I have loved to read from a very young age, to enter into a story that is not my own, see life through a different perspective, allowing my imagination to take me on a journey beyond the life I live. It is powerful.
When I stumbled upon , Choose Your Own Adventure, books in Elementary school, I was filled with curiosity and excitement at the prospect of getting to choose how the story unfolded. It was profound, the idea that different choices take you on different journeys, lead you toward different outcomes, but it would take a long time for me to grasp this concept in my own personal life.
When I was growing up I often felt trapped, scared, lonely, overwhelmed, frustrated and sad. I felt caught up in a story that I didn’t choose and I felt powerless to change any of it. I always thought it would be different when I grew up, then I would finally be in charge of my own life, the determiner of my destiny, the captain of my ship.
When I became an adult, finally got to make my own choices, choose the path I would take, I became very disheartened. Every road seemed to lead me back to where I started. I still felt trapped, scared, lonely, overwhelmed, frustrated and sad. I couldn’t understand how every different choice kept resulting in the same outcome. I couldn’t seem to escape my story. Someone hit the replay button and I couldn’t seem to turn it off. It was the same song, just a different verse, but I wanted a new song, a different story. I didn’t understand that I had to go backward before I could go forward. All those parts of me that I wanted to leave behind, forget about, watch them disappear in my rear view mirror — they were a part of me.
If I wanted a different story I would have to do something different. I would have to venture down the path of healing rather than the path of denial. I would have to take my tender and broken heart to the Healer, the one who hears rather than ignores, retrieves rather than discards, restores rather than destroys, and offers compassion rather than criticism. I would have to let go of my belief that I had to make all the right decisions for life to be better, I only needed to make one decision continually… choose Healing.
In Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, he eloquently states in his final lines, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”
It feels easier and safer to take the well-worn path. To trudge down the road of least resistance, where the trail has already been cleared and I don’t have to exert much effort. I can continue to do what I have always done, go where everyone seems to go. Or I can venture into uncharted territory. The path where the prickly brush will tear at my flesh and the road is made with each step I take. A journey that calls for courage and beckons bravery. Treacherous terrain that trips me at every turn, and doubt that tells me it’s too dangerous.
The path of healing requires traversing deep within myself, to the hurts I have buried and the monuments of bitterness and resentment I have erected. It requires the salve of forgiveness for the hurts I have endured and those I have inflicted. For healing to happen I have to break down the barricade I have built around my heart and allow the Healer to come in. Revelation3:20 says,”Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.” I have to constantly remind myself that God doesn’t want to come in and have a look around so he can criticize me, He wants to come in to know me and be known by me. True healing happens relationally, not intellectually. Healing cannot happen from reading a book, or by myself. Healing requires relational risk and trust. The journey of getting to know myself, is also the journey of getting to know God, they are bound up inside each other. To begin to know the Heavenly Daddy that pursues me relentlessly, loves me unconditionally, and protects me fiercely is to begin to see myself through the eyes of the One who created me. To begin to have compassion for myself because He is compassionate toward me. To look past my flaws and see beauty because He calls me beautiful. The more time I sit in His presence, listen to His voice, follow where He leads me, my heart is being healed.
So I find myself being thankful for the difficult journey, the path less traveled, because it truly is making all the difference.