Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Friend to Friend
Girl, please believe me when I tell you that I really didn’t mean to do it. Even saying it out loud feels a combination of mortifying and wholly embarrassing. It was just one quick glance sideways that ended up monopolizing my entire flight with something fruitless.
From the moment I sat down in 18C, my eyelids felt heavy. I’m pretty sure I was asleep before the plane even lifted into the air. The lady beside me had seemed friendly enough; she smiled and obliged easily when she had to move so that I could access the window seat. She didn’t say anything, and I was so tired from a week of travel that I didn’t have much to offer by way of conversation right then either. I just needed a quick nap so that I could make it through the rest of the day.
I think I slept for maybe 30 minutes of the two and a half hour flight, and when I woke up, the woman beside me was holding two hearing aids in one hand and an iPad propped straight upwards in the other. It was silent on the plane and I could only hear the constant hum of the engines on either side.
I don’t know why it matters, but I am always a little curious about what the person next to me is reading. Usually with a hard copy of a book it’s easy to get an idea if it’s a John Grisham, Nicolas Sparks, or James Dobson type book. Covers and titles are helpful little tools to get a quick snapshot of another person. It’s a window into their interest and sometimes even to their soul. I like people, and the books we read often speak to pieces of the people that we are.
This time though, I couldn’t tell anything about the contents or the lady beside me since the entire book was on an iPad. Black groups of words stood out across the backlit white page. “Married by Midnight,” the title read in the top left hand corner. It was easy to see the words from the seat right beside her. I have 20/20 vision and this book was being read in ginormous print. Something in me was curious and my eyes scanned the page to figure out what kind of book it was.
Before I knew it, the Captain came on to the loudspeaker and informed us that we were landing in 15 minutes.
“OH MY GOODNESS!” I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Truly, it was completely by accident, but somehow I read 150 pages of Married by Midnight and my seatmate with the curly hair that obstructed her periphery had absolutely no clue!
Part of me wondered if I should confess, and then I was terrified she would think I was a total creeper. Equal parts embarrassed and horrified, I found myself still wondering if Lady Anne and Garrett Sinclair would truly fall in love, or if the marriage would stay arranged so that he could go on to inherit his senile father’s grand English estate. You guys! I spent an entire flight reading a book that wasn’t mine because I couldn’t manage to keep my eyes facing forward. What a bizarre and hilariously awkward waste of time.
I laughed about it for a good long while. What on earth was I thinking? Really, I guess I wasn’t. I just got so caught up in what was going on next to me that I forgot to even pay attention to the way that I was spending my own time.
It’s easy to do it though. One glance sideways and before we know it, we’re more engrossed in someone else’s story than we are our own. Maybe we even follow along, keep reading, keep looking their direction instead of forward onto the journey that God has for us?
We can laugh about accidentally reading someone else’s period romance novel, but when it comes to turning our heads to the side and allowing our hearts to be distracted from what God wants to do in us, we start walking into dangerous territory. What starts as a glance to the side can derail us entirely.
We plan to just spend 5 minutes on Facebook or Instagram, just checking in on what’s going on with our friends, but before we know it, we find our hearts feeling less-than, inadequate, not as stylish, creative, or clever as someone else. We allow our gaze to shift from the life and the ministries that God is calling each of us into and begin focusing elsewhere. We waste our time on things that aren’t meant for us.
When we look to either side instead of straight ahead at the Lord, the lines and goals and purposes of our lives can go crooked. And before we know it, we have wasted a whole lot of time worrying about someone else’s life novel instead of looking at the Lord as He is writing our own.
Heavenly Father, You are good and You have a specific purpose and plan for each one of us. Thank You that You are writing stories with our lives. Father, it can be so easy to find ourselves looking in the direction of another person’s story, but Lord I ask that we fix our eyes upon You, because only You can make our paths straight and our steps sure. Thank You Jesus for loving us, for sacrificing for us, so that a new story can be written before our eyes when we are fixed on Your goodness.
In Jesus’ Name,