Life is complex and beautiful. It is cavernous and yet concise. Life is complicated. Of this I’m sure. It bends; it bows. Life is full of twists and turns and dead-end roads. Every interaction is a new intersection; some are well defined while others are only known by the locals. It takes good neighbors and good hands to guide us along our way.
Robert Frost once wrote a poem about a diverging path where often life will lead us to make tough choices. It’s the fear of failure and the doubt of the right decision that causes us to linger still. What is it that we think about, Haste makes waste? How about, slow and steady wins the race?
Where do we get these ideas of how to make wise decisions? Is it from our parents? Society? Education? Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
This is how we have learned how to do life. For better or worse, our biases are built in the quarries of culture paved in the thoroughfares of history. These are the phrases that we have learned from our parents and society, these are those that sit in the back of our minds prompting us to make wise decisions.
Going back to the poem by Frost there is a line that says, “and be one traveler, long I stood”. This reveals the anxious nature of a person when two decisions are placed in front of them. But, is it really anxious to plan your way? Biblically speaking, this is precisely how we should decide our course – in calculated planning.
Proverbs 14:8 says, “the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” The way might seem right because the road is heavily trafficked by the masses, but if you are not careful it can end up more like a blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14) situation. This is possibly where a person’s anxious thoughts come into view. Should I follow the crowd, or believe one way, because social media tells me what to think, or do I forge my own path in search of the real truth?
Every generation struggles in the search for truth. Ever since Pilate and Jesus had their discourse in John 18 where Jesus said, “I have come to bear witness to the truth and everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Whether a retort, or a probing question, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)
We do one thing, one way, and still yet another thing, another way, because it is the way that it has always been done. Is it for ease of access, simplicity, stubbornness, or laziness? A lazy follower will follow the leader right into a pit with no way of escape. Give thought to your way that you will not fall prey to deception like the proverb says. Sure, your decision might take you down the path of the crowd as being the real truth, but do not always assume that the more people the greater the truth.
The road less traveled is not often easy. In fact, I would surmise that things worth doing rarely are easy. Attempt to view your life from a distance. How will your life be affected in five years, 10 years, or 50 years? Who will be affected by your decision, and how will they be affected?