How do you keep your eyes on the prize when it seems SOOO far out of reach? How do you keep showing up to the gym, day after day, when it seems improvement is so slow? How in the world do you keep depriving yourself of chocolate, or overindulgence, when the scale seems to barely budging every week? I will tell you. It’s less about the path, and more about the destination.
There is no way to really have peace during trials if you aren’t sure of where you are headed. There is no way you can motivate yourself without a reward. This could be in reference to a battle with your weight or just ‘yucky life’ stuff. Either way, you MUST know, without a shadow of a doubt where you are headed, and that you are on the right path. If not, you will live in despair, with hopelessness, guilt, shame and/or disappointment because you are not where you know you should be.
I can’t take A1A to California. It’s impossible. A1A runs north and south, not east and west. So, if I want to get to California from Vero Beach, Florida, I have to map it and follow the right paths given to me. Can I go off course? Sure, I can make some pitstops. I can veer off the route to explore on the way there – BUT how often I get off course, how often I stop and hang out, and how often I get lost will only prolong my arrival to my final destination.
So, what am I trying to say here? We need to learn to celebrate life on the way to where we are headed. We need to learn to be patient. If you don’t know for sure if you are on the right path, then you need to stop in your tracks and think about where you want to end up. Once you decide where you want to be, you can begin to map out the course. However, if you are choosing the course (and not the destination), you better look to see where that course is taking you – because, chances are, it’s not where you want to end up.
“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
I believe many people choose the course that looks the the best, without any thought of where it leads. Thomas Merton said it best when he said, “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” This is the epitome of what I’m trying to say here. If we want a specific result, we need to look at the desired result and work backwards. We choose the wall, before we start climbing the ladder.
If you know in your heart you are doing the right thing, you are on the right path (no matter how difficult), it’s a lot easier to have patience with the process, and enjoy the journey. If you know in your heart you aren’t on the right path, it’s not too late to turn it around and reroute your life so you are back on track.
“For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many…but the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
I believe that the biggest rewards have the narrowest, toughest path – but they are also the straightest path (getting you to your destination the fastest AS LONG AS YOU STAY ON COURSE).
Just the fact that the narrow path is normally difficult is why it’s not a path well traveled. People avoid it. Christians talk about the narrow path to heaven, but it applies to many areas of our life. Even if you don’t really want to hear biblical principles for spiritual reasons, you can still learn a LOT from scripture – and I PROMISE it will give you excellent direction for your life. For instance, there is a narrow path to a good lasting marriage. There is a narrow path to taking care of your body and staying healthy. There is a narrow path to a successful career. There is no easy wide well-traveled paths to greatness. The path exists, but it rarely takes you any where good. Like the verse says, if “the gate is wide, the way is easy and it leads to destruction”. Scripture warns us ahead of time of the warning signs, “BEWARE of the easy road”. Instead, many of us still try that path anyway. Like we don’t believe God – but you know what they say “if it’s too easy to be true, it normally is”.
However, people still tend to take every other path first before they finally decide to give it a go. The take diet pills, they try to work off the body fat with exercise to avoid discipline in the kitchen. They try everything, and normally try the “narrow path” only when they’ve exhausted every other route that leads to a dead end. In fitness, the right path is hard work and self-discipline. You can’t do what you want, and eat what you want, and get to where you want to go in the time you want.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or enjoy the journey but, like TD Jakes said “Greatness costs what it costs“. You decide what’s more important. Do you care more about enjoying the path, or enjoying the destination? If your destination is great, then it costs what it costs and you will gladly pay the price because you know it will be worth it.
Celebrate your trials. Celebrate your progress, no matter how slow or difficult, not because of where you ARE – but because of where you’re GOING.