We live on a country road on the outskirts of a small town. There are two ways to enter our village from our side of town, but both present several obstacles for cyclists like my husband and me.
One entrance has a STOP sign that is habitually ignored by the motorists, many of whom pay no attention whatsoever to the right-of-way rules. Many folks use this road as a shortcut and don’t realize that there are narrow stretches, pedestrians shopping at roadside stalls, and lowly cyclists on our way to town.
“The Man Who Planted Trees,” by Jean Giono, is the allegorical tale of Elzéard Bouffier, a humble shepherd who single-handedly transformed a barren region of southern France by planting nuts as he watched his sheep graze on a different hillside each day. It also inspired the motto that appears on the cover of each issue of Activated: “Change your life. Change your world.”
In my quest to accomplish some of my goals and turn my dreams into reality, I’m currently in a position where things ahead seem quite bleak. There is little I can do to make progress on my own, and I can’t really see much farther up the path.
I’m learning how important it is to enjoy the journey and not just be enthused with the final destination. The destination does define the journey, and of course, is very important. But we often spend much more time traveling than we do enjoying the final goal, so it’s wise to learn to appreciate the day-by-day things more.
On a rare day that I actually had a bit of time to do some organizing, I came to a realization about myself (not the most impressive one): I have a lot of “unfinished business,” at least to do with personal projects. When I receive work with a deadline, I strive to accomplish that in a timely fashion. Because someone is counting on me, I don’t want to disappoint them by being tardy.
God, teach me to be patient;
Teach me to go slow.
Teach me how to wait on You
When my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance
When things do not go right,
So I remain unruffled
When others grow uptight.
Not long ago, when we checked our credit card statement after buying an airline ticket, we discovered that the airline had charged us twice. We contacted the airline in the hope of correcting the error right away to avoid the charge and interest that it would incur. After three futile and time-consuming phone calls to the company’s call center, we felt irritated and helpless. Then we called our bank and were advised to block the credit card until we could find a solution.
Today would have been my daughter Rejoice’s birthday. It’s our custom to celebrate this day every year since she passed away by remembering some of the special moments she shared with us.
This year, mine is the orchid story.
I want you to live a meaningful life—one that both you and I will be proud of. You are the one who is ultimately responsible for your life, the one who must make the right choices that will lead you to the right places, but you can commit your ways to Me and ask Me to direct your paths. Then, through the decisions that you and I make together, you can be confident that your life is following a good path.
Are you faced with options, choices, and decisions, but you don’t have any idea which direction to take? You know you want to move in the direction God is leading, but the problem is you don’t know which direction that is. You’re floundering, not knowing where to go, what to do, or how to do it. You can’t see far enough ahead to know what the outcome of each choice will be. Very few things can be decided on their own, and many factors have to be considered in making each single decision.