The first clue that this was not my best idea, should have been the fact that I was standing on top of the family car parked in our garage… and… I was only 7 years old.
Standing on the car, I stretched up to grab a can off the rafters that I had just seen my older brother put back.
I had quietly observed him doing all the same moves as I was now doing: climb on the car, grab the can, pry the lid off, and take a huge bite of the white powdery contents. Within seconds, I knew this was a bad idea. The taste was HORRENDOUS!
I continued to stalk my brother, and copy all of his next moves. He was in the house pouring a glass of milk in hopes it would dissipate the taste.
I did the same.
No such luck.
Our mom was a few feet away, talking on the phone, and it became extraordinarily clear to us that we needed her help and fast. We retraced our steps, showing her the can in the garage, only this time, we both noticed the signature cross and bones symbol on the front, indicating the substance was poison.
Rat poison to be exact.
Within minutes we were at the doctor’s office with a nurse offering us some yucky ipecac, while stating, “You are going to be fine, but the next few minutes will not be very fun.” She then proceeded to offer us a bucket, as our bodies worked to extract the poison.
Not very fun.
This is one of those stories that haunts me. WHY would I blindly copy what someone else was doing. I mean, I was only seven, but… STIILL! That’s a pretty trusting move even for a child.
Recently, I’ve been using this story as a reminder to myself when I feel my eyes drifting from God’s plan for my life to noticing what everyone else is doing. Sometimes it’s a ‘feeling-sorry-for-myself’ kind of thing. Other times, it’s a measuring up of how I’m doing compared to how I perceive others are doing.
I’m surrounded by high-achieving, successful women I greatly admire, and sometimes it’s tempting to want to copy them: if they sign up for a course, I sign up.
I mean… you name it… from kids, to jobs, to volunteering etc.
It can be a struggle to stay in our lane.
But is that where God is leading ME?
How can I stay on track with his very personal plan for my life while cheering others on in their journey?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says it this way: “Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”
That is one of the most powerful and dangerous prayers we could pray; giving God permission to use our lives for a purpose greater than ourselves.”
And that’s where faith hits me smack between the eyes.
Will I trust God’s plan for my life?
And, possibly more importantly, can God trust ME with his plan for my life?
Will I keep taking the next step in faith where he seems to be leading? And, yes… I used the word ‘seems’ because for most of my life, it’s not been a clear, definitive choice. It ‘seems’ to be a journey in the same direction… until God re-routes me.
The next time you find yourself climbing on top of a parked car, reaching toward the rafters to grab a can someone you admire just put back, stop and think, “Is this what God has for ME? Is this really the best decision I can make? Will this bring me closer to God?
Take it from a former 7-year-old who loves her brother very much, and spent many days trying to be like him…
Copying others may not get you the best results in life.
Stay close and connected to Christ, following him, copying HIM.
Hebrews 12:2 (TPT) sums it up beautifully: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…”