There is a poem by Robert Frost which I studied on more than one occasion in my younger years. Every so often I find myself coming back to it again. The poem is called The Road Not Taken and it has had a lasting impact on my life.
Mr. Frost describes having to make a choice that he would only likely get to make once. He had to choose a way forward (a direction in life) when the trail unexpectedly split before him during his walk in the woods.
By his description, there was nothing inherently wrong with either path but even though he would have liked to travel both, in the moment he could only choose one.
Sometimes in life we are faced with difficult choices. They both look like good choices and both paths may seem inviting. Yet we know that we can only choose one or the other. How do we choose?
We want to be led of the spirit and move in the direction of God's divine plan for our lives but how do we determine which way that is?
I have had to make some decisions like this over the years and these decisions are the hardest to make. It is easy when we can see "Danger," "Beware" or "Pitfall Ahead" signs painted as warning before us along the wrong path. When we sense trouble, we know not to take that route. It is when both ways look good that we struggle with our choice.
God has given me some keys which I want to share with you. Hopefully you will find them as useful as I have.
Remember, God has a P.L.A.N. for your life.
Key #1: Peace Out ;)
Yes, I said peace out ... but I don't mean quit or leave or choose not to choose; which too many people decide to do by the way and end up remaining stuck in their lives, never moving forward. Don't do that.
By Peace Out I am referring to a lesson my pastor taught me early in my walk with the Lord and that is to be ruled by the umpire of peace. The Holy Spirit gives us peace. In fact it is one of the fruits of the spirit and in the midst of our busy lives, we must learn to cultivate this fruit.
Peace can be described as a sense of calm in our hearts which is not dependent on our circumstances. To feel it we must learn to get quiet before the Lord and listen or feel for it in our hearts. When that sense of calm is not present, we should not move forward.
In the case of making a choice between two good things, we can ask ourselves this question, "in five years, which of these two paths would I regret not taking if I could never come back to this place again?" That can help us locate where we have the greater sense of peace.
Key # 2 is Lean In to Truth
Let's face it, there is no way forward on a path that contradicts the word of God. When in doubt, lean in to your word and as God to reveal if there is anything along either path which would cause you to have to compromise who you are in Him or what you stand for as a believer.
Every time we step out in a new venture (even one the Lord is leading us down) we must always count the cost so that we know we will make it to the end. Luke 14:28 says, "So don’t follow me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it?"
This is not about opting out. You still need a place to live, so you are still going to build the house, but you are going to gather all the tools, resources and help and support you need so that once you start building, you are able to complete it.
Each path is different and has different obstacles to overcome ... the word of God is our standard for truth and it will give us direction and wisdom so that we make the best decision for us.
Key #3 is to Abide in Christ
Walking with the Lord is not an on-again, off-again proposition. Jesus shouldn't be used as a tour guide we check in with only when we get lost or confused.
Abiding in Christ is a daily (all day) thing. It is a discipline. When we are IN Him we can hear Him clearly and we can be easily lead down the path best suited for us.
Ask Him which way He wants to go. He loves to be with us and He loves to lead us into divine appointments with destiny.
Key #4 is to Navigate from our heavenly seat
We must Rise Above the fog (or in this analogy the forest).
Sometimes we can be so deep in the forest that we can't see clearly through the trees.
But we forget that we live in two realms at the same time. We live in our physical bodies as well as in Christ who is seated in heavenly places. We are not confined to one physical location and therefore only one visual perspective. It is time that we learn to live in our supernatural state and look at our lives through the finished work of the cross.
When we rise above, we can see the whole trail. We can see our future self and recognize the route it will take for us to get there. It is easier to choose the next step forward when we point ourselves in the direction of destiny.
I hope these keys help you the way they have helped me. If you feel stuck or if you have any questions about anything I've said, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm here to listen and am happy to pray you through.
Until next week remember that you are loved and deeply cherished by Jesus and by me.