I recently came across the following quote: “Sometimes in life you have to choose between two paths; other times all you get is a pile of bricks, and the path you build is up to you.” After the past couple of months of trying to decide which way to go, it certainly feels like there has been nothing but ton after ton of bricks piled up in front of me.
So often in life we come to times of decision and tend to think it is an “either or” option, even when there may be other options available. It is natural for us to go through a process of elimination until we are left with two choices, and then try to figure out which is best…or in some cases, which is the lesser of two evils. Most of us were raised to make decisions by looking at our options, weighing the pros and cons and then choosing the one that will bring the best results. I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with this approach, as sometimes it can help immensely to take emotion out of it and “count the cost” of the journey on which we consider embarking. Counting is not always bad and reasoning is not always wrong, but when we limit ourselves to only those paths that have already presented themselves to us or have been sanctioned by the people around us (whether family, friends, churches, or coworkers), then we have lost something very valuable in the midst.
Life is not always black and white, and sometimes it can get a little messy. We may experience unrest that causes us to feel compelled to make a change. We may feel like the only way to gain our balance is to do something different, so we start looking for our “options.” When we start down this path, we must be careful because it usually involves relying on our human reasoning and rationale. Our human reasoning is often tainted greatly by our emotions. When faced with a decision, we often choose the path that “feels” better. We often choose the most lucrative path or the one that seems to be more logical. We don’t often choose to stay on a path that may be temporarily uncomfortable because we don’t like pain or discomfort. We get angry, frustrated, disheartened or even depressed about our current situation and start looking for a way out of it. When we start looking for a way out, we naturally look for which path we should choose.
But what if it’s not about “choosing” a path but building one?
What if we took the mountain of bricks in front of us and build a path with them rather than looking for a way around them or how to remove them? What if we started building instead of walking? What if we put on our figurative headphones and listened to the music of that still small voice within instead of the overwhelming cacophony of noise that comes from everyone around us? What if the bricks in front of us aren’t obstacles at all, but the exact materials we need in order to accomplish things greater than we could have imagined?
It is so easy to get lost in the circumstances of life. Sometimes we get hurt or disappointed. Sometimes we feel unappreciated or mistreated. Sometimes we get so disillusioned with things we previously had confidence in that it rattles us to the core. Every negative experience or uncomfortable situation is another brick tossed in front of us. When we find ourselves in these times, as I have been lately, it is so important to go back to what you know to be true and hold on to those things. Get back to your guiding principles and let your heart and spirit settle for a bit before you go charging out onto a path that may or may not be best for you. Maybe you (or I, in this case) need to see our difficulties not as something to work around but to work with. Maybe we need to see all the many things that are going “wrong” in our lives as the bricks we need in order to build a road that leads us to places we could not reach any other way.
Life is complex and we are constantly presented with circumstances (or people) that test our faith and resolve. We are faced with situations that leave us reeling, and we feel as though we just can’t take any more. We get wounded to a point where we think we will not recover. Lately I have questioned almost everything in my own life and have decided it is time to stop looking for a path to choose, but to build one. It is time to follow where I am called, no matter where it leads. It is time to take the bricks that for months have seemed to be piled everywhere and start fitting them together in whatever manner God leads me to place them. It is a new kind of art, a new kind of creativity.
So if you are wondering which way to go or are struggling with decisions in life, take heart. If you are truly seeking clarity, you will find it. If you truly want to know which way to go, you must first be willing to go. When your heart is finally willing, and you are ready to give up your own reasoning and trust God for the results, one of two things will happen: Either it will become clear which path to take, or you will suddenly see your pile of “bricks” as the exact stones you need to forge the path to exactly where you are called to be.