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Three Life Applications for Messing Up Less

We set out at a brisk pace, this time armed with a metal detector, a fresh set of eyes, and cautious optimism.

We were searching for my youngest son’s lost iPod. And we had no doubt where it should be. It was somewhere under the log he had crawled over, stuck in the ravine wall he scrambled up, or mixed in with the leaves over a 30-foot long, 10-foot wide path he had traveled before realizing it was missing.

It had to be there. He hadn’t been anywhere else since we’d last seen it. Never mind that we’d scoured the area twice already. The fact is, we’d mapped out the exact spot. We even had a photograph and footsteps to prove it. There wasn’t anywhere else it could be.

Have you ever been there? Certain you knew where something was or what you were to do, only to find you were wrong?

We like to plan our life, don’t we? To mark nice neat boundaries, knowing our dreams will be within those set parameters.

If I do this, I will find happiness. If I parent this way, my children will grow to lead a fruitful, healthy, God-centered life. If I conduct my business with integrity, it will thrive. If I remain faithful, so will my spouse. If I’m a good Christian, my life will be blessed with few troubles.

We really expect our life to present that way. Only to discover the hard way that’s not the way it works.

In fact when we map out our lives, we often make a mess of it—we often miss what we are really searching for. 

Our parameters and the metal detector never did find the iPod; my older son’s fresh perspective did though. He hadn’t been with us when it was lost, so he had no preconceived notion of where it should be. He was open to see things from a different perspective. To search outside the parameters.

And sure enough, there was the object of our search, a glistening green iPod, laying just outside the boundaries we had set.

This little adventure illustrates several important life applications:

  1. Throw away your map (or at least be willing to modify it) and embrace God’s. We make plans based on our narrow view. Our small set of schema. However, God sees what’s been, what is, and what is to come—all at the same time. His plan will be based on the broadest scope of understanding (and His infinite love for us).
  2. Expand your search. Research new ideas. Embrace a different possibility. Perhaps the object you’re looking for is just outside the boundaries you set. 
  3. Try to see things through someone else’s eyes. Seek out a different perspective. Our perceptions about the situation often are misleading or incorrect. Ask for other opinions.

Now, I’m not saying this is easy. I’m a planner. I like to map out how things will be. However, I’m learning (the hard way) to broaden my focus and leave room for flexibility, another perspective, and ultimately, God’s hand.

Because when we let go of our mapped-out life, we often find what we are searching for.

After all, we’re not really the CEO of our lives; we just think we are.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Q4U: How do you need to modify your map? Do you see other life applications I missed in this illustration? Please share in the comment box below.

Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 for my Joy Dare list  for Multitude Mondays (#1392–1412, read them all by clicking here):

  • Warm house; Last of the Christmas cards completed; Long overdue query letter sent
  • Patient pastors; Wonderful IEP team; Unexpected lunch with my man
  • Gaining a healthier perspective on a daily choice; Going on previously postponed hike w/Joey; Singing w/ choir buddies
  • Great mom/son dialogue while doing dishes; Wasted day redeemed in the end; Ending day w/ @kendavislive‘s bk FullyAlive
  • Fire in wood stove; Evening playing Bingo & Feed the Kitty w/ my daughter; Podcasts to listen to while exercising
  • Time with dear friends; Much-loved, messed-up recipe; Quiet of a Saturday morning with nothing planned
  • Worshipping at home w/ my family; Fun sliding on icy roads; Playing Twister w/ a wrestling component added by Rach

Also linking with the following wonderful sites:  and Rachel Wojnarowski’s site.

Photo courtesy of koalazymonkey.

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

One comment on “Three Life Applications for Messing Up Less
  1. “…we’re not really the CEO of our lives; we just think we are.” This, exactly! When will I learn that God’s plan far exceed my own? That His ideas of “what’s good for me” are far beyond my meager comprehension? Great reminder, Julie.

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