His Way or the Highway

I used to stay with my grandma A LOT. She’s pretty much my mother, but would never accept the title. She was raised in the South and has a southern drawl and the attitude to go with it.

Her house was the quintessential southern home with plaid and gingham in decadent rich colors. Plates and signs of southerners’ terms adorned the walls of her living room. One was a paddle with an embroidered pillow on one side that read “Grandma’s paddle,” beside another sign that read “MY way or the highway!” You read that sign and knew she wasn’t messin’ around! And when I wouldn’t do things her way, but instead my way, by not listening or behaving, the paddle came down off the wall, and I very quickly got the wooden side that was not pillowed or embroidered. I only saw that side of the paddle once in my life, and never experienced it again. Lesson learned, Gramma!

I wish sometimes that in life, I wouldn’t have to learn painful lessons over and over again. But I’ve learned a bunch of things running into walls, and I think it’s right nice to share my embroidered saying for the wall. That message is, “His way, not yours.”

So I had these running shoes. My husband bought them for me probably ten years ago, and to say they were over their running limit is an understatement. I’d worn these things OUT! I’ll buy a lot of dumb sh*t, but when it comes to myself…I clearance. I thrift and I accept donations. It’s been a while since I’ve bought clothes. Part of that has to do with my size and part of it with finances. Financially speaking, I was never in a place where a hundred or so bucks was readily available, and I wouldn’t settle for anything less than a Nike running shoe. Period.

In fact, I wanted the exact shoe I’d been running in for ten years, but you can imagine that those are no longer sold. So I asked around and got advice and researched running shoe buying to DEATH. Then I was like, “Who are you kidding? You’ll never buy them. Maybe pray about it! 🤷🏻‍♀️” So that’s what I did. I prayed about it. And time passed, and I sold a house and bought a house, and any extra hundreds were going toward that and only that. I certainly couldn’t buy them now! That’s poor timing. So I ignored it, and also ignored running. 

A month ago, a relative came to stay with us. Before arriving, he asked for the kids’ and my shoe sizes. I appeased him and provided all their shoe sizes. He arrived and gifted every member, including myself and my husband, with new shoes. It was kind of awesome because they’d all recently gone through a spurt, and I’d left a lot in Florida. I’ll admit I was kind of hoping for Nike running shoes, but was still pleasantly surprised by the slide-ons that I got. Each of my children, however, did get sneakers. Nikes for some, too. But I obviously never said anything, and even wince to write this today.

As we were on an adventure that weekend, I noticed my eldest daughter wasn’t wearing her sneakers. I didn’t want to call her out, so I found a time where just she and I could talk and asked, “What’s up? You don’t like the new kicks?” She expressed that actually, she did, but that they were a whole size too small. She didn’t want to be rude, but the needed 9 was actually an 8. “You can have them, mama, aren’t you an 8?” And like a bolt of lightning, it hit me! I hadn’t looked at them too well, so I wasn’t sure if they were Nike, but I vaguely remembered looking at them, and they were certainly athletic sneakers. This, I could work with. 

This lesson, I have had to learn countless times. Even now in my thirties, I’m still banging on the wrong door, and God is over here opening windows. We always think we know what’s best for us. We plan all these things in our head and research them and get advice and shop around and try to control every single part of life. It’s not until we let go and throw our cares at our Father that alignment can truly come. And probably not in any facsimile of what you envisioned. Not in any way, shape, or form of the plan you would have planned for yourself. Probably better. But we are over here with our neat to-do lists and schedules and spreadsheets and cookie cutter cutouts of how things will go.

It isn’t until we relent and give up control that we actually gain that which our hearts desire. And if you’re keeping score, the sneakers turned out to be Skechers. Shoes that I never would have picked for myself turned out to be exactly what my butt needed to get back on track and on the track.

Running, much like writing, lights something inside of me. A deep sigh of relief comes over me as I take those strides. A pride that I can do hard things. Things like running miles, or writing words, or accepting God’s paddle to my butt telling me to get back on the path and keep going! 

Reality Changing Observations:

1. Why is it difficult for us to trust that God knows what we need and will provide it?

2. Where have you experienced God’s provision recently in your life? What was your attitude towards it?

3. What gifts has God given you in life, such as writing or running, that bring you a deep and natural joy? How can you appreciate and enjoy those gifts?

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