One Year Later: A Divinely Personal Path

04. February 2019 Blog Posts 12

Most of my life I have wanted to be someone else.  It started with wanting to be my older sister, and then in Kindergarten I had others I aspired to be.  My Best Day Ever arrived when Mrs. Coffey was out sick and we had a substitute teacher. It was picture day, and all the students sported their best attire.  My friend and I unwittingly wore identical dresses that day (small shopping district in my hometown).  Trying to put me in alphabetical line alongside my friend, the substitute asked if we were twins.  I felt my face beam and my shoulders straighten. This friend was amazing: long curly hair, engaging smile, magnetic personality.  In comparison, the only twin-like qualities we shared were our age and our dress.  But for a few milliseconds before my friend corrected the substitute, I was an exact copy of that friend.  It felt good.

 

We are conditioned and educated to compare.  Bell curves, top ten graduating seniors, best sales percentages, employee of the month. We get it.  And to be fair, comparison drives competition, and competition produces accomplishments that we all benefit from:  scientific advancements, medical breakthroughs, new technology.

 

On an individual level, comparison can spark gratitude and compassion for others in more trying circumstances than we are at the time.  But not always.

 

From my journal:

Today my local cardiologist talked about sending another woman about my age to the Cleveland Clinic.  She, too, suddenly came down with heart failure.  He said she had not taken care of herself, not very healthy overall, and put on a ventilator for the flight.  He wasn’t sure she would survive to Cleveland, but if anyone could save her, he thought my doctor at the Cleveland Clinic could.  Then he told me that she was back to normal, after four weeks. We both knew I was 12 months into my diagnosis, and making little progress.  He said, “If I had been betting, I would have put my money on you being the one to get back to normal, not her.  You just never know with heart failure.”

 

Comparing my life to hers made me wonder what God was doing in mine.  And where I was headed.  I wanted my path to look just like hers.  I wanted to be her twin.  And it gnawed at my faith for months.

 

If we take comparison too far, too personal, too deep, it can create a Divine trust crisis.  In comparison to them, how can I be in the arms of a Loving God?  Many of us compare out of insecurity.  Look right, look left.  Am I ok?  We want not so much to feel superior afterwards, merely equal.

 

We are each a one-of-a-kind mix of just what God wants us to be.  Our strengths were designed for God’s glory and our weaknesses for His power. We don’t get to choose either of those. So we shouldn’t compare our mission to anyone else’s. Only God knows the real me, and every reason I am who I am.  Only in Him am I fully known, so only He can assign my unique way.

 

Knee-jerk, comparison-prone Peter was fully known.  Jesus told him, Your job is to follow Me.  Don’t worry about what I’m doing in John’s life. Before God was finished in his life, Peter was a leader.  But he had to find his own way in God’s will without comparing himself to others.

 

The only way I am ever secure is to NOT know the path, to leave it to Him.  To live the life He assigned for me alone to live.  To be on a path I didn’t choose.  To keep my eyes focused on the prize of His glory.  Otherwise, I can lose my balance and stumble.

 

That sometimes-rocky Divinely Detoured path is an intersection of our own gifts and passion and someone else’s needs.  And such a journey surrendered to God is an acknowledgement that we were made for a purpose bigger than ourselves.

 

So close your eyes and pray.  Then step forward in trust on your own path.  Stay in your own lane.  The HIGH-way is Mine.

 

Along the way, as Jon Accuf warns, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  Each of us is at a distinctive point on our path.  We are all on our way to becoming the beautiful creation God intended, but not all at the same rate or at the same time. We must trust it to the God who is not done.

 

It’s been 12 months since the Spirit convinced me to share my story with others who find themselves on a Divine Detour.  The Enemy has tempted me to compare, telling me others are better trained, better connected, better messengers.

 

And I have struggled with social media.  To be “known.” A year ago, I had 10 friends on Facebook and less than 30 followers on Instagram.  But one thing I’m learning is that there is enough “known” to go around. The trick is, in social media and in your journey with God, to find your unique path.   Most of the time, like my website tagline says, it will be a path you didn’t choose.

 

I have made progress no one expected with my health, and with my blog.

 

Still, in my life, and in my disease, this is not where I imagined I’d be at this point.  Looking at others, I had expected more, or maybe different. So even now, after all God has taken me through, I still find myself wanting to be someone else:  someone healthier, someone better known, someone on a different journey.

 

And then I remember the substitute teacher who tried to put me on an identical track with my friend.  She didn’t really know me; no one else really does. But thankfully, I am fully known by a good God.  And He has me on the path I need to be.

 

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12 thoughts on “One Year Later: A Divinely Personal Path”

  • 1
    Holly Hook on February 5, 2019 Reply

    Wow, hard to believe it has been a year! Thank YOU for using your amazing talent to encourage and enrich our lives by sharing your story. I still marvel how your disease has launched such an inspiring ministry and I can’t help but wonder if you would be writing if you hadn’t experienced this detour.
    Hanging on to this little nugget, “Our strengths were designed for God’s glory and our weaknesses for His power. ” so much truth, letting it soak in today.

    • 2
      Lori Ann Wood on February 5, 2019 Reply

      Thank you, Holly. Your amazing support has been a lifeline to me throughout the last three years. So true that we never know where God is going to take us. Holding on in trust with so many others on a path they didn’t plan to be on.

  • 3
    Brad Grabs on February 5, 2019 Reply

    I have truly gained so much from your insightful writings, Lori. You have become an important part of my own faith journey.

    • 4
      Lori Ann Wood on February 5, 2019 Reply

      That is a high compliment from you, Brad, as I have always admired your faith. Thank you for your encouragement.

  • 5
    Leigh Ann Zeller on February 6, 2019 Reply

    You just exquisitely expressed the space I’m living in, Dear Lori! Thank you for your wisdom!!!

    • 6
      Lori Ann Wood on February 6, 2019 Reply

      That makes it all worthwhile, Leigh Ann. You are continually in my prayers. Blessings, my friend.

  • 7
    Janice Grant on February 6, 2019 Reply

    Oh my! How this post resonated in my spirit. Comparing my beginning to other writers middle (or higher) caused my writing to freeze like a tongue to a metal pole in frigid temps. God’s nudge to get me unstuck comes from stories like this one.

    We both began Write Brilliant around the same time (May, 2018), and your story and writing style has always put you at the middle from the get-go. Keep up your amazing story telling. I can’t wait to buy your book.

    • 8
      Lori Ann Wood on February 6, 2019 Reply

      This made my day, Janice! Thank you for always encouraging, always leaving nuggets of hope and inspiration for others. I have loved your writing as well, and look forward to seeing your name in print. Just know that you have encouraged someone today perhaps even more than you realize.

  • 9
    Jill on February 6, 2019 Reply

    One of my all-time favorite memories from my childhood! 🙂
    I pray each day for His guidance and grace.
    Thank you my dear, humble, and gifted friend for sharing with all of us. Your gift of words and getting so many of your thoughts down on paper always inspires me….many that we share. ❤️

    • 10
      Lori Ann Wood on February 6, 2019 Reply

      I was hoping you would know this friend was you! I have a heart full of precious memories that include you. Thank you for reading and encouraging. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

  • 11
    Tiffany Ehlers on February 22, 2019 Reply

    I’m deeply moved by your words. Thank you for your transparency, your honesty, and your willingness to step forth in ways He is calling. You’re opening your arms wide to our Creator, and your actions are saying, “I trust You. Please help me to trust You.” Keep going, dear sister in Christ. He is moving mountains through you! Thank you for encouraging me today!

    • 12
      Lori Ann Wood on February 23, 2019 Reply

      So sweet of you to say. I am always excited when my words carry the Spirit’s message. Thank you for reading and sharing!

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