I met Joy Williams last year at the She Speaks conference. It was one of those moments that you just know is divine intervention at play. Joy has a heart for encouraging women and an infectious love of the Lord. Her writing is filled with faith, encouragement and practical advice. I love this message she’s written to share with all of you about losing sight of our goals and the person God has called us to be. But it’s a message filled with reassurance that no matter how far we stray, God actively seeks us and brings us back to Him. I’m just thrilled to be able to share this encouraging reminder with all of you.
As Ryan left out the front door he said, “Mom, I’ll be right back.” I smiled as my son did his routine chore of taking the trash to the curb. But my smile turned into a perplexed frown as I watched him become sidetracked.
It began when he saw his basketball resting by a tree in our yard. A few bounces later, he glanced towards the trash can. But the voice of a friend two houses away grabbed his attention instead. After several fakes, dribbles, and drives with the ball, he and his friend talked for a while. Eventually, the real reason for being outdoors re-registered with Ryan. Sincerity returned. He delivered the trash can to the curb as he was delivered from distraction.
It was easy for me to notice Ryan’s zigzag pattern that day. But to be completely honest, I often miss my own. As I glance away from a goal or entertain an unproductive thought, the trip from sincere to sidetrack begins. But looking away from the significant becomes costly. The consequences of missing opportunities with whom or what I care about can become a high price to pay. However, Christ’s redemption invites me to learn from my mistakes and not just live with them.
What happens when you’re in pursuit of a worthy goal? Are you sidetracked or sincere? For those of us who waver, I believe it’s helpful to know the reasons why we fluctuate. Don’t worry, I’ll go first. Maybe you’ll see your reasons too.
Challenges. When the going gets tough this tough girl can get distracted. At times I take too long in my pause to persevere. And like my son on his trip to the curb, my diversions delay my deliverance.
Comparisons. In a world where people are dubbed “best-dressed” or “most liked,” I may struggle to make the best decision – to be who God created me to be. When I compare myself to others, I distort my God-given value. As a result, my flaws or my achievements receive far more attention than His grace.
Cravings. If my deepest desires are not submitted to God, they become a detour from His destiny. My cravings may vary but God’s purpose for me is always the same — to glorify Him. When I drift from that desire, my godly focus begins to falter.
“God seeks after the sidetracked heart, but the sincere heart seeks after God.”
My challenges, comparisons and cravings can cause me to stray from God’s plan. But the same reasons for my becoming sidetracked can also serve as my pivot to becoming sincere. As I entrust my challenges to the Lord, His peace surpasses my understanding. And when I compare His grace to earthly grandeur, frankly there is no comparison. Thankfully, as my soul longs for Him sincerity starts to surface.
If you’re familiar with the sidetracked struggle, here’s some good news. God seeks after the sidetracked heart, but the sincere heart seeks after God. This critical pivot is only made possible by the strength and grace we find in Jesus Christ. When we turn away from our distractions and trust Him, the pivot is complete. Then He becomes the reason for hope in the heart and the source of joy to the soul.
“A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.” – John 4:23 AMP
Joy A. Williams is a writer and speaker. For over 15 years, she’s led small group bible studies and spoken at Women’s retreats and conferences. She is the author of Friendship MAPS: A Journey through Maturity, Aspirations, Perspectives, and Struggles. Whether it is in print or in person, Joy enjoys sharing biblical truths about the grace of God. Through her weekly blog at www.joyawilliams.com, she encourages the sincere or sidetracked truth seeker with hope for the heart and joy to the soul.