How many of you, at some point in your life, thought that there were two ways to do things; the right way and the wrong way? And that your job was to find the right way. Failing to find the right way might mean being a bad person, being unlovable, being rejected by God, being outside of God’s will or just being a stupid doo-doo head. I suspect a lot of you just raised your hand. I suspect that those of you who didn’t just haven’t dug quite deep enough into your heart to find that particularly nasty snare that gets planted in the heart of nearly every human being along the way.
Now, do I mean to say that there are no wrong ways and no right ways to do things? That all options the human mind can conceive of are equally good? No. Of course not. Going to the spa is a much better way to deal with burnout than doing meth. As anyone who has done meth has probably figured out by now. Hell, smoking weed is a much better way to deal with burnout than doing meth. But not if you are prone to addictions and might be tempted to do meth. Because meth is really, really bad, donchano. (Hey – fun fact: do you know how much weed it takes to kill a rat?
20 pounds, but you have to pack it into a brick and drop it on the rat’s head. Ba-dum-dum.)
Anyways, my point, such as it is, is that there is something very deep in us, which we might not even be aware of, that believes that there is one right way to do thing. And that our job is to find that way and follow it.
And you know what? That’s totally true. And picking the wrong way can really turn you into an unsightly, ungodly wreck. So there’s a reason we all have this deep seated drive to find the one right way and our fear of screwing it up.
“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” ~ Matthew 7:14
The problem is that we’re pretty much always walking the wrong way without knowing it. Not because we’re just morons or evil or rebellious evil morons. It’s that there’s one right way. And that way is perfect. And we are not. The best we can do is point ourselves in the right direction and be on the lookout for signs telling us to adjust course. Like people forming support groups to recover from the damage done in their encounters with you. Just in case you have a problem recognizing road signs.
Compounding the problem is that not only do we not realize that we’re unavoidably at least a little off course right up until we wake up in the heart of God, but we are continually trying to institutionalize our errors, ensuring that over time, we all wind up horribly off course.
The thing is that while there is one Way, following that way is going to be a different experience for different people. Some have long legs, some have short legs. Some are struggling just to walk. The topography looks different depending on the seasons and the weather. We’re all going to get off course and need to make corrections. One person must walk around a rock while another must scale it in order to escape a hungry lion that’s crossed the path. We often start off with a crowd, but always reach the end walking alone.
There are those who insist that they know the way. That they have the RIGHT map, the perfect map, the one God himself has stamped his approval on. But maps get outdated. And, having to pass through human minds, are always imperfect and incomplete. Their ways are not God’s ways, although they may be the best that any of us can figure out.
At some point, if you are doing it right, you will realize this. You will stop believing those who insist that they know what your next step should be or when and where you should stop to go to the bathroom and eat. To walk right way, you must learn tune out those voices and trust in the fulfillment of God’s promise in your life:
“I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD. ~ Jeremiah 31:33
Many people have fallen for that Tolstoy’s quote which says, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” But Tolstoy was wrong. All unhappy families partake of the same patterns of dysfunction with the details providing variations on a theme. However, there are as many ways for a person and their family to be happy as there are people and families. But what they all happy families have in common is that people in happy families can live according to the map that God has placed on their hearts.
You see, God’s way is the way of unity, not uniformity. When God makes grasses, he makes 11,000 different kinds of grass. And they flourish everywhere. When God makes wildflowers, such as we are, he makes thousands of different types of wildflowers. Some are common and some are rare. And each flower and leaf on each plant itself is different in the details from its neighbors. God doesn’t do monoculture. That’s our thing. And over the long term, our ways aren’t sustainable. Only The Way leads to life.
So here’s the thing you need to know to wrestle your way out of this particular snare of the enemy; there is one right way, but you don’t know it. It must be learned. It must be practiced. You must allow yourself to be corrected, even when it means you are out of step with the crowd you’re traveling with. Even if it means leaving or being cast out of the crowd. They don’t know God’s perfection. But God will teach it to you, if you let Him. And, unlike the rest of the world, he’s not going to call you a stupid doo-doo head. Cuz he’s cool like that.