Ready, steady, go…

Sports Day, and children lined up waiting for the teacher to start the race with the words “Ready, steady, go”. Sometimes there are ‘false starts’ with someone overstepping the mark, and they have to be called back into line.

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– I remember that scene from my own school-days, and truth is, as an adult I sometimes find myself running ahead in life.
Fear is like a starting pistol. Something fires off, and I find myself propelled into the future with thoughts like ‘What if…?’ ‘Then what…?’ ‘How will I… ?’ ‘How will they…?’ And running ahead in my mind, I stumble.

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I haven’t got the answers, because the answers aren’t yet in sight – they are round the next bend on the track, and clearly in God’s sight. I believe that God has the answers, but we won’t see them until the time is right – simply because we wouldn’t understand. This is a thread that runs through the Bible:

God – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”
(Isaiah 55:8)

St Paul – “What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror…what I know now is only partial”
(1 Corinthians 13:12)

So where are we on the track of life?
Are we in the right lane, or do we need to realign ourselves? Are we ready and steady, with God as a firm foundation?  Are we set to go, trusting God to enable us?

At times when I find myself making a false start (fuelled by fear) or overstepping the mark (propelled by panic), I find it helpful to remember that at school I was a competent cross-country runner. I had stamina. It came from commitment, perseverance, and wanting to do my best. All these qualities are transferable to daily life and faith in God.

It requires trust though. Trust that God knows what’s going on in our lives, and can weave our circumstances into a bigger picture, where different strands of different stories come together in ways we cannot imagine.
I’m grateful to a friend who reminded me of this recently:

Truth is…. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life. (Philippians 4:7)

Behind the scenes…

Recent events have reminded me that just because we can’t see something happening, doesn’t mean that it’s not happening!
People I know are in various stages of waiting – waiting to move house, waiting to hear the outcome of an interview, waiting for something to happen. Waiting can be hard.
It’s hard when there’s not much we can do, other than ‘sit back and wait’.
It’s hard when the only answer to ‘how long’, is ‘as long as a piece of string’.
It’s hard when we fear we may have been forgotten.
But a front door will open, a job will be found, and ‘it’ will happen – even if different to what was expected.

My wait for a Hearing Dog has recently come to an end. Marshall isn’t the Labrador I was hoping for, but as a spaniel he’s a much better fit in our small home and on my small lap!

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Being different to what was expected, he reminds me that I don’t always know best.
I’m also reminded that we often have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.
Marshall is just over two years old, which means that for all this time his training as an Assistance Dog has been going on – even though I had no inkling!

As a believer, I see God as the producer, director and prompt of our story – but it’s not a play, it’s for real.
Sometimes we will be on cue, but other times the scripts we write for ourselves mean that we lose the plot. Maybe our self-doubts or our self-interests, our hurts or our arrogance, nudge us to be other than our true character.
The good news is that even this doesn’t mean that the curtain falls and it’s over.

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The story can be amended, but we need to respond to God’s prompts – which can be challenging and often include forgiveness. That’s why it’s good to regularly return to the original script and realign ourselves.

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To quote a prayer I return to regularly:

You God, promised us nothing by way of success, recognition, possessions or reward. ‘These things will come at the right time when you walk with me’, you said.
(Iona Community)

So much goes on behind the scenes…

Truth is… You will hear His voice behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it’. (Isaiah 30: 21)