The last STEPS blog article on “The Journey” was a parable of a man’s hike along the Appalachian Trail. This one outlines the underlying themes of that story—the meaning of the journey.
As a child, we move toward whatever fascinates us, naturally living in each moment. In our teens, we explore the world more purposefully, seeking our identity in the process. Later, we begin to chart our own path, not sure which direction to go, but intent on finding our way nonetheless.
Somewhere along the way, life gets serious. Sometimes, too serious. We lose our sense of wonder and adventure as we begin running heads down toward accomplishment, defining ourselves by what we do and by what others think of what we do. We become consumed by responsibilities.
Life gets even more serious as we face inevitable trials, some due to circumstances, and others as consequences of our mistakes. Somewhere in the midst of our running, we begin to realize we are not sure we are heading in the right direction. For a while, we wander in self-doubt and worry, perhaps moving to self-induced compulsions or addictions to fill a void we are still trying to define.
Many of us continue forward, feeling we can get things under control on our own; we are lost, and we don’t even know it. Others turn to God, recalculating our direction—true north—or perhaps finding it for the first time. Which is when the meaning of the journey begins to come into focus.
Our surrender leads us toward peace, joy, and purpose. We rediscover wonder, developing a balance for living in the moment as we move purposefully toward significance. And, as we near the end, if we have stayed true to the path, we see that our life—the journey—made sense all along.
The Meaning of the Journey
Did any of that story sounds familiar? Because we all go through such stages in life, except some of us never get around to the part about turning to God.
1. Life is a journey – Our life has seasons defined by age and circumstances, and by our chosen state of mind. When we see life as a journey, our focus can be on moving forward. We can see that trials are but temporary side trips, and opportunities for growth. Ultimately, life is short, but it can be an exciting adventure if we pursue big dreams and cherish our relationships along the way.
2. Seek the right direction – To navigate our journey well, we need to know which way to go, even when we can’t see far ahead. It is up to us to make the choice to live intentionally, to think and pray about where we should go in the long term, and then take steps that lead us in that direction.
3. Using God as your guide – We aren’t meant to travel on our own. And, whether we realize it or not, we are not in control of many aspects of our life. But, we do choose what, or Whom, to use as a guide. That is the biggest choice of all, and it affects every aspect of the rest of our journey.
4. Make wise choices – We must deal with what life brings us, good and bad. We face trials based on circumstances at times, and others due to our bad choices. We can recover from those mistakes, but the journey is smoother if we learn instead to make wise choices along the way.
5. And take the next right step – A journey is made up of steps, and we can only take them one at a time. If we see life this way, plan ahead, ask God for guidance, and make good choices, we can then move forward each day with a simple and comforting approach: do the next right thing.
Life is a journey. Seek the right direction using God as your guide. Make wise choices and take the next right step. (STEPS: A Daily Journey to a Better Life)
Question: For your life, what is the meaning of the journey?
Action: Re-read both articles on “The Journey” and meditate on what they mean for you.