On a drive recently, I took notice off all the different terrains that people travel on. As we drove along the highway, a saw cars on sideroads, dirt roads, and even grassy paths. I figured since it was something I see frequently, and my attention was been drawn into it, there must be something more that I am suppose to learn from it.
There are times when our path seems like a major freeway, busy and full of others traveling in the same direction. Life can seem busy and full of life as we journey along with others. It is easy to just go with the flow, because everyone else appears to be going in the same flow. I feel like it is a season, that up until Co-Vid 19 many of us, myself included, lived on.
We didn’t take time to notice that the check engine light was one, our gas tank was running on fumes, and our oil was running dry. When life is going full throttle, it is to say, let me just get to the next exit or city before I stop to refuel. We just want to get a little bit farther.
At that speed, it is also hard to notice others around us, unless there is some major trouble that stops our flow like a collision or blow-out. We miss out on the things that are happening right next to use or the things that we are passing by. We fail to see our children struggling, our loved one’s pain, the need of a neighbor, or even the beautiful flowers that God has planted for us to take time and smell.
There are times in life the we need to travel the highway. We need to get somewhere fast. Multiple people need to reach a specific destination in a similar time frame. But we can not sustain that lifestyle and be effective in the world around us, the one that we are meant to influence.
Other times the path seems like a country road, comfortable and familiar. I used to drive a lot for my job and for family things. We lived in a rural area and although it was a highway, to me it was a country road because there wasn’t much traffic and at time the speed limit would slow as I passed through a small town. I would often be so comfortable with the drive, that I felt my car could go on auto pilot to the destination. I would not remember passing key points as I arrived at my destination.
Those times in life where things are comfortable and familiar are nice. We know what to expect. We journey the same path day in and day out. There is a routine to life. I love the structure that the country road provides. There are times it is fast, and times it is slow, but I know when and where those spots are.
The danger is that sometimes we get too comfortable on the country road. We can easily drift to sleep at the wheel if we are not paying attention. Life passes us by because we aren’t really looking. We know what to expect, and if there is not something that draws our attention from the routine, we may miss things that are right beside us or even in front of us.
When we operate in a comfortable and familiar routine, there is also little room for spontaneous. It is easier to make excuses because it doesn’t fit in our schedule. It is harder to step out into things that are outside of that comfort zone. It is harder to be redirected to take an alternate route where God might lead.
Other times it feels like a dirt road slow moving and bumpy. We were recently headed down to the creek and were on one of these long dirt roads. The car leading the caravan was not made for dirt roads. Moving so slowly made every bump seem bigger in my Jeep. Yet, there was not room to pass and so we drove feeling every bump along the way.
These times in life are rough. Just like our drive, they often feel as if they will never come to an end. Some bumps may just be a little rough, but others seem to jar our very being. The bumps often seem to come one after another, leaving us feeling that we might not make it through. It might be an illness, the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, a move, problems with our children, or even just a change like them leaving home.
It is important when we travel on those roads that we realize we don’t have to travel it alone. God is certainly with us, as He never leaves us. However, it is important that we stay close to others during those times so we don’t get lost along the way. Often times, there are turns that others can help us find that will make getting to the other side of the long bumpy road a little quicker. We might also learn where a slight move to the right or left will lessen the impact of the bump.
Other times the path might lead to an off-road adventure. I love the thrill of the adventure, but I am not brave enough to do it on my own. When I was younger, I had some friends that loved to take me off-roading. We would go places in their SUV that I wouldn’t dare even try to walk. There were times where I thought the vehicle might flip, and yet the thrill of the moment I was not scared but invigorated with the excitement.
I think sometimes, God would like us to spend a little more time off-roading with Him. He wants to show us the thrill of riding with Him. He wants to take us places we never thought we would go. He wants to thrill us with what He can do in and through us if we will just trust Him to drive.
Other times we find ourselves at a dead end road. There is nothing wrong with being on a dead end street, I live on one. There are only three people who drive on it, those who live there, those who are visiting, and those who need to turn around.
There will be times in life where we take a wrong turn, and come to a place where all we can do is turn around. It is important that we don’t set up residence in those places, because we can stay stuck there too long. If you find yourself in that dead end road, and realize that you have been there too long, it is okay to end your visit and head back the way you came. There is always the option of coming to a dead end, and just using it as a turning point to set off in a new direction.
Sometimes our path may take us over a bridge. Something that connects where we have been to where we are, with a definite transition between those spaces. Some bridges are sturdy and solid. Others sway with the wind and creak with every movement.
Life is full of many transitions throughout. We go from laying to sitting to standing. We move from liquid to solid foods. We transition through school grades. We transition from adolescence to adulthood. We transition between jobs. We even transition from life to death. Sometimes we move boldly through one phase of life to another. Other times we feel the ground move beneath us as we transition. We can rest assure, we will make it to the other side if we are willing to leave where we started.
Regardless of the path we find journey on we must remember He is faithful and we must remain faithful to Him. We must realize we can not go full speed constantly, even the Lord rested. We also can not get to comfortable with where we are. When we are going through long, bumpy seasons, we must remember that will not last forever, and it is the best time to seek guidance. If we let Him God will take us on an off road adventure if we let Him drive. And, if we reach what feels like a dead end, there is nothing wrong with turning around. There will be bridges in life that help us transition from one place to another.
It is easy to get on life’s path and not know when we need to stop for refueling or maintenance, but if we listen, God will direct us. It is easy to miss the things going on around us, but if we slow down and open our ears and our eyes, God will bless us and use us if we let Him. When life gets tough, remember we are not called to do life alone; God connects us with others to help us navigate those seasons. When we realize we took a wrong path, repent and go back, it’s only wrong if you stay there. We have to be willing to cross the bridge from one experience to another, God will help bridge the gap. Above all, remember that wherever we are on life’s path, know that He will never leave you and He wants to direct your path.