"I have no dream, no goal in front of me. My whole life I've just drifted, trying to do the best I can to please and fulfill the expectations of others." Have you heard this before? I frequently hear this with friends and as I pop around on the web. I marvel simply because I see how prevalent it is. I have to admit - I resemble that remark.
On one hand, the so-called drifting can be justified by saying that the drifter is completely open to the will and purposes of the Almighty. At least, it sounds good, huh? On the other, it leaves them with no purpose or direction, forever cursing them with the statement above.
So, why then the proverb? When I read it this morning, I had to smile. As a sometimes hiker and letterboxer, I know full well that you have to be aware of your footing. Pondering the path below your feet is essential to sure-footing; and besides, here in the PNW you wouldn't want to step on anything slimy, like a slug, that may be sharing that path. Your way, or your footing, will always be sure when you 'ponder' said path, you could say. In good Hebrew fashion, the practicality of life slaps you in the face.
But is there more to it than that? I have dear ones close to me that tend to shy away from over-spiritualizing Scripture. And, for the most part, I agree with that practice. We have all been in well-meaning groups that take a verse of Scripture to the absolute nebulous, attributing spiritual analogy to something your everyday 1st Century Joe (or Yoseph) would find just plain ole good sense. Like watching where you are walking. But, in this case, I'm thinking there can be some spiritual application to this proverb, and it goes back to my opening comment.
As usual, I find myself asking questions in search for answers to my ruminations. Have I pondered my path sufficiently? Have I asked for direction, purpose in the way I'm going? Is my path and footing sure in that direction? Is there a different direction I could be going, LORD? All these questions are good and right - I wish I would have pondered them earlier in my life, to be honest. However, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have ended up in the very same place I am standing currently. Not being one who wallows in the mistakes of the past (at least I've not previously; current circumstances notwithstanding), I want to ponder afresh the path I'm on to make sure the way in front of me is sure.
How 'bout you? Do you find yourself in a place you never expected? Have you been drifting? Like a good Calvinist, I would affirm that all things are predestined by our Creator, that all our paths are known by the One who has our best interests at heart. But, having said that, I can't help but to ponder the what-ifs. What if I would have asked more questions? What if I would have taken that turn instead of the one I took? What if I would have stood up and said 'no' to this situation or 'yes' to that one? Did I ponder the path I was on? Truly?
I say that it is high time that all my dear kindred spirits, myself included, shake off this malaise of drifting and ponder our path so that our way will be sure. Take a good, hard look at where we are and where we are going, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen (or keyboard) and brainstorm our hopes, dreams and... yes, even goals. No, you are never too old to have them. Can I just say that we all need goals and purpose to be focused and directed? Can I hark back to my old self for a moment and suggest that we stretch, just a bit, out of our comfort zone and think the unthinkable, the fantastic, the unreachable? Can I ask the all-time famous question, "If money were no object, what would you want to accomplish?" And are those things worth praying about, dreaming about... pondering? I propose they are.
The proverb says that if we ponder our path, then our way will be sure.
I think I'll take my own advice and spend some time pondering where I'm walking and maybe even think the unthinkable.