Embracing the Zigzags of Life | June 7th, 2022
A peculiar sight caught my eye the other day as I was walking past a clump of tall grasses. I noticed a spider sitting quietly in the middle of its web which was created with a unique zigzag pattern. Never having seen a web quite like this, it peaked my interest so I decided to research this special type of spider. I found it is called the writing spider or zigzag spider. Perfect name!
Life Lessons Learned Through AWANA
Ever since I was very young, I loved setting goals for myself. When I was eight years old, my biggest goal in life was to memorize enough Bible verses through a program at my church to be able to attend AWANA Scholarship Camp. It was a really big deal if you made it as it was quite challenging. AWANA, which is an acronym for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15), was a youth ministry that became one of the greatest highlights of my entire childhood and I looked forward to attending every Wednesday night. It taught me many important lessons for life as I matured and entered adulthood…
We played active, competitive games on a team to learn how to work together. We wore a uniform top that proudly displayed our achievements, keeping us motivated to set and reach new goals. We learned commitment with weekly attendance at AWANA and Sunday School. We learned the importance of finishing what we started with the handmade craft we were given. And we learned discipline by memorizing three workbooks filled with hundreds of Bible verses, many of which I still remember to this day.
AWANA gave me a solid foundation for self-discipline to achieve future goals and spiritual discipline with a desire to continue to learn about God through His Word and draw close to Him. I am so grateful my parents saw the value and faithfully brought me each week.
After achieving that first challenging goal to go to Scholarship Camp, I continued to be a goal setter which has provided sustained momentum for me to continually keep a focus, learn new skills, increase knowledge, stay challenged, keep growing, and remain enthusiastic about life.
The Necessary Zigs and Zags
One of the verses I memorized in AWANA was Proverbs 16:9: A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Little did I know how much that verse would affect my future goal-setting agenda. As one who is very driven and greatly motivated by check lists, I would often write down exactly how I would reach my next goal, complete with multiple detailed steps and timelines. However, it wasn’t always in the order God wanted me to go.
Looking back, my steps toward these goals seemed to follow more of a zigzag pattern that looked a lot like that spider’s web. Over the years, I discovered I often had to experience something significant and maybe even life-changing before I was able to take the next step. There were important lessons to be learned and incredible blessings to be discovered in the zig and the zag.
With a love for speaking and fitness, one of my goals was to become a motivational fitness speaker. I wrote a workbook about living a healthy lifestyle and spoke to clubs and corporations for several years, picking up new exercise classes to teach and personal training clients along the way. That was the zig of the experience I needed for God to be able to prepare me for a special purpose He had in mind for me long ago – to bring Him glory as a speaker on a completely different topic.
His next step for me was the zag. He gave me a desire to repurpose vintage jewelry and for the next three years I studied the history and collected beautiful pieces from the mid-1900s, finding ways to bring their sparkle back by transforming them into something new.
However, another zigzag in God’s upcoming purpose for me had to happen before I was fully ready for it. In 2012, I went through the heart-wrenching tragedy of losing my mother to breast cancer. God taught me so much through that experience, slowly bringing beauty out of my brokenness by drawing me closer to Himself than I ever thought possible.
He gave me the idea to write a Bible study titled Beauty in a Life Repurposed which combined my passion for repurposing vintage jewelry with the connection to the way God transforms and repurposes us with renewed sparkle after going through our most difficult trials.
Another three years later, I finished writing my book and was finally ready to fulfill His purpose for me as a speaker on the topic of Brokenness to Beauty. It took embracing a lot of zigzags, not the shortcuts, to get there. All were necessary and couldn’t be rushed. It took time for God to do a work in me to prepare me for His plans.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God’s Ways are Higher
Although I still believe it is a valuable part of life to set goals, I have learned to be flexible, allowing God to lead me on my journey and not fight the vital zigs and zags along the way, even if they are not on my list of steps or a part of my own self-created timeline.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
We can make plans using the desires in our heart that He gives us, but we must ultimately trust the Lord to direct our steps. They might not always lead to achieving our own set goals, but what incredible blessing lies in achieving the goals He planned far in advance for us through a heart of love for our greatest fulfillment and His glory.
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