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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)

TITLE: Failure to Launch
By John Elliott


The past few weeks have been a part of a continuing lesson in priorities and teamwork. However, I seem to be caught up in the silly notion that I can do anything all by myself with no help from anyone else. Much like a small child feeding himself spaghetti for the first time, it has not been a pretty sight.

When a child feeds himself spaghetti for the first time, there is great satisfaction in being able to say that “I did it myself.” However, the flip side is that the child is often still hungry when all the spaghetti is gone. With spaghetti sauce all over their face and noodles strewn about, the child usually manages to get some food to the stomach, but most of it is in places that now need a parent to step in to finish the feeding job and clean up the mess. Otherwise, the sauce becomes a permanent stain and the child goes hungry.

So what is the lesson learned? Even though the child was given the chance to self-perform, the result is that today, they still need their parent to provide the necessary skill to ensure the sustenance gets to the desired location. Sometimes close is not close enough.

Like many in our world today, I find myself out of work. Just what does one do when no one is looking to hire your specific talents? Well, like many, I decided to start my own business. If you have ever started your own business, you know it is an exhausting procedure to blend all the facets of business into a coherent mass that has purpose, vision and most importantly, the ability to find someone willing to purchase whatever it is you are selling. After three months of work, I have crossed every stream presented to me and navigated through a dense forest of bureaucracy. Today I experienced the euphoria of receiving all of the required licensing from the state only to find that after setting up all the marketing, lining up a salesman and ensuring the plan was right, I am still short on funds to launch. So after spending thousands of dollars I did have, I am now short of the goal of getting this enterprise off of the ground. It is not that I did not plan, but rather, I did not estimate the cost of using other people’s money. To be succinct, people are holding on to their money a bit more tightly these days. Go figure.

Much like the child that does not quite have the coordination and focus necessary to feed himself, I have been walking a path where I did not recognize that there are things that need to be done that I am not capable of doing. I spent my time thinking, planning and executing instead of first praying. When my Father asked to help, I insisted on doing it myself as if to say my talent was sufficient. Now, like that little child at the end of the meal, my ego is satisfied, but oddly, I am still hungry. I point to my small accomplishment of getting some food in my stomach and ignore the fact that 95% of the food is somewhere else.

As every day should be, today is a day of prayer. Asking for forgiveness and asking for guidance are humbling exercises. I pray that when I get the answer, I will not be too proud to listen and execute the instructions, even if the instruction is to rest. In the meantime, I hope that my Father is laughing at the sauce and cleaning up.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/09/09
Love the spaghetti metaphor that you used throughout! This is a very good devotional.