What do you think about shortcuts? I am often quick to bail on my planned route and go for a shortcut. The older I get I worry about Lost Time. So I try to make up as much time as possible with shortcuts, especially if I am late. I am often late. Sometimes shortcuts pan out, and sometimes they don’t.
My sister-in-law teaches middle school students, and was recently teaching her students how to map out an essay or paper with an outline.
(Pause: God bless middle school teachers… REAL GOOD)
Remember outlines? It forces you to think through your entire paper from beginning to end. That way you know the end from the beginning, and nothing gets left out along the way. I don’t like outlines. Have you ever known anyone who did? I think most of us just wrote our outlines after we finished the paper. It was a shortcut, but did it benefit us? We saw outlines as a waste of our time, not as the writing aid they are intended to be.
I don’t think shortcuts are always bad. I love them in the kitchen. If it were not for canned, frozen or boxed foods my family would have starved a long time ago. That, or I would have been forced to cook things from…. SCRATCH!
My second son was recently overcome with admiration when his grandmother made some cupcakes but found she didn’t have any pre-made frosting in the pantry, so she made her own from ingredients in her kitchen. I’m thinking that in the time it took her to whip that up, I would have just driven to the store and bought some-
mostly because I have no idea how to make frosting.
Life change through an encounter with Christ happens in an instant, and for that I am eternally grateful. A relationship with Him has to build over time. Over a lifetime. There are no real quick fixes. There’s no new book, no conference, no sermon preached that could act as a shortcut to knowing Christ.
There are still times when I attempt to help my kids find a quicker route to get them farther down the road in their relationship with Jesus. I try to pack their heads full of knowledge with books and studies, give them opportunities to serve Him, and we talk as often as I think they can stand it on the ways of God.
If I am honest, it’s a desperate attempt on my part to offer them a shortcut in their relationship with the Creator.
Every once in a while I am reminded that my relationship with Him has taken decades to marinate and grow, and that any relationship they have with Christ will have to be made from scratch. There are no shortcuts.
It will require effort on their parts. It will insist on eyes to see and ears to hear. A heart open to change and a mind that is open to His way of thinking. And experiences. I can and do share mine with them, but they won’t grow in their relationship based on my experiences with God. Not really.
It will be their own experiences with Him that will do the most for their relationship with Him. Only God knows their end from their beginning and I don’t want them to miss out on any part of their journey because of a short cut.