Saturday, May 13, 2017

Out of Control

I knew our local grocery store would be especially busy the day before Easter but the only item I needed for our dinner was our ham, having purchased everything else earlier that week.  How hard would it be to pick up one piece of meat?

Driving into the parking lot confirmed my suspicions but I still had this optimistic belief that this little jaunt was a “no-brainer”.  I parked my car, entered the store and headed straight to the refrigerated ham bin.

Now…this is where this routine grocery errand turned into an “adventure”.  I was among several people going through the selection process (seems others also waited until the last minute!) which included checking out the various weights and sizes of the many hams available.  I was oblivious to my surroundings, though, because of my laser focus on finding just the right hunk of meat.

Suddenly I felt something bumping my leg and in the next instant, I was aware that I was being pushed into the side of the meat bin! I remember saying “ouch” out loud; my foot and my left “backside” hurt!  Instinctively my brain went into escape mode and I started pushing myself sideways to get unpinned from in between the motorized cart (which was still moving) and the meat bin.

While this was going on, I hear a panicked voice say, “It won’t stop! It won’t stop!”  Yes, this poor woman driving a motorized cart was traumatized because her cart was out of control.

Running into the side of the meat bin brought her cart to a sudden stop; she then asked if I was ok.  I reassured her I was and then made a beeline for the checkout; all I wanted to do was get out of that store.  I have to confess, I didn’t even look at her face and would not be able to identify her if she was standing in front of me.

By the time I paid for my meat and was heading for my car, the whole scene struck me as uproariously funny, especially since I escaped real injury. Later that day I shared my adventure on Facebook and the posted replies made me laugh all over again.

One friend, having gone through a time she needed to use a similar motorized cart, described herself at a family gathering where she, too, lost control and wiped out a food table (without injury to anyone, I must add).  Another friend said her mom was in the store about the time I was but adamantly assured her she didn’t hit anyone!  Another asked if my ham had survived.  And one of my delightfully crazy church pastors reported, “Oh how I wish I could have seen it all play out.”

This story, as always, brings me to a more serious memory. There was a time when my life was basically out of control. I was a believer in Jesus, saved, born again…but not really making Him Lord of my life. I was living as though I was pretty sure I could handle life on my own. I was driving/controlling my “life cart” and thinking I was navigating it pretty well.

And then a series of things happened; I had a wake-up call, you might say.  In that moment I realized I was pretty much spinning out of control.  From the outside, it looked like I had my life together but if my heart could be viewed by others, it would have revealed a mess.  I had a string of broken romantic relationships (between my divorce and remarriage) coupled with a sense of failure in my role as an ambassador for Jesus.  Ouch!

I needed to turn the control back over to the One Who created me. Only then could I get that “life cart” going in the right direction, one that kept me from hurting others and disappointing Jesus. When Charlie came into my life, it was like God said…”this guy is going to minister to you as you draw closer to one another.”  As our relationship gathered steam, Charlie established godly boundaries for dating and courtship and we were able to move forward in the way God intended.

I love Proverbs 3:5-6 because it speaks blessing and wisdom into my life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Amen.