly success because it is easier than going against the grain of society?
It really is easier to just go after that big money-making career than to try to explain to family and friends why you’re going to the mission field after spending all that money on a college education.
In my experience, it was always easiest to explain to others why I couldn’t be involved in something when I had an actual J-O-B and my paycheck was dependent upon me being totally involved in my career. “Just” being a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t usually elicit sympathy when I try to explain why I can’t be available to chair some project or volunteer for something. This is just my personal experience – not saying that it’s true for everyone.
But in this world, it does seem easier to be fully vested in a career than in your family or the Church.
It seems easier to invest your money in schemes and ventures to earn more money, than to spend it on those in need and explain why you don’t have much to “show” for your hard work.
It seems easier to buy the flashy cars, clothes, homes, and things to prove to others you’ve “made it” than to give it all away to “those people” who are in need, but most of society judges to be “lazy” or “undeserving”.
And there is a flip side, too, to be sure. Settling for something less might also mean abandoning the path that God chose for you because it seems too difficult, to heavy a burden to bear. Not many people want to feel that they have to give up the comforts of life to go serve others in a third world country, or open their homes to widows and orphans, or sacrifice their lives in war-torn regions of the world.
Many of us have the desire to follow God’s plan for our lives, but we don’t have the courage to see it through.
My devotion this morning reminded me of a fantastic movie I watched years ago, “The Right Stuff”. Have you seen it? It’s about the Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots who were involved in aeronautical research at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as well as the Mercury Seven, the seven military pilots who were selected to be the astronauts for Project Mercury, the first manned spaceflight by the United States.
The guys chosen for Project Mercury were what you might term guys with swagger. The “big men on campus”, so to speak. They had it all – beautiful wives and girlfriends, money, fast cars, status. And they became globally famous and American heroes when they became the first astronauts.
I mean, who would turn that gig down, right?
But there was one guy, one of the best pilots whose name was Chuck Yeager, who turned down that opportunity to become one of the first astronauts. Instead, he opted to stay back on Edwards Air Force Base and chase down his original mission – to fly fast enough to break the sound barrier.
Up to this point, pilot after pilot had attempted that feat, but it was deemed impossible to achieve in the aircraft available at that time.
The closer they would get to breaking the barrier, the more turbulence they would encounter. Shock waves would shake the aircraft violently, often to the point that the pilot would lose control, and even black out. The aircraft itself could not withstand the intense vibration, and would often spiral into a deadly descent. Pilots would have to eject themselves, if they hadn’t blacked out, and parachute to safety.
SPOILER ALERT: if you don’t want to know the ending of the movie, skip these next two paragraphs.
The movie ends, however, with Chuck Yeager pushing himself to the limits, enduring the shuddering and shaking and turbulence and loss of oxygen….and breaking the sound barrier. He finally achieves the mission for which he was intended.
And his experience after breaking it is that the turbulence and shock waves disappeared. The plane flew on without so much as a tiny bump. It was the proverbial “smooth sailing”, off into “the wild blue yonder”.
What a feeling that must have been!
Meanwhile, the seven astronauts were discovering that their fame and fortune wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and they found themselves envying the man who had stayed behind to remain true to his original purpose and dreams.
And so it goes for many of us.
Often, I find myself wondering what it would have been like if I had striven to achieve some of the original goals that I had set for myself long ago – like becoming a doctor, or a theologian, or a famous writer. And I find myself wondering daily whether or not I should attempt to go back after a career that will give me money, status, and prestige after all of these years of staying home with boys and being the homemaker and “mom taxi” – definitely nothing glamorous going on in my daily life!
To be honest, I’m not sure what the Lord has planned for me in the future. I’m nearing 50, and I often feel that my usefulness is past its prime and the windows of opportunity are closing fast.
However, I am learning each and every day to be content to follow the path the Lord has for me. And it is often bumpy and full of turbulence, I won’t deny it. I struggle daily with my own personal “sound barriers”.
But I do know this…
If I am abiding in the Lord, if I am spending time with Him every day, and seeking Him first, before ALL else, He WILL reveal His plan to me…
…maybe not all at once.
Maybe it comes slowly, in pieces and parts…
Maybe I’ll never really see the “end fruit” of it all…
But He will get me through the turbulence, the shaking, the bumps along the way….things like doubt, illness, financial uncertainty, the pain of loss, the uncomfortable and painful moments of embarrassment and feeling “less than”… all of it.
And there WILL be a break through – a time when the seeking and striving and turbulence and shock waves finally disappear and I get to experience the thrill of the “wild blue yonder”.
I know that trusting the Lord, which sometimes looks like “settling” for what the world deems as “less”…but what is actually the plan that God intends for me, is worth it all.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12: 1-2