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Which way?

"Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley." (Theodore Roethke) I had the chance to head to a lovely area of the Northern Arizona rim country this past week, enjoying a little R&R with my BFF and some quality time in nature. It always manages to recenter my focus and calm my weary body, despite the strenuous climbs down paths unknown, or long days awaiting those telltale nibbles that let me know there is a fish on the hook! One of my favorite things to do is to just look out over high places on the mountain's edge and see the vastness of the valleys below. While I appreciate the many things seen deeper down into those valleys, such as the lush meadows, abundant wildlife, and tall pines, I always appreciate the perspective one can obtain when one climbs to the top of the mountain for just a little bit of a different vantage point. As Roethke said, the path is there, but sometimes we just need to change our vantage point to see it a little because there are things that obstruct our view at times.

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. (Psalm 18:32 ERV)


There are times when friends will ask my advice on which path to take in life. While I appreciate being asked, it sure can put me in a little bit of a predicament when I may not have the same vantage point on that path as the other individual has been given. I am not walking in that other person's shoes, although I may have taken similar paths. The best I can do is offer some advice on how I chose the path I did and what I looked for in confirmation that it was the right one to choose. If you are considering a particular path today, here are some tips:

- We don't want others to choose it for us. It is rarely the right path for us when another chooses it on our behalf, insisting we take one over another. About the only exception to this one is when we are clearly headed down a very wrong path and the other person is pulling us back from that direction. If we are headed in a direction in which we will experience harm or loss, we might just do well to heed their advice to consider the direction we are headed. When choosing our path, we should consider what God has to say about it (in his Word), and perhaps even listen to the advice of those who might have already explored similar paths (remembering that no two paths are equally the same).

- We may want to take the one that is "marked" the clearest, but it may be the one with the absence of those "markings" that brings us to the place we will find the greatest blessings in life. We want the path easiest to travel, well-marked, and often well-traveled. As much as this is a good thing, a well-traveled path could just be a rut dug by frequent passage! Sometimes we need to forge new paths, which may be a little scary at first, but in so doing, we come into new explorations others haven't experienced. In these times, we become the leaders and not the followers. We help others to see new vantage points that were previously undiscovered by them. 

No two paths are the same. No two vantage points will take in the same view. In each person's exploration of similar paths, the lessons may be similar, but they remain absolutely unique to the individual exploring those paths. Choosing one over another is often a matter of conscience, allowing the Spirit's presence within us to confirm the right one for us to travel. Remember, it may not be evident because the mountain looms ahead of us, but it is there! Just sayin!

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