conesSome robotic traffic cones can be programmed to move on their own. For example, if workers arrive at 6 a.m., the cones could move from the shoulder to block off the lane at that time, then return to the side of the road at the end of the day. The robots are placed at the bottom of the cones and are small enough not to greatly alter their appearance. Well that’s OK then! At least we won’t lose the familiarity of their delightful shape and colour – it’s bad enough that we might be shunted into line by a cone with a mind of its own.

Being told where to go and what to do is not something many of us like. It can make us unreasonably angry to be ordered about, especially for no apparent reason, on the roads and elsewhere. It feels an infringement of our independence. When there are usually many more complicated and significant threats to our freedom, it’s easy, and possibly helpful, to vent our frustration on the more trivial limitations which are imposed on us.

Most of us want to be in charge of our own destiny. Indeed the biblical story about the behaviour of Adam and Eve in the Garden indicates that it’s always been part of human nature. Taking the fruit against God’s orders was symbolic of a desire to leave nothing up to God. But Jesus suggests that real life is not to be had in holding on to our freedom. It begins instead with letting go our desire for independence and allowing God to guide and direct us.

Letting go of our resistance to following directions from beyond ourselves and allowing ourselves to be guided in unplanned directions has its rewards. Possibly too, discovering the value of responding this way in the big things will mean we’re not so aggravated by life’s less important irritations.

Read: Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. (1 Peter 2.16)

Rejoice: in the range of choices each day brings

Reflect: in what areas of my life am I most conscious of resisting God’s guidance?

Remember: God sees a wider picture than I do.

Resolve: to listen to suggestions other people – and God – may make about my life.

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