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Annette's Notes, Issue #008 -- Ordered Steps
July 28, 2014

Ordered Steps

This morning I was headed down the stairs to the basement to feed PT (Puddy Tat), who had been winding himself around my legs and informing me of his hunger, in very insistent tones. I had a cup in one hand, and I pulled my phone out of my pocket with the other, intending to quickly peruse Facebook. Unfortunately, I missed the last step on the first flight of stairs and fell in a noisy heap onto the landing. My left ankle immediately screamed in pain while PT stood at the bottom of the stairs and impatiently stared at me with his “Why have you not yet fed me?” look.

After a few moments, I tentatively tried standing. Enduring moderate pain, I was able to feed and water the cat. I then headed back upstairs to RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) my ankle, all the while thinking about missteps.

I tend to think of a misstep as an intentional choice: going left when I should have gone right, choosing the easy path when I should have chosen the more challenging. However, my misstep was not a matter of choice but of distraction.

A few points for consideration:
  • I can be on the right path, at the right time, doing good things, and still make a misstep.
  • When I’m distracted, I miss what is going on in the moment (e.g., cute cat wanting attention).
  • A misstep can knock me off my feet in an instant and lead to injury.
  • Pain can lead to much-needed reevaluation of the way I am stepping.
  • Taking steps in order is usually important. I can skip a step (take a shortcut) to my own detriment.

I know that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD” (Psalm 37:23), but I think the key to not slipping on the steps is in the second part of this verse: “and he delighteth in his way.”

Different Bible translations vary on whether this is God delighting in the good man’s way or the good man delighting in God’s way. I think both apply:
  • When I delight (take pleasure) in God’s way, I am paying attention, focused, not distracted. If I had delighted in my basement stairs, they would have held my attention, and mostly likely I would not have overlooked that last step.
  • God delights in my way; that is, He takes joy in directing my steps and observing my progress. And like a proud father watching His toddler learn to walk, He is there to help me up when I misstep and fall.

Thankfully my misstep today was not too serious. I have no broken bones, only some minor swelling and pain, and a reminder to pay attention! Still, I do wish that Psalm 18:36 would have been true for me this morning:

“Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.”

Think About It

Ask yourself:
  • Have I gotten distracted and lost my delight in the LORD and what He has called me to do?
  • How can I increase my delight in the LORD so that I can avoid a serious misstep? (More quiet time to focus on Him alone? More prayer and worship? Deeper Bible study? Regular interactions with others whom I can encourage and be encouraged by?)
  • Do my students know I delight in them and the opportunity to teach them God's Word? Are there some distractions I could remove to increase my (and my students') focus during class time?
As God orders our steps this week, may we be focused enough to see the delightful path laid out before us!

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me. I enjoy hearing from you.

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