I was driving down the road the other day, and I had an epiphany. I looked out my windshield at the road I was traveling on and knew that I had control of my car via the steering wheel, accelerator, and brake. As my eyes focused on the asphalt, I realized that driving is a lot like life. I could go anywhere I wanted, turn in any direction, or go as fast as I desired. Or I could stop and sit still.
Each day we travel down our particular road of life, eagerly watching as our path unfolds. We go about our day making decisions, sustaining relationships, eating, drinking and just living life. Day by day we are flooded with a vast assortment of choices, each affecting how our life plays out.
“Do I go left or do I go right? Or do I stay straight? Maybe a U-turn?”
As one travels along the road of life, there are many exits and some detours, many ways to veer from your current path. The Word of God has much to say about choosing and staying on the right paths. For example:
The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.
How many times have you seen the exit that you should have taken, but for whatever reason you drove right by it? Are you continuing to take the same wrong exits, thinking you will end up in a different location? I think most of us as we go to work, school, or do errands, often travel the same set of roads each day, and we know where they lead. We know which ones we should take and which we shouldn’t. I once heard “insanity” defined as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Your path is not fixed. You can travel down any road you wish; it’s your choice. You can choose to make a difference in the world by making a difference in your world. You can choose to show up and be “in the moment” with and for your friends, to be giving, to pray, to care, and to love. By now you have figured out that your car will not drive itself, right? No, it needs you, the driver, and if you don’t grab the steering wheel and press the gas pedal, you will not go anywhere. The same holds true in life. If you do not take charge of your thoughts, words, and deeds, you will do little to achieve anything of everlasting proportions.
You are the only “you” that God has. God has entered into a genuine free-will relationship with you, His creation. This means that you have a choice and can choose to follow “the” leader of leaders, Jesus Christ, who has blazed a trail before you. I assert that there are people in your life who need you, and God needs you to reach out to them. Think about it—you are needed.
There are things that you could do, which if you do not, may never get done. What would God have you do? Maybe start a fellowship, speak into someone’s life, pray, listen, or possibly step out of your comfort zone to help a friend. There are many things you could do, many ways to spend your time, but I would ask you, are you following “the” leader? Are you listening to his voice?
Picture yourself again on the road of life, surrounded by many other vehicles. How you choose to act, move, stop, start, change lanes, speed up, and slow down, definitely affects the cars around you. So it is with life. Your actions (or lack thereof) affect the people around you. Anyone who has driven for even a day can tell you that if you drive the wrong way down a one-way street, you are going to affect a lot of people. On the same hand, if you choose to venture out and help people, pray for people, and show up for them in a godly way, you can make a world of difference in a good way.
Life can be difficult, and it is easy to find yourself lost, not knowing which way to go. In such situations, we need to pull over and look at a map. Fortunately for us, the road of life comes with a map authored by The One who laid its very foundations. Furthermore, we have a Guide who has walked the path ahead of us and who knows it perils and pitfalls. If you follow this instruction carefully, if you listen to “the” leader’s voice, he guarantees that you will be on the right road at the right time. He will guide you straight and show you what exits are right.
For now, drive slowly, look for the road signs, stop to help people, and know that you are the only “you” God has. Think about what you can do to make a difference in someone’s life, and know that our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus are with you always on the “Road of Life.”