It’s Easy to Get Sidetracked

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Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

Life speaks to us metaphorically all the time. Consider the word “sidetracked.”

The Online Etymology Dictionary (not the bug book) says the word is from the old railroad days (1874) when a “side-track” or railway siding allowed train cars to move onto a sidetrack.

The figurative sense as in “to divert from the main purpose” is referenced from around 1881, says OED.

I know for a fact that it’s easy to get sidetracked. No engineers or switches required.

The Bible tells us to carefully choose the path or road we take in life.

I’ve often wondered about different paths and have been diverted by interesting looking frontage roads. Sometimes I’ve looked to the horizon when what I needed was right in front of me.

My pastor says if we’re looking for direction or some place to serve, check out what is “right here.” Then he waves his hand in front of his face.

Yes, that’s a pretty good way of putting it.

God doesn’t hide His will for us in a deep dark cave and dare us to find it. I believe he makes it clear—if we’re paying attention.

A group of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs 4:25-27, NLT – “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”

So why is it that I’m sometimes tempted to jump onto one of those “side-tracks?”

It may be the human condition which is why I was so encouraged last week when I read Psalm 25:4-5 in the New Living Translation:

Show me the right path, O LORD;
Point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
For you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.

I typed this verse out and taped copies in key places around the house. Like on the bathroom mirror where I’ll see it first thing in the morning. It’s a great reminder.

Do you have a favorite verse that speaks to your heart? Try printing it out (or writing it if you have legible handwriting) and taping it in places you’ll see it.

Life is full of diversions. We need all the reminders we can get.


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A Change of Scenery by author Davalynn SpencerTurning away from the barn, Cale struck out on a southerly trail that led up to the ridge. Ella followed close behind. He’d prefer to have her beside him, where he could look at her, see her smart little chin and dark eyes. But unfamiliar with the country, she belonged behind him in the dark.

Reflexively, he reassured himself by touching the rifle sheathed beneath his right leg. His revolver rested against his thigh. Not that he expected trouble, but neither would he be unprepared.

Doc took to the loose shale like a big horn sheep, Barlow just as sure-footed behind him. The night slid by degree toward the western mountain peaks, stars winking out to gray in its wake.

At the top, he reined in and Ella came up beside him. Doc blew a triumphant snort and bobbed his head. Barlow pricked her ears to the east as if listening for the sun’s footsteps.

Ella remained silent, her face trained toward the horizon where a russet thread pulled along its edge.

A wren sang out. Its cousins joined, and soon a chorus filled the cedars and pines around them.

A slow, fiery orange split the seam between earth and sky, and Ella’s breathy oh cinched him again. A hot stain burned into his chest, and grateful that she couldn’t see him clearly, he slid his right hand beneath his vest and rubbed the spot.

The fire bled to gold that bled to pink, and light broke through a low band of clouds throwing spires into the sky.

“If I take the wings of the morning …” ~A Change of SceneryBook 5 of The Cañon City Chronicles


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