“How to Live a Brave and Beautiful Life”
“You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.”
Psalm 16:11 (VOICE)
The woman sitting beside me in the airport held a faded leather backpack that appeared to had weathered a lifetime of stories. And the hiking boots laced to her ankles bore the scars of a thousand miles.
And, to be honest, I was surprised by the discontent that stirred deep in my soul as I wondered what adventures the traveler next to me had lived.
I’d like to scale a mountain bigger than the laundry piles in my basement, I silently pouted while I counted the eyelets on those dusty boots.
I’d been serving at a ministry conference all weekend and would soon catch a flight back to the small town I call home. And though I was excited to be reunited with my husband and five children, I wasn’t eager to return to my daily grind of carpooling and homework-helping, cooking and cleaning.
“Where are you headed?” the wearer of those boots asked, interrupting my pity party.
“Home,” I replied as I lifted my eyes to meet her kind smile and reciprocate the question.
Turns out our destinations were the same, but we had little else in common. She worked for an international relief organization, serving people in need all over the world. I worked from home serving the six people who live beneath my roof.
During the past week, while I’d watched ballgames and grumbled about cooking dinner again, she’d watched the sun rise over the Himalayas and delivered food to hungry children in Nepal. Her feet had trekked through jungles and climbed rugged mountains, while mine had wandered grocery store aisles and played endless rounds of backyard soccer.
The more we talked, the more I wondered why this world traveler was waiting to catch a flight to my pedestrian little town.
When I asked that question, her eyes sparkled.
She told me she was on her way to visit her only sister who was “raising kids and cattle” on the family farm where they’d both been born.
I tried to imagine the dramatically different lives these two sisters had lived--one sprouting wings and traveling the world, the other sinking roots and rarely venturing beyond state lines.
“So have you always been the brave one?” I queried with a wink.
The woman fiddled with the leather strap on that old backpack, then met my gaze. “Actually, my sister’s the brave one.”
My expression must have broadcast my confusion, because that boot-clad traveler flashed me a knowing smile and continued, “I’ve spent a lifetime finding joy all over the world. But my sister wakes up in the same place every day and chooses to find joy right where she’s at.”
A lump of conviction welled in my throat.
“I think that’s brave,” the woman beside me murmured with quiet reverence.
In today’s key verse, King David reminds us the secret to living a beautiful life isn’t dependent on where our feet tread but in WHOM our feet follow.
A life of joy isn’t found in chasing adventure but in chasing our Savior.
And, according to Psalm 16:11, when we choose to keep company with Jesus--prayerfully seeking Him first and obeying His directions--we find true contentment right where we are.
The overhead speaker crackled with our flight’s first boarding call. And as the woman beside me excused herself to make a phone call to that brave sister of hers, my eyes seeped silently with tears.
I pictured the ordinary life waiting for me at home--the demands and the delights, the giggles and the grumbles, and suddenly, I couldn’t wait to hop on that plane and return to my beautiful life.
And maybe, once I hugged those five kids who call me Mom and scaled those mountains of laundry that grew tall in my absence, I’d dig out my old hiking boots and set them by the door. ‘Cause sometimes we just need a simple reminder to keep looking for joy on the path beneath our feet.
Dear Lord, I want to find joy in the life You’ve planned for me. Give me strength to follow and obey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:12b, “… I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation …” (NIV)