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The Longer Way

My mother always said, “If you experience things “before your time”, you won’t have anything to look forward to.” As a pre-teen, I cringed at those words, not understanding the wisdom in my mother’s voice and heart for her three young daughters. I envied my peers who were able to hang out at the skating rinks, high school football games, dances, and other community events, that my mother felt that I was too young to attend, and rightful so. In just a few short years, as a freshman in college, struggling to make independent decisions in the “real” world, I understood, clearly what Momma meant. In a similar vein, and after more than four decades of living, I’ve learned that the quickest path to success or any endeavor in life is not always the best way. Sometimes there are experiences that we must go through in order to be able to handle future careers, relationships and opportunities.

I’ve learned that the quickest path to success or any endeavor in life is not always the best way.

I’m reminded of the biblical passage in Exodus 13:17-18, when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. There was a shortcut, however, God led them the longer way. Now, why would Almighty God do that, you might ask? Well, simply put, God knows what is best for His children. The Lord knew that the Israelites had to experience some things, and grow, in order to equip them, for, not only the long, treacherous journey, but also to prepare them for the battles and the victories ahead. Yes, there was a lot of moaning and groaning, a lot of whys, comparisons and mistakes along the way. Nevertheless, the “wilderness experience”, made the Israelites stronger, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Likewise, our lives may end up on a longer road to fulfilling our purpose, career, and relationship goals. We may look at our peers and wonder why we aren’t progressing as quickly as them. There may be times where you compare your natural abilities and qualifications with others, wondering why they got the promotion, the blessing, the boyfriend, the successful business, and not you. I know those feelings and thoughts all too well. When I decided to trust my career, relationships and business goals – everything, to God, I struggled, at times, to “just trust God”, work hard, finish school, build up my resume’, and get to know people. Nevertheless, I continued to pray and study the Bible, growing in my faith and confidence in God, and He blessed me with the desires of my heart…in His timing. When things do not seem to be going your way, and certainly not quick enough for you, trust that God knows best and is working behind the scenes on your behalf. The longer journey might be just what you need to better prepare you for your destiny.

Today, my mother’s words echo in the atmosphere when I encourage my children to slow down, trust the process, and enjoy the present season so that they may fully enjoy, and be equipped to handle future successes. My children wanted to shortcut everything from cooking and getting an education or trade, to landing a high paying job, and even snagging the perfect soul mate. No wonder, with the glamour of celebrities and social media influencers, high speed internet and smart phones (with everything at their fingertips), our youth and young adults are inclined to take the shorter, quicker path in life. In a society where this view of life is customary, we must ask ourselves, is the shortest, quickest path, always the best way? I imagine, in most cases, the longer way provides us with the mental, physical and spiritual fortitude – the skill set, the education, the personal experiences, maturity and wisdom we need for the promotion, relationships, battles, victories and journey ahead.

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