Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Road Taken

The immortal words of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” are some of the most quoted in poetry. The road not taken leaves the poet looking back with a “sigh,” but he also believes that choosing the lesser-traveled road made “all the difference” in his life.

Of course, there are two takes on the poet’s meaning. Did he make the right choice, or did he make the wrong one?

The other day, I was talking about this with my brother. His practical interpretation is probably the best I’ve ever heard. “I think he took the right one,” he said, “but even when you make the right decision, you still look back with a sigh sometimes.”

Leaving an established job and taking a step of faith. Parting with a friend because your paths are going separate directions. Saying no because even though it hurts, your heart tells you that it’s the right choice. Life is full of bittersweets.

A new year is ahead, and I want to challenge you with something Andy Stanley said. This simple truth can make all the difference in the road we take.

He said, “Attention establishes direction which determines destination.” There’s a three-fold challenge for us in those words.

1.     Attention: What are we focusing on, and is our focus where it should be? What goals are we working toward this year, and are we seeking God’s guidance in achieving them?

2.     Direction: What we focus on will determine where we are going. It’s a cause and effect. Look back over the last year. What choices did we make, and what can we learn from them? Do we need to adjust our course? Where we are today was where our attention was yesterday.

3.     Destination: Our focus shapes our journey and takes us to our terminus. A few cases in point:

·       If we decide to make pasta and sauce, we shouldn’t except to get steak instead of spaghetti. If we forget to stir the pasta, the noodles might clump, but it will still be spaghetti.

·       If we desire a certain achievement and take intentional steps to achieve it, we will grow closer to reaching that goal. We may fail along the way, but many people fail their way to eventual success.

·       If we earnestly spend time with God in prayer and His Word each day, we should trust and not fear the plan He reveals for our lives. Our steps may falter, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t guiding us.
Make it personal. My attention establishes my direction and determines my destination. You and I are responsible for the path we take. We can’t blame circumstances or anyone else.

We choose the road we travel. Let’s not dwell on the one we didn’t take. That’s in the past.

The one we take now will make all the difference in the year ahead.