Stay in Your Lane
Leaving town last week, I spotted a large orange sign that read, “Stay in your lane.” I snickered. What an obvious direction. Of course I was going to stay in my lane.
At different moments throughout the week, those words ran through my mind. It’s been a long few days in our neck of the woods. Along with the normal busyness of life, my husband had surgery. Between nerves, emotions, and unrealistic fears I was pretty tired by the time we made it to surgery day. So many times I wondered why. So many times I feared the worst. So many times I wished it wasn’t really happening. I just wanted out of my lane.
No wonder that sign stood out to me! The phrase that seemed so obvious earlier in the week now strobed like a flashing beacon reminding me to stay in the race. Honestly, this week I wanted a new lane in a whole different race. Sometimes the race that we are called to isn’t easy. The obstacles and challenges are overwhelming and the lane we are assigned to is hard to navigate. Staying focused and in the race often seems impossible and the other lanes seem much more appealing.
No matter what, though, I have to stay in my lane. The other lanes might appear smoother or wider. Maybe they have fewer obstacles or challenges. But just as soon as I try to move over, I may crash headlong into another vehicle, swerve into a ditch, or hydroplane into a cornfield. I am not equipped to drive in someone else’s lane. I am not designed to drive in someone else’s race.
Looking back over our stretch of the journey this week, even though it was hard, I realize how blessed we are. All week long God has sent us cheerleaders to help us stay focused and in the race. Whether it was through phone calls, visits, or texts, we received more encouragement and love than I ever thought possible. My phone was blowing up with people sending prayers and checking in. Even though this part of the race was hard, we had more than what we needed to make it through to the next leg of the journey. It reminds me of the scripture in Hebrews 12:1:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (NLT)
Maybe the race you are in is difficult. Maybe it is unfair or frustrating. Or maybe this is the best season you have had in a while. No matter what stretch of the race you are in, stay in your lane. No one else can live the life you have been given. No one else can stay in the lane of the race that you are in. Keep your eyes on the prize and realize that you are not in this race alone. If you keep your eyes focused in the right direction, you will have everyone and everything you need at just the right time to navigate all of the turns, bumps, and obstacles. Don’t lose heart. Don’t wish away this season. Trust God’s timing. And make sure to stay in your lane.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
by Shawn McEvoy
“I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.
I’m only pointing out the obvious…
If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it – and live a blessed life.”
John 13:15-17, The Message
I was very close to my father. He was the best man in my wedding, and growing up, when a lot of my peers were spending their weekend nights partying, I was usually happier to spend an evening with my dad watching a movie over ice cream.
One of the reasons I loved spending time with him was because I knew the Lord in a personal way… and he didn’t. Sure, he was raised a “cultural Catholic,” and was even an altar boy, but he’d definitely fallen away from any semblance of faith, and we all knew that he’d never been saved.
For several years, Dad was pretty much my pet project. I was always sharing with him when I could, always witnessing, always loving on him. I was continually lifting up prayers to God for his salvation, always trusting and somehow knowing it would eventually come to pass. And it did, 17 years after it had for me, and four years before he died. It’s one reason his death – even though he was only 57 – wasn’t nearly as devastating as it might have been to me.
He passed away in August of 2001. I stayed with my mom for a few weeks to help out before flying home on the evening of September 10 – yep, the night before a whole lot more stuff changed for a whole lot of us. I was in graduate school at the time, though I ended up taking a semester off to deal with all that had happened. So that Fall was a very strange time for me.
But then, as is so often true, there was Christmas…
We were at my in-laws’ house that year. Somewhere in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve I was awoken, not by reindeer on the roof, but by a rainbow in my mind. It came to me in a dream, out of the darkness, but as if I were awake. One minute there was an immense, black screen before my eyes. Then, just like in a cartoon, someone pushed a section of the blackness out of the way, revealing just a square inch of the most amazing colors. It was my dad.
He was young, tan, and radiant, and he was wearing a smile bigger than any he’d smiled on earth. He didn’t linger long. He simply said, “Shawn! Shawn-o! You were right! You were right about all this! But you’re not living like it!”
From: intouch ministries
What is the purpose of life? Throughout human history, people have been trying to answer that question. Books have been written on the subject, and philosophers have postulated many answers. But for Christians, God’s purpose is concisely outlined in today’s passage.
Believers are called according to His purpose and are foreknown by Him. God’s foreknowledge is much more than His ability to see future events in advance. It also includes bringing to pass what He has chosen to do for those He has called. He has predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This will be fully accomplished in the resurrection, but until then, God is progressively transforming His children right now. These are the ones He calls, justifies (declares righteous), and ultimately glorifies.
If you are a Christian, this is God’s purpose for you. That means everything He allows into your life is designed to shape you into a glorious reflection of Christ. Although you cannot fully understand how God brings about salvation and how believers are responsible to respond in faith, there is great comfort in knowing that He who began this good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).
“Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching.” – Titus 2:7 CSB
A star athlete was frustrated at being expected to provide a model. Tired of this spotlight, he declared, “I’m not a role model.” His argument? Just because he excelled in sports, he was not qualified to “raise your kids.”
Many others likely have the same attitude. They feel that the spotlight always is on them, and they always are expected to act in ways that others could emulate.
Perhaps many Christians feel this way. Perhaps aware of their own weaknesses, they don’t feel qualified to be role models. Perhaps they just don’t feel they always say and do things that others should copy.
But the Bible reminds us that, whether we like it or not, all of us are role models. People are looking at us. They want to see the byproducts of our faith. Can they see a difference that Jesus has made in our lives? Is there proof that they, too, should become a follower? Is our testimony real or just a bunch of words?
Paul reminded Titus that he was called to “offer yourself as a role model of good actions” (v. 7 CEB). He was to be conscious of his responsibilities and remember that he was an ambassador for Christ. His words and actions were to demonstrate the change Jesus could make.
The same principle applies to each of us. Ask God to help you be a more effective witness for Him.