Is God Showing You A Fork In The Road?

If you’ve ever gone hiking in a state or national park, you’ve seen that every so often there are forks in the path. Typically at the fork, there will be a simple map showing what will happen if you go left versus right.  And then you make a choice.  Sometimes your choice will depend on the distance you want to hike that day.  At other times, you may want to see a certain vista.  But you have to make a choice.  Straight is not an option.

Life is like that. And unfortunately, sometimes we choose the wrong path.  I don’t think anyone intentionally chooses the wrong path.  No one enters a marriage with the intention of ultimately getting divorced.  On your wedding day, you are the most hopeful and excited person on earth.  You hope that your spouse is going to be kind and loyal to you until the day you die.  But life doesn’t always work out that way.  Likewise, no one takes a job thinking that eventually they will get fired or laid off.  They hope that the job will be one in which they can make a contribution and grow their skills.  But sometimes employers and employees aren’t a good fit, and jobs end.

The bad choice is our first fork in the road. But the first fork isn’t what defines us.  It is the second fork that matters.  Once we’ve made the bad choice and have lived with it for a little while, then we encounter the second fork.  Once again we have two paths to follow:  Do we take the path of least resistance and carry on living with our bad choice?  Or are we brave?  Do we try to learn from our mistakes and chose a better path for our lives?

I know a lot of people who decide to live with their bad choices. They stay in unhappy marriages because they don’t want to endure the shame of divorce.  They pursue unfulfilling careers because they think it will provide them with financial security.  They remain addicted, depressed or angry rather than seek the help they need to change their behaviors.

God does not call us to live with our bad choices. He calls us to leave behind what isn’t working in our lives.  If we simply stay on the bad path, we squander the life that God has given us.

We all know people who are stuck in their bad choices. They have a way out, but they can’t seem to take it.  They would rather follow the path of least resistance.  Are you that person?  If so, I am sympathetic.  I’ve been stuck at times in my life too.  I stayed in a marriage longer than I should have.  I followed a career path that didn’t make me happy.  But at a certain point, I learned that it was important for me to take that second fork in the road.  I had to be brave, and go in a new and better direction.

Now the first path is not wasted time, as long as you learn from it and move on.  None of our life experiences, even the worst ones, need to be wasted time.  They are only without purpose if we chose to respond in the wrong way to them.  A bad experience is a waste of time if I respond by becoming a bitter person.  It isn’t a waste, if I respond by becoming more compassionate toward others in the same predicament.  It isn’t a waste, if I develop a sense of humility from the experience and realize that I am nothing without God’s presence in my life.

Today, think about the choices that you’ve made in your own life. Are you facing that second fork in the road?  Make sure that you don’t live with your bad choices.  Instead use them to propel you the next, better step in your life journey.  Remember that you owe it to yourself, and to God, to live your best life possible.