Ever wake up from a bad dream ABSOLUTELY relieved that it was only a dream? We’ve all had them…some nights I spend it looking for something…like my locker in high school. Other nights it’s like I’m back in college and I don’t know where the classroom is and it’s finals day. Other nights it’s more ominous…like last night…I dreamt I was with another man. Yikes. And the thing about dreams is that they typically start in the middle as opposed to being linear. I was just there…no decision making involved.
Thank goodness that is not how life works. As Andy Stanley talks about in his book “The Principle of the Path” – a set of decisions will take you down a particular path. Affairs don’t being in the middle. They begin with a glance, a text, an inappropriate touch. Embezzlement doesn’t begin with stolen money. It begins with a longing, a coveting, a sense of entitlement. Bankruptcy can start with living beyond your means, keeping up with the Joneses, ignoring sound financial advice.
But those are fairly easy paths to see…especially to those around you. You can spot a couple in trouble. You might even be able to walk along someone to help them turn away from a destructive path. In my personal life, I don’t even go there. I don’t even entertain the idea of an affair. I don’t have lunches, I don’t text, I just don’t. I also don’t even entertain thoughts about money, stealing, coveting, entitlement. I’m not saying the thoughts never come up…but what I am saying is that I don’t go there. Ever.
But, again, in my walk, those are easy thoughts to avoid. What I find harder to spot are the more nefarious paths of bitterness, resentment, and being judgmental. Those thoughts are much, much harder for me to avoid. Someone not do something I think they should…a little seed of judgement takes root. I then water it with some current and past resentment and then BOOMCHALKALAKA – full blown bitterness and I’m looking around and wonder what the hell happened to my peace of mind.
Bitterness does not start in the middle – it has beginning – and it’s the wide open path…it’s so easy to go there. But the truth is that I don’t want to be a bitter person…I was created to be much more than that…and besides, what kind of Christian witness will I be if my life is not marked with kindness and love but bitterness and resentment?
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14
What about you – where do you struggle? What paths do you need to avoid? Once the journey down the path begins, it’s hard to turn back and there are natural consequences – BUT – we can always come home because we are loved and forgiven.
Love y’all – xoxoxox – DM
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