Tangent: diversion from an original purpose or course
Tonight I heard someone use this word, a word I rarely hear used in this way, and immediately it brought back major memories...Memories of my last 2 years of college & a certain professor that I shall never forget. By the time I graduated I had taken at least 3 or 4 of this professor's classes. On the first day of each of them she would warn her students that she had tendencies to go off on tangents while speaking, and to feel free to raise our hand & yell "tangent!" to remind her to get back on topic.
Now, you would have to understand the personality of this particular teacher. She was a very sweet lady, but was the true definition of a geek. (I'm not being mean. She would even stake claim to this description.) To add to the "geekness", she also lived in the country & had things like pet donkeys, goats, a bazillion dogs, etc. So.....when she went off on tangents, normally no one was going to bring her back, because they were often down right entertaining. However, there were a few times, for example while reviewing for tests we'd be taking the next day, that one of us would do as she said and yell out "tangent!" Usually, she would apologize and then return back to the original topic.
When I heard this word used today though, it brought another thought to my mind. Tangents aren't just diversions in conversation. They can also happen in life. I am thankful for all the ministerial opportunities I have had. All the opportunities I had during Bible college..The mission trips I have participated in...The chance to work at TCM. However, over the years there is something that has greatly pricked my heart: The many people that have told me, "I had felt to go to Bible school, but...". Or "When I was younger I felt God calling me to the mission field, but..." Or, "Working at TCM was always a dream of mine, but..."
"But..." This word breaks my heart. Grant it, many of the reasons have involved something I still desire for my life, getting married & having kids, but I don't want that at the expense of getting off track of the path I know God has destined me to be on. If He decides to bless me and let that be a part of it, it will happen, and it will be God ordained, but I believe that dating someone without the same burdens or desires as myself will lead me straight to a lifetime of saying "but"; therefore I have chosen not to do so.
I don't know, I guess I'd rather have many more "ands" in my life than "buts" if possible. Rather than say, "But I didn't go" or "But I changed my mind", I would much rather have the chance to say "And then God supplied" or "And then God opened that door".
Tangents. Have you ever been on one? Are you on one now? What has God spoken to you about? Did you marry before you had a chance to begin what he was speaking to you about? Have you ever spoken to your spouse about it? Share your dreams & visions with that person. You never know how God may have in the past or may even now be dealing with him or her.
Perhaps you are single. Learn to hear God's voice and to understand what direction He wants to take you. Then commit to only dating people walking in that same direction. Also commit to doing all you can to prepare yourself for whatever He has spoken to you about.
I'm not talking about just callings such as being a missionary, pastor, music director, etc. It could be that God has dealt with you to be a doctor, nurse, military chaplain, etc. Or maybe you are already on a career path and content, but there's a gnawing you continually feel, perhaps to assist at a soup kitchen, help a widow in need, or be a father-like figure to a fatherless child.
Some tangents may take a while to recover from. Others are simply a matter of making a decision, then acting on it.
May you do a better job at living a tangent free life than my professor did at giving a tangent free lecture. God bless.
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. ~Proverbs 4:25-27