Life Lessons for Effective Living
by Gearl Spicer
Last week, I decided to head out before the morning sun for a walk, since I had many tasks to accomplish that day. As I was navigating the sidewalk, I stumbled into a giant spider web. My response to this universal experience was to frantically brush, until all traces of the web were gone. It was quite a sight to behold! I resumed my walk, but within the first few strides I found myself face-to-face with a hefty spider, which had taken up residence on the brim of my hat. Needless to say, I was not interested giving this tiny foe a ride, and swiftly removed and subdued him.
Haven’t we all found ourselves in this situation? We walk out the door with confidence, but encounter spider webs that alter our course. My recent experience caused me to think about why spider webs are so fiercely disliked. Maybe it’s that we cannot anticipate them, or that the sticky silk on our skin has a disturbing effect on us. But perhaps it is chiefly the terrifying truth that, even when we think we’re free of the web, spiders can stick around to haunt us.
In the dense black of night, even our well-intentioned steps can lead us into a spidery trap. I was trying to be a good steward of my time that morning, but the most effective thing I could have done for my life would have been to wait and walk in the light of day, so I could see with clarity. In my circumstance, there were unavoidable obstacles on an otherwise good course. Others may be caught in webs because of an intentional choice to walk an unwise path. So, how do we work to avoid these webs, and how do we minimize the damage of the inevitable ones?
In order to avoid webbed pathways, we must learn how to make the choice to walk on the right path. The correct path will be determined by knowing your desired destination. Think of it this way: if we take the pathway of anxiety, we will never arrive at the destination of peace. If we take the path of fiscal irresponsibility, we will never arrive at security. In the same way, if we take the shadowy path of the unwise, we will never end up in the light of effectiveness. Our chosen paths will transform our lives, for better or worse. The lighted path of wisdom significantly reduces our chances of unforeseen entrapments.
What about the unavoidable webs that stretch across even the wise paths? The truth is, of course, that there is nothing we can do to avoid all darkness. Webs and spiders show up for all of us, perhaps in the form of relational conflicts, or financial troubles, or the loss of a loved one. They are unexpected, and they affect us in a big way. What we must learn in these times is to recognize a web for what it is, and to engage it quickly and rightly. Simply avoiding the spider doesn’t make it disappear. Call it out for what it is, refuse to associate with it, and choose not to participate in the web of deception. If we choose to walk in the wise path, we can have the confidence to move through and past these difficulties without wavering.
The day I ran into that spider web I was out exercising, because I understand physical exercise is important. However, I believe it is infinitely more important to my life that I exercise wisdom. If I do not walk in wisdom, I will miss all that God intends for me and be rendered utterly ineffective. In the end, the only sure way to walk in wisdom is to seek after God, who is the source of all wisdom. With Him, we can make every day count, navigate with clear instructions, and know that there is always grace available to prevail against the darkness.
Perhaps you’re reading this today, and you’re confused about which path to take. Maybe you’re weary of trying to blindly dodge webs, only to end up trapped yet again. My challenge to you is this: examine God’s Word, engage Him in prayer, and find a local body of believers to encourage you as you navigate your life’s path. These three simple steps will allow you to walk in assurance of your chosen path and will remove all fear of the webs that seek to ensnare you.