These words sound a little like I might struggle with road rage! The truth is...I do sometimes! And then I usually follow up with, “Jesus loves you!” But that’s not where I am going with this today.
Have you ever had a phrase or word that was repeated to you several times in one day from several different people in different circumstances. For me, if those words get my attention, I usually start a conversation with God. Last week, I was in two different meetings with two different people (one whom I just met), with two very different topics of discussion. Both of these people said the same phrase multiple times, “It’s not in my lane.” I understood what it meant in the context of what they were saying but I wasn’t sure why those words were stuck in my thoughts.
My first thought wasn’t about driving, but about bowling! I am not sure why bowling, so after the meetings and recalling what I heard, I started my conversation with God:
What does that mean?
Why am I thinking about bowling?
What do you want me to learn and apply?
I began to picture myself at a bowling alley. I recognize that there is the need for:
-the right place (the bowling alley)
-the right equipment (bowling shoes and appropriately weighted ball)
-the right instruction (the spots and arrows for guidance, and the rules for play)
-the right focus (to knock down all or as many of the pins as possible at one time)
-and lots of practice with all of these things to become good at it.
The gutters are the extremes. These ruts that will take you towards your goal but you almost always miss the goal completely. It is not hard to get into the gutters but it’s very rare that you are able to get out of them once you are in them. God showed me that it doesn’t take focus or force to get into the gutters. We find ourselves in them when we don’t know what to do to avoid them OR are reckless and undisciplined, not trying to avoid them.
The lane is the path to the goal of knocking down all or as many of the pins as possible at one time and requires both focus on the goal, and the force needed to throw the ball hard enough to get it to the goal. The ideal goal is to get a strike by knocking down all of the pins every time you bowl. Your success is measured by how many strikes or spares you get to make up your score in a game. You don’t get to your goal if you go out of your lane and into someone else’s, knocking their pins down. You may be disqualified or penalized if you cross the line at the top of the lane.
These things help us to visualize that these principles apply not only to bowling but to our lives. We may be focused on our goal, going the right direction, and suddenly find ourselves in a rut. We may see our goal as we pass by it and wonder how we missed it. At some point, we need to pause and review what happened. If we are unwilling to do that from a place of honesty, we will be destined to repeat the same mistakes and make very little progress if any in reaching our goal. We may need to adjust our position, tweak our form, and reset our focus, but the most important thing is to practice with the equipment that we have until we are skilled at using it.
God has supplied us with all that we need to be effective and excellent in all that He has called us to!
-We are in the right place (wherever we are) to be a light in the darkness!
-We have been given the right equipment to be successful if we will use them (armor of God-truth, the Gospel of peace, His righteousness, faith, salvation, His word, and prayer)!
-The right instruction -The Holy Bible for instruction and the Holy Spirit for guidance!