I wrote draft one of this poem almost five years ago with the retreat theme of “joy” in mind. As I’ve hit a great number of bumps since then, the message of true joy has become even clearer to me. So, with a few twists and bends, the Holy Spirit has inspired my pen to present it to you with a fresh message. I don’t doubt that in five more years, it will need some tweaking again.
Our lives are constantly changing, and the Lord loves us too much to keep us immature in our faiths. The questions for us are almost always the same, however, no matter what bend in the road: Will we do things our own way or His way? Do we trust Him to lead us where we need to be? Are we walking in His light right now, or do we need to walk away from something taking His place? Have I made Him the center of my life?
I’m praying for each one of You, that You will take the time to ask yourself those questions. The Lord already knows the answers, and He’s willing to lead you to them if you’ll only ask. I have experienced first-hand doing life my own way...trying to find pleasure in stuff this world offers, looking for other fulfillment when His way gets too difficult. It’s in the memory of those mistakes that I care enough to share these words. I hope you will consider them.
By LauraLee Shaw
I was driving down life’s freeway,
Unhappy, no pleasure in sight.
When all at once, I saw a sign:
“Joy Boulevard, NEXT RIGHT.”
Joy Boulevard, I thought...
Then felt immediately compelled--
“I must turn right, I can’t resist,”
So I swerved to hit Joy’s trail.
At first, I was speeding ‘long nicely,
Sheer elation running through my brain;
Reality interrupted with a rude, loud POP!
And I jerked to the caution lane.
Before I knew it, a car appeared,
He said his name was ‘Ease.’
“I’ll change your tire, give you every desire;
Just hand me over your keys.”
Behind me, I suddenly heard a commotion--
I turned to see a stampede...
Car after car, lined up in a row,
Waiting to fill my need.
There was ‘Money’ and ‘Success,’
‘Marriage’ and the usual suspects.
Behind them were others,
like ‘Comfort’ and ‘Rest.’
‘All Smiles,’ ‘Best Friend,’ and ‘Security’
Were honking at ‘Good Job’ and ‘Serenity.’
IT WAS TOTAL CHAOS AND CONFUSION!
I heard a still small voice begin its persuasion:
What were you thinking?
There’s no true, lasting joy in this traffic.
All of these vehicles, while eager to please,
Will only serve as ‘joy static.’
So I got out of my car and grabbed my spare.
Took me over an hour to complete.
Then I jingled my keys, waved the traffic on by,
And jumped into the driver’s seat.
When at last all the cars had passed me by,
I was tempted to follow them home.
Then I saw a blood red blinking sign,
“Back to Life’s Freeway, NEXT ROAD.”
My car was the only exiting that day,
Resisting JOY Boulevard’s appeal.
But that moment I experienced truest joy,
As I gave the Holy Spirit the wheel.
Whoops, there’s a bump and a curve in the road,
The gas tank is running low.
Engine’s due for an oil change,
And the lane is uncomfortably narrow...
But I’ll accept these challenges on life’s highway,
No more detours for me;
His fruit of joy will drive me along,
Providing all that I need for my journey.
“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from You I have no good thing.’
The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Psalm 16:2, 4 & 11