"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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The Amazing Race

Imagine that you are sitting on a motorcycle at the entrance to a sprawling arboretum, filled with the most exotic flowers, verdant plants and magnificent trees that you have ever seen. Far and wide, the landscape is covered with vibrant colors, delicate blossoms, and lush foliage.

A walking path cuts through the center of the arboretum, making a direct line from the entrance to the exit, which is far off in the distance—much too far for you to see. Offshoots from the main path lead into different parts of the arboretum—shady areas perfect for lounging, ponds that are home to all types of fish and beautiful water fowl, and tall grasses that beckon you to run and play.

As you sit at the entrance to the arboretum, you lean forward on your motorcycle and rev the engine. Lifting both feet off the ground in one swift motion, you take off like a rocket, zooming straight along the center path toward the exit gate. You are driving so fast, your eyes fixated on the pavement ahead of you, that you don’t notice the flowers or the trees or the birds. You are scanning the horizon for the exit gate—you know it’s there—because somebody told you that just beyond the arboretum is a beautiful garden where you can see the most incredible flowers and trees and all manner of wildlife. You can relax and play there, and you will be happy.

So often, we find ourselves speeding through life, trying to get to the “next garden” as quickly as possible without taking the time to appreciate the place we are in. We’ve heard that just past the exit to this place is a better place—a bigger house, a better job, a more thoughtful spouse, a retirement condo on the beach—and we race to get there, our eyes fixated on the path ahead.

The distractions of this world only fuel our journey. We cruise on, powered by days of office drudgery and nights in front of the TV, without taking time to appreciate where we are. We ignore relationships, say we’re too busy to volunteer, postpone taking action on our personal goals, and cut short our prayer time (if we pray at all). We focus on “just getting through the day,” so that we can be one step closer to the promise of a better tomorrow.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Each of us is here for a purpose—you are here for a purpose. To know that purpose and walk out God’s plan for your life, you have to look at where He has you right now. Not where you want to be. Not where the grass is said to be greener. Not that goal off on the horizon, but where you are right now.

When we are driving full throttle along the walking path, cutting straight through life at lightning speed on our way to what we believe is a happier future, we miss the beauty of our surroundings. We fail to see the glorious garden in which God has put us in this very moment, or the side paths He is guiding us to follow for remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether your garden is the inner city streets of New York the open plains of Iowa—whether it’s in a comfortable suburban enclave or a cramped trailer park—it is full of the beauty of God’s creation. It is full of people.

I encourage you today to slow down and spend a few minutes with the Lord. Ask Him who you can lift up today, and how you can better appreciate the place that you are in. Turn off the TV, log out of Facebook, and put down your cell phone. Take a moment of pause, and ask Him to show you the beauty that is all around you. Even in the tough times, we are surrounded by the beauty of God’s grace. Every challenge presents an opportunity for growth. Every meeting presents an opportunity for connection. Every relationship presents an opportunity to express His love.

You are here for a reason. Don’t drive through life so fast that you miss it.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10


1 Lori Yeary { 11.08.11 at 11:05 am }

Such wise words – and a great reminder for me to slow down and appreciate those around me. That includes you, my friend. I love and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.

2 Anne S. { 11.08.11 at 11:06 am }

Beautifully written! Thank you for the reminder. God sure has been pounding this truth home these past couple of weeks.

3 Yvonne McCarthy { 11.08.11 at 12:10 pm }

As always…so beautifully written. It’s so much like thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. We keep finding a new fence and never get there. A beautiful post by a beautiful friend.

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