No Shortcuts Allowed

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” – Psalm 32:8

There were a lot of classes I hated many years ago in high school, but Honors English was at the top of the list. But not because the teacher was mean. He was actually pretty dope and the atmosphere he set was fun. I just hated all of the daily reading assignments.

After a few weeks of trying to balance reading assignments and other schoolwork, I became burnt out (or at least the teenage version). I was tired of feeling like I was drowning beneath all of those pages. I needed an easier way out. How could I get my assignments done in less time?

My classmates with the same workload seemed unbothered by the assignments. Had they found the secret? Better yet, was there some magical shortcut that would lead me to the same final results?

Being curious as I am, I ended up asking some of them what was their secret. Their response was, “We use either Monkey Notes or Cliff Notes!” For those of you who don’t know what those are, they’re book summaries. Each chapter is broken down to the point you really don’t have to read the book.

Finally, I had the magical shortcut. Or at least I thought I did.

Then one day while reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” the teacher emphasized to us, “Make sure you read the assigned chapters for tomorrow’s test.” Not really focused on what he said I went home and read both Monkey Notes and Cliff Notes, thinking this would give me a heads up for the test. But little did I know… (You see where this is going, right?)

As I arrived in class “prepared”, my confidence was through the roof. That quickly changed when I received the test. Everything looked like a foreign language that I couldn’t translate. We all were in the same boat, one that was sinking fast.

A few days later, the teacher stood before us disappointed. We had all failed the test. He went on to explain how each assignment has a purpose. They are meant to prepare us for the test. But every time we take shortcuts, we miss necessary information for us to succeed.

Fast forward to my adult life. I still find myself struggling with thinking I can outsmart my teacher (God) by taking shortcuts. At times I’ve taken shortcuts in my marriage, career, parenting, and other areas. And I’m pretty sure I stay frustrating God at times when I do this.

Thinking there are magical shortcuts has only caused me to question my destination. In reality my destination is correct; my timing is just premature. I’m simply unprepared for it because all of the tools God planted for my success are on His path not mine. So every time I’ve made the decision to take a shortcut I’m bypassing everything I need to succeed.

Life has continued to show me there are no magical shortcuts. Just me overlooking how God has orchestrated every aspect of my life, thinking my way is better.

Are you guilty of this too?

This week, I want you to reflect on the shortcuts you have taken. Whatever they are, God already knew they would happen. And His grace covers you. Just prepare yourself though because taking shortcuts have consequences. Actually moving ahead of God’s timing won’t be easy. Matter of fact, they probably will be quite hard at times. But God is right there walking beside you as you go back to get the needed tools for your destination.

Remember, the destination God has for you will never change. So hold your head up as you go get every tool God planted for you. There’s a valuable lesson in each one. Going to get those valuable tools doesn’t make you a failure, but makes you a very courageous person. One that sees the importance of making sure their foundation for every destination is rock solid!

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