“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost
Life changed after my heart attack. Before, I lived life on the other side of discernment. Whenever any situation arose, I chose to criticize it based on my experience. I chose to see through my eyes. I thought living life normally, simply following a daily routine, planning for my perceived and ordered desire, believing as I always had by relying on myself, would see me through. Discernment provided me the means to navigate life without God. Daily life never merged with my belief in God. Faith was separate, personal, inward, nobody’s business but my own. I thought believing was enough. It’s a good start. But the road before me could not rest there.
Discernment is two roads diverging. I had traveled mine with all its vices, its jealousies and ambitions, its mistrust and criticisms of others, its “I know better than you” attitude and its always doing what I had always done. The one before me, the one I had yet to travel, the one untried, the one God wished me to travel, opened me to its difference. Believing is not following.
At first, I was not particularly good at it. I was a bit lost, a bit unsure. Following works that way. But then the truth behind these statements became clear. Following is not an “I” endeavor. “I” was the road I had traveled well. Looking back on my spiritual life, the more I wanted to be closer to God, the more distant he seemed. “I” failed me. Following demanded patience and submission, demanded I see my weakness in all its ugliness.
“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; on you I wait all day” (Psalm 25: 4,5).
Without knowing it, this verse became my prayer and my desire. Following God will teach patience if we earnestly seek Him, earnestly submit and listen and wait. Patience became the means by which discernment revealed its better nature, a nature inclined toward looking to God first, being thankful, choosing mercy over criticism and complaint. No longer am I able to wrestle in the mud, to give as gets, to continue living life as before.
Discernment still allows me to see as I did before. Following my road less traveled, following God, allows me to respond another way. God always provides. Believing is not following.
I am not naïve. The two diverging roads do not disappear. There are times when I react poorly and I fall on the wrong side of discernment. And then, I am reminded I am not there, not yet the person God created me to be. Will I get there? The destination I reach will be God’s choosing because I intend to keep following.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).