There are No Shortcuts to Anyplace Worth Going
Glynnis Whitwer

"Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house." Ecclesiastes 10:18 (NLT)

Life for a boy is measured in milestones. The first time you wear "big boy" underwear. The first time you are tall enough to ride a roller coaster. And the first time you eat a Big Mac meal all by yourself. For my youngest son Robbie, the last milestone came at age 6. And it also came with a life-message about the danger of shortcuts.

For a first grader, lunch in the cafeteria is a novelty. With two older brothers, Robbie knew it meant I would be joining him occasionally with a special lunch instead of his normal sandwich and fruit. He couldn't wait for his turn to have Mommy show up with lunch hidden in a paper bag, stamped with a familiar golden arch. The first time I did, he was thrilled.

Robbie majestically created a plate from the paper wrapping, dumped the fries onto the "plate," and sampled his soda. Like a king on his throne, he surveyed his lunch. Then Robbie dug in with abandon to his double-decker burger. And just as quickly, secret sauce started dripping down his little fingers.

He caught some with his tongue, but surplus sauce still oozed down his hands. I could see his shirt about to become a dining accessory, and started rustling through the bag and under wrappers. "Wait Robbie, I'm sure I brought some napkins," I said.

"It's okay Mommy," Robbie said raking his fingers through his hair. "My hair is a napkin." He grinned, thoroughly pleased with himself.

I stared. Speechless.

That was a teachable moment for me. You see, I didn't know I had to tell my children not to use their hair as a napkin. Now I know.

I learned something else from that experience. Convenience trumps correct almost every time when children are small. Which is why dirty clothes get dropped on the floor directly in front of the hamper. Or glasses get set on the counter above the dishwasher. Bad habits are easily formed, and it seems in our human nature to choose ease over diligence, quick over thorough.

Sadly, with enough choices like that, we end up with a life-culture of shallow rather than deep. Instead of pushing through to the next level of excellence, we settle. Instead of the few extra seconds it takes to find a napkin, we use our hair. And then we wonder why things aren't the way we wish they were.

I catch myself looking for the occasional short cut. But I've discovered there are no short cuts to anyplace worth going.

I'll never have a clean home unless I get to work. I'll never save money unless I shop smarter. I'll never be an excellent writer unless I sharpen my skills. I'll never be a great wife or mother unless I make it a priority. I will never wake up one day and find that my dreams have become a reality, unless I'm willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

Besides a good story, Robbie's "My hair is a napkin" experience is a great lesson. It reminds me that convenience isn't always best. Shortcuts don't always work. And I've still got a lot to learn about parenting and life.

Dear Lord, I praise You today for who You are. You are worthy of my best efforts. Forgive me when I try to take a shortcut in serving You. Help me to remember that Your way isn't always the easy way. But it's the best way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
When Your Child is Hurting by Glynnis Whitwer

P31 Woman magazine offers monthly encouragement in living a God-honoring life.

Visit Glynnis’ blog for more encouragement!

Six Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathy Reimer & Lisa Whittle
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Application Steps:
Identify one area of your life that needs more work. What two things can you do this week to make small positive changes in that area?

What "shortcuts" have you taken in life that proved to be bad decisions?

Why are shortcuts seldom helpful when pursuing the dreams in our hearts?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 13:4, "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." (NIV)

Proverbs 31:27, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (NIV)

© 2010 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved. 

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Anonymous Lorraine Furtner said...

I love your posts! I read them aloud to my family. We laughed out loud and learned something too. Wonderful. Thank you.

Blogger PeculiarMommaof5 said...

Say 'Amen' or 'Ouch' somebody. Wise words my Sister!! That's real talk!!!
Love it!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God's way is always ALWAYS worth the time. Idle hands truly are the devil's workshop and the enemy tricks us into thinking we deserve to take short cuts. You are so right that shortcuts never work out and create havoc and not the peace that God desires for us! Thank you!

Anonymous Laura said...

"You are worthy of my best efforts." Wow. Thank you for this devotion Glynnis. I am printing it out and putting it on my bulletin board. I feel that it is just for me today! Joy to you this weekend!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you are aware, but your title is a quote attributed to a wonderful lady who advocated for children with special needs, while and after retiring from an operatic career. Just thought you might want to know. Btw, her story is quite inspirational.

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." ~Beverly ‘Bubbles’ Sills, American operatic soprano, (1929-2007)~

Blogger Becky Avella said...

This was so convicting for me today. I'm printing it and saving it, too. Thank you, Glynnis.

Anonymous Iris said...

Every time I think to give up on what I am working on, I come across a devotion on Proverbs 31 that encourages me to keep going when all I want to do is stop. Everything in me tells me that I am not smart enough, good enough, strong enough, and I’ll never make it. I know God's word tells me otherwise in my mind, but it’s not in my heart. The only questions I repeatedly ask God is why me and why did He make me like this. Why couldn’t I have been someone else. Smarter, talented and gifted. A person that could be a quick learner rather than the slow learner that I am. But, because God used you to encourage me, I will be able to move forward another day. Thank you very much. You don’t have any idea what your devotion has done for me today. I appreciate it.


Anonymous Amy C said...

Speaking straight to me! I have been praying this for the past two days!

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

Sisters, thank you for your precious comments today. We are iron sharpening iron, as we encourage each other with our stories and the sharing of God's Word.

Your comments today spur on all those who read them. Not only am I blessed, but so are the hundreds who will read your words, and nod "Amen!"

May the Lord bless you!

Blogger Mama Mpira said...

PeculiarMommaof5, that really IS what I thought. In fact, it was going to be my only comment until I saw yours!
Wise words, Glynnis, which cut sharp. I am not a lazy person but I still need this reminder to 'get my act together', get off the computer RIGHT NOW and start the long overdue cleaning I had promised myself would get done this morning. Instead, guess what I have been doing? Yes, restoring my soul with Proverbs 31 wisdom but there are indeed still no shortcuts to a (relatively) clean house!

Blogger T-Reese said...

AWESOME WORD INDEED!!!! Thank you for blessing me with this today. I truly needed to hear it.

Blogger Unknown said...

Just discovered this website and your blog. Funny...this post was something I needed to hear. And to have such great scripture to refer to, write down, and post on my refrigerator as a reminder of God's expectations of us. Thank you for being obedient to God's calling and for listening to the Holy Spirit with what messages need to be told. God bless you!

Blogger Unknown said...

Really needed to read this today, and to see the scriptures. Thank you for being used by the Lord and keeping up the blogs.

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