Keep Your Eyes on the Yellow Brick Road

Keep Your Eyes on the Yellow Brick Road

If you’re anything like me, you’d much rather focus on the Emerald City than the Yellow Brick Road.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and keeping them in mind, or fixing our hope on something we’re praying and believing for, but in the end, if we are so focused on our unfilled desires, we may end up mismanaging our current assignment. Or missing the glory of NOW.

I’ve been camping right there for months. Waiting.

Heck – truth be told, I’ve been waiting 29 years.  Strangled, in some ways, from relishing today. Why I ask myself, do I feel so shut down and dry – like the leaves that collect in the corners of my yard after Florida’s January autumn season?

The answer comes, as it often does, when I notice something that’s right under my nose.  I fold the lavender-scented clothes from the dryer (love those dryer balls!) and something pink floats past the window. I venture outside to see what it is and there’s this year’s pink tabebuia in full bloom. When did that happen? images

It’s the old money metaphor about yesterday being spent cash, tomorrow being a promissory note, but today being ready cash, which is more or less true. The problem is, we’ve all been living on credit for so long it’s hard to live on a cash basis only. But I wonder how much I’m missing because of it.

It would be easy for me to focus on the coming day when Dori’s cancer is gone and Texas is free to move forward with plans to finish our book, welcome her new grandchild, and live her life. As a mother, where they are in life impacts me. Every day. But when I do that, I miss the pink tab in full bloom and the burning bushes that line the yellow brick road.

Whenever I allow myself to fall into a bored, tired-of-waiting, when-are-things-going-to-change mode, I become vulnerable to my besetting sins: shopping or eating. These are things I do to make myself feel better. Or moving the furniture (there’s only so many arrangements in this small house).

What do you do? How do you handle the messy middle? Those long days of endless waiting or the past you cannot change – yesterday’s has beens?

Sometimes I get bitter or emotionally discouraged over the delays. That’s far more dangerous to my heart, something I’m told to guard against in Proverbs.

 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts. ~Proverbs 4:23 MSG

The opposite focus is as derailing. I’ll just keep my eyes on my hopes and dreams and sit back and wait.  The Emerald City will show up sooner or later.

Each morning I wake up to the life I’m called to live today – smack dab between the already and the not yet. And so do you. We can struggle with a past and whip ourselves over what might have been. Or we may be so attuned to what we’re waiting for that today loses it’s shine. That’s a credit card we need to cut in half.

IMG_2462I refuse to miss the absolute glory of this present moment. The one we get to spend just once. To notice the splendor of blooms falling like pink snow in my my back yard or to relish the clean scent of fresh laundry, to remember to be thankful for Sunday’s sermon reminding me that daily surrender to this moment is a spiritual act of worship, to smile when Bob comes home from work and give him a hug.

I want this time of waiting to be active – leaning into Jesus, learning to hear His voice–not only in my Bible but in myriads of other details that surround each beautiful day.

The yellow brick road is the path that is set before me. It’s today’s part of the race I’m called to run.

Father, my heart’s desire is to run this path with patience, endurance, and always joy. Even when nothing changes, answers seem slower than usual, and time creeps by. You are right here, right now, and that makes today a magnificent journey. Traveling with You makes the ordinary extraordinary. Thank you for the amazing power that is at work in and around me because of Your Spirit. Let me seize this beautiful day and live it fully for the sake of your kingdom.

 

 

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Comments

  1. These are indeed the ‘end times’ It is how we were intended to live. Thanks for a beautiful post.

  2. Love your blog notes. I am reminded of so many times in my life that living was so ‘daily’ with no excitement and nothing on the horizon. I called it my ‘tunnel’ time. Over the years I grew use to the darkness until one day I was reminded to look out the window, as you said. Giving three thanksgivings a day on my blog has helped so much. Today, all I can think of is today because there is so much on my plate. That will vanish in time. Yet, my three daily ‘eucharisteos’ (thanks to Ann Voskamp’s encouragement . . . and yours) will keep me in God’s precious present, I pray, for a long time.

  3. My messy middle consists of moping, sitting, eating, pity parties. You have written a sweet reminder to move forward, that I’m not stuck (although it certainly seems like it), to change my focus (again) and be ever so thankful for the life my Lord has given me. Thanks for the nudge, Cathee! My day has brightened because of it!

  4. YES! Even in the valley of the shadow of death. Keep believing, Cathee. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  5. I didn’t think I was waiting, I thought I had moved on, UNTIL I read your blog today. Cathee thanks so much for the loving nudge and warm smile. God Bless…
    Barbara

  6. I’m adding an excerpt from this incredible book that I typed out for my personal reminding…hope you enjoy

    Falling Down and Getting Up – p125 The Exquisite Risk by Mark Nepo

    Where you stumble and fall,
    there you discover gold. – Joseph Campbell

    When medieval monks were asked how they practiced their faith, they would often reply, “By falling down and getting up.” And there you have the whole muddled mess of being human. Over and over, this very humbling sequence returns us to the earth, to the humus, to the soil. Try as we will to escape or transcend the imperfections of being a spirit on earth, it is through this wonderful friction that we come to know God.
    How we think about this matters. For falling down is not about failure, but about experiencing as man of life’s positions as possible. It is how we learn. And getting up is not about vanquishing or conquering an opponent or circumstance, but about not getting stuck in one of life’s innumerable valleys. The truth is that we can’t avoid falling down and getting up, any more than we can avoid forgetting and remembering. It is how we integrate, one experience at a time, our human with our being.
    Falling down is frequently an opportunity for transformation. As Rob Lehman suggests, falling down and getting up is our way of becoming conscious. It is how we aim and miss and lean into the difference. Too often, we are distracted by a self-loathing of that difference, of the gap between what we want and who we are. We regret not being perfect and this painfully stalls us. Yet each time we aim and miss, each time we fall down and get up, it is the plunge and reach of a swimmer’s stroke that moves us through the water. There is no other way to swim.
    Still, we distract ourselves terribly with the blame game. For sure, there are many ways to fall down, but it only inflames out petty nature to keep score as to who trips or pushes us. This only cultivates a victim’s worldview. Rather, it helps to understand the different ways we are apt to fall, in the same way we might understand the conditions of geology, so we can know the faults and schisms of this life.

    ….Of course, we don’t need to search for ways to fall. The harder practice is getting up. And these stories hold a secret about getting up: that however we may fall, there is this voice that speaks beneath our pain ever so quickly, and if we can hear it and believe it, it will show us a way to get up and re-enter life. This courage to hear and embody what we hear opens us to a more startling secret: that the best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets in the way, until it ceases to be an obstacle.

    • Oh thank you for this, Clare. It is wonderfully written and rings true like a crystal bell. We hate the weakness we see in ourselves, but so often that very weakness leads us directly to our greatest strength. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for the beautiful devotional, Cathee. The nugget that I received from it, was to live each day fully. Don’t focus on the past or the future. There is much splendor to behold each and every day that the good Lord has given us, and much good that we can do each day to bring glory to His Name.

  8. I’ve often thought of life as driving. Twice a day I find myself hurtling up and then down the interstate at 75 mph. I’m either going to work, or coming home, and all around me there’s the organized chaos of other drivers doing pretty much the same thing. The small space that I occupy in the cab of my truck is very peaceful, relative to the highway environment. The small space between my two ears is also at rest, if I allow it, if I guard it from negativity . Most of the time I keep my eyes fixed on the road ahead. The rest of the time, I’m either checking my mirrors to see what’s going on behind me, or scanning my instrument cluster to check on my speed and the truck’s vital signs. But in my mind I’m doing other stuff, going to other places, having conversations with myself and occasionally God. Never, do I worry about being in a wreck. I don’t even think about the one I had where 4 of my friends were badly injured. The ride can be grueling, in that it takes me about 45 minutes , twice a day for 11 strait days. But then I remind myself that it’s a good thing, because there’s work at one end and home at the other.
    So anyway, good blog Cathee. Thanks for fanning the embers for me.

  9. Hi, Cathee! This was a great read today and SO timely! Mark and I have been making some plans for the future, plans that are exciting and filled with joy. But, they had also become all encompassing, especially for me. It really did steal my joy to focus on something which may still be several years away. This devotion today has helped to confirm what I already heard whispered in my spirit…that I need to refocus on TODAY because it is lovely, worth living and purposeful…even if it’s full of challenges. So, yes we will continue to dream about our plans and pray for God’s timing and direction but we will LIVE today. Love you. Miss you. Thank you again. ^_^

  10. moe bartley :

    so glad to see you writing…. we ALL get sidetracked along the way. i always say it is the journey not the destination that is important. take joy in the small things everyday

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