Because I’m familiar with my daughter’s neighborhood, I often walk there. But yesterday I decided to go off in an unknown path. Assuming that all the streets had been laid out in rectangles like the ones I normally traversed, I walked a little further down the main highway and turned down an unfamiliar lane. I soon discovered that my assumption was wrong. In the part of the village that I entered, the streets curved up, down, and around the hills. I thought that if I just kept turning in the right direction I would soon see a familiar street sign which would lead me back to the main highway. No such luck! I recognized none of the street signs, and many were marked “Dead End.”
Oh well (I thought) if I get lost, I can call my husband and he will pick me up. To reassure myself of that fact, I put my hand into my coat pocket to touch my cell phone—only to find out that I had left it at home. Rather than panic, I prayed. I asked God to show me someone who could tell me where to find the main highway. In a few minutes, I saw a car backing out of the garage onto the street. Suddenly, a girl came running out of the house and waved for the driver to stop. “Can you tell me how to get back to North Country Road?” I yelled. “I can’t; I don’t live here but she can,” said the girl, as she pointed to the driver. Having clear directions, I was soon walking in familiar territory; back home, I said to my husband, “That was fun!”
As I reflected on this simple experience, I came up with the following principles:
- In choosing an unknown path, I will likely find surprises that I’m unprepared for.
- Some paths are dead ends that I’d be wise to avoid.
- There’s no guarantee that I will have everything I need, but that’s no reason for panic.
- If I lose my way, I can ask God and others for help.
- Choosing an unknown path offers me an opportunity to grow and learn; it can be an enjoyable adventure.
Here are some questions for you to consider and some actions to take:
- What familiar “paths” do you walk in, day after day?
- Which of these paths are helpful and which are not?
- What dead end paths do you know from experience that it would be wise for you to avoid?
- What one unknown path would you like to explore? Tell someone about it.
- What fears are causing you to avoid exploring that path?
- Write down a baby-step that you are willing to take in order to overcome that/those fear(s).
- Make a time commitment to take that step and tell someone what you are going to do.