The Well Worn Path
We were camping a few weeks ago up at a beautiful campground just about an hour and a half west in the mountains from where we live in the Springs. It gave us some much needed away time from the business of work, school and well, just life in general. We were so excited to set up camp and enjoy 8 days and 7 nights of fun, food, fishing and a sky filled with millions of stars waiting to be seen.
I was looking forward to being still and conversing with God. I do that best when I have some alone time, so with camera in tow, off I went on an easy hike around the campgrounds. Lots of wildflowers dotted the hillsides. The wind was blowing softly, but just enough to make the flowers dance out of focus of my camera. I would have to wait until the wind shifted or died down to capture the colorful beauties that blew in the wind, while at the same time, dodging the hundreds of ants that were scurrying everywhere I stood. If the world ever collapses in on itself, blame it on the billions of ants undermining the earth beneath us. I have never seen so many ants, but that’s another story for another time way.
In spite of the windy day, I shot some great pictures of flowers, the lake, the mountains and some rocks, but I captured a picture that hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a picture of a well-worn path that lead from the road to a loop of campsites. It was a short-cut, where many campers and pets cut through to get to their sites. On any other day, I would have walked this path myself, not thinking twice about it, but it was as if God himself stood in the path and asked me a question, “Is this your life?” I cocked my head to one side at the question and looked a little closer at the well-worn path.
It was worn down to just sand and gravel. About a one-foot-wide path with wildflowers and grasses on each side. Ants, lots of ants were scurrying back and forth like it was a super highway. There were no trees or shrubs, just a few smashed clumps of grass and maybe a washed out section from the recent summer rain. “How could this compare to my life?” I asked myself. I stepped onto the path and began to ponder what this well-worn path meant to me. With each step, it was like a bright light was showing me the different aspects of the path and how they related to me. Here is what I took away.
I’m too busy. Like the ants scurrying around in every direction, my life tends to be too busy. Yes, the ants have a purpose and even the Bible speaks of their tenacity in their work, but they do take some time to rest, as I should take some time to rest as well.
I let others trample on me. Sometimes I can be a “means to an end” for people. It happens more often than I realize. It’s one thing to be available and a servant, but the more I’m trampled on the better the chance of burnout happening. This applies the other way too, of me using people just to get what “I” need. I need to be valued and purpose to value others.
There’s no growth. God knew what He was doing when he created life on earth. He took 6 days to create such beauty and put man & woman on it to tend it, not just trample it down to bare ground. My life should reflect growth in its season. I don’t want season after season of bare ground in my heart. Allowing time for gratitude and rest is key to allowing growth to happen. When the path is at rest or no one using it, in time the seeds will take root, the flowers will grow, bloom and life will happen. If I choose to keep going up and down the path of business, sure I will get to the other side, but no growth will happen.
But there ARE paths all over my life. When I got to the other side of the path, I turned and looked back at the well-worn path. Over my lifetime, I have left many paths for others to follow in my footsteps. Some are examples of what “not to do,” and others of directions of which way to “go.” Like a road map to avoid the pitfalls of life or how to navigate bad news, or relationships and all sorts of things. My life will have a meaning to my children, my grandchildren, friends, relatives and even strangers that I pass on the path of life, but can they read the map? Are there visible signs that say, “go here,” or “stay out!”
And lastly, Do I welcome others? Our lives are to be lived to the fullest, but I doubt that means all alone. Hiking through the woods, it’s natural to look for a trail. A sign that someone else has walked this way before me. It gives me a direction to go, maybe a glorious sight to see somewhere along the way. If my husband and I are walking together and we come up to this path, I don’t direct him to take another route. The natural thing to do is motion him to come my way and stay together. Too many couples tend to “go their own way” and not venture in life together. While they may arrive at the same destination in time, it’s just better to go together to help each other along the way, to keep from stumbling or just to enjoy the journey together.
So what kind of paths can you turn around and see behind you? Will others be able to follow? Have you worn one path out so much that it’s time to slow down? I hope today you will seek the path that Jesus walked while He was here on earth. He has left us a road map in His Word and is longing for us to share it with Him. For His paths lead to glorious things to see!