Trusting the path you're on.
There are many times I've wished it were true. If only the difficulty of the path I'm walking on could be a trusted sign that somehow I've gotten sidetracked or taken a wrong turn or have ended up going the wrong way. It's so easy to believe that if I'm trying to find the right path and doing everything I know to go the right way, then the gentleness of the path itself should create some kind of affirmation in my heart that I am indeed on course. Usually I'm thinking if there is blessing and favor and a clear and easy place to walk, then I must certainly be headed the right way, and if not, then not. It just makes sense.
But on dark days when the wind is blowing like crazy, it’s really easy to start second guessing myself, not just my current circumstances, but even decisions I've made when I know I was being clearly led by God himself. Why is it I always feel great about the path I’m on when it looks like I want it to look? But when I’m walking in the dark in pain and feeling deeply discouraged, somehow that has to be a clear sign that I must have missed a turn or an exit because this certainly can’t be the right way anymore. What if that’s not true? What if the places along the path I’m following that feel the worst are actually a clear and certain sign that I’m right on course?
When I'm following a well-marked path in the woods, I'm always looking for the colored blaze on a tree to know the way. I might not see it for a long distance, but eventually I'll see it again and know everything is well. Sometimes the stretches between the last blaze and the next one can be extremely difficult, strenuous, and draining. In those moments I'm not doubting the path I'm on. I know it's still the right path. I may be wishing the path was easier or less painful or rocky or steep. That's a different thing entirely. Wishing the path was easier is completely different than not knowing if the path I'm on is the right one. If I didn't have the blazes to follow, it would be very tempting to assume that I had lost my way when faced with so much hardship. Unfortunately, the path I'm following in life sometimes doesn't feel as well marked as the paths I've followed in the woods on many occasions. Sometimes the path is so difficult and painful and confusing that it becomes very hard for me to believe that I'm still on track.
The truth is, my path as well as yours, is not an arbitrary one. It follows a very specific set course intended to bring me to a certain place. That destination is not a geographic location but an internal state. A place of higher trust and deeper peace and more joy and greater love. On this steep and challenging course there are no colored blazes to affirm the way. The real markers that I have to reference are not affixed to trees or outlined on the trail, but they are readily apparent if I look within. No matter how painful or difficult or overwhelming my path has been, if it is bringing me to a place of higher trust, then I am assured that the path is true. Even if I feel completely spent and undone and immobilized on the way, if I am finding deeper peace as a result, then the right path has not eluded me. In the same way, when the path is all down hill, clear and bright with gentle breezes and joy surrounding me, I know without a doubt that this is the path. Even when storms and darkness and hardship come my way, if I am finding greater love as a result, then they are a welcome reminder that I have not lost my way. In fact, they are rock-solid proof that I have absolutely found it.
Scripture to consider - Psalm 16:11 - Now you've got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I'm on the right way.
As you walk this journey today, how has your current path been a source of fear or confusion or disappointment or frustration? What ways has God used the path you've been walking to teach you deeper trust and show you his love in a different way?
If you could change one thing about the way you've been walking, what would it be?
How will you invite God to guide you in this endeavor of trusting?
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
―Corrie Ten Boom
“The hard path is often the right one. The river teaches more than the shore.”
― Maxime Lagacé
“A path is not something you're on. A path is what you are.”
"The best way to find out whether you're on the right path? Stop looking at the path."
“Trust is the first step to love.
A simple prayer for Expecting:
Father, I thank you for making the way clear to me. Give me courage and grace when I face situations and circumstances that seem impossible. Thank you for being my guide every step of the way. More than anything teach me to love the path I'm following because I am always with you.