Monday, April 7, 2014

The Crossroad

I have been awake for quite some time. Okay, truth is, I've been awake for a L O N G time. It could be the horrible side effect from steroids, but I am leaning toward the Spirit of God who has finally nudged me out of my bed. Here I sit, coffee in hand, rain pouring down and a strong desire to talk about my Nana.

Willia Mae Hixson was a very unique woman. She lived on this earth just six weeks shy of her 100th birthday. She was a legend, not only in her own mind, but in the mark she left for decades on Cleveland, Tennessee. In some ways, she was Cleveland's "first" lady. First female who got to be "the first" for many things. From working with the police (she would search women who were being sent to jail) to being the first female writer for the Banner. She was the first woman to host a wildlife sports radio broadcast at a local station. The stories she'd tell, the memories she'd share—well, let's just say that growing up she had a captive audience. As I laid in bed thinking of her, my mind kept going back to something she had shared with me on more than one occasion. These were her exact words: "There are two roads to go in this life, Rhonda. The right road and the wrong road. Go the right road, and it will all go well for you. Go the wrong road, and it will end in disaster." 

In all due respect, Nana, I want to challenge your mindset just a bit. Based on my own life journey (52+ years and counting), I've learned that much of what you shared with me to be true; however, I must disagree that in traveling the "right" road, it doesn't always go well.

For me, traveling the right road means that I am living my life intentionally seeking God's heart and His will for my life. It means that I am active in a real relationship with Him and that in this pursuit, I'm following hard after Him as I live day to day. Not a perfect life, not a sinless life, but a life that is putting Him and others in front of self. Can I just say that it's been while traveling the right road that I've faced some of my deepest heartaches and suffered some of my greatest losses? Some of the most faithful servants I know have had the rug yanked right out from underneath them and have had the bottom fall completely out on their lives while traveling the right road. I'm sure there have been some who have wondered if they were really on the right road. Oh, Nana, you failed to mention that the right road isn't always the easy road. The right road, at times, is just plain hard.

Then there's the wrong road. The road that completely abandons God's heart and will to chase after what self wants—what the flesh of who we are craves. Choosing the wrong road means we stop at nothing in order to get what it is we want, regardless of what it costs us, regardless of who we wound along the way. People who look left and travel the wrong road, more times than not, really do know they are headed in the wrong direction. They have failed to obey God and they have ignored the wise counsel of those who love them enough to not only tell them the truth, but challenge them to walk in it.

Here's the simple truth about the difference between the right road and the wrong road. One leads to the Lord, the other will lead you far away from Him. It really is that plain and simple. The road that leads to the Lord, in spite of pain, heartache, heartbreak, rejection, even loss, will also be a road where the peace of God truly does surpass ALL understanding. The right road fills us with hope, in spite of circumstances that scream the complete opposite. The right road isn't filled with worry and will never echo regret. The right road may be a difficult road, but it does lead to good because He promises that He will work all things together for our good if we love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) The right road is the best road, friends. He promises.

If the road you are traveling has you at a crossroad and the steps that have led you here are surrounded by confusion, doubt and have you withdrawing from not only the Truth but those who live by it; if deep down you know you are pursuing your will and not His will, then more than likely, you're on and will continue to head down the wrong road. Stop. Look. Listen.

"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." - Jeremiah 6:16

Yes, Nana, there always have been and there always will be two roads to walk in this life. Thank you for encouraging me to walk the right road. Traveling the right road has also given me the rest of the story: It may not always go well, but the journey with Jesus is worth it and it does end well. Oh, does it ever end well.

Are you at a crossroad today? Having a hard time deciding which way you want to go? Is self screaming left, while Savior whispers right? I pray God's word will encourage and challenge you: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)

Seek God's heart through His Word. Invite the wise counsel of those who love God and are seeking His heart through His Word. Let Him speak to you today as you stand at the crossroad and consider the outcome of going left vs. right. If you choose the right road, it will have been His voice saying to you, "Yes, dear one, this is the right way. Walk in it." The promise is also that as you do, you will find rest for your soul. The left road never leads to it, no matter how long we walk on it or how we might try to convince ourselves otherwise. Deep down we do know which road we've chosen and which road we are making our journey on.

I wasted nearly 28 years of my life walking on the wrong road. There were signs all along with way, but I ignored them. I went the way that seemed right to me. It was a messed-up life at best and the one thing I lacked that I so longed for was peace. Never did find it traveling the wrong road. Then I met Jesus and the journey on the right road began. For many of these (almost 25) years of walking with Him, I've ran strong. There have been seasons where I've walked and in all honestly, I've had seasons where I've crawled. I've had seasons where I simply had to rest. Resting doesn't mean quitting. Sometimes we must rest so that we can have the strength to get back in the journey of traveling on the right road.

Stand at the crossroad and look. Look left. Is it costing you your relationship with the Lord and those who you love and love you? Is it a road of compromise? Is it a road that has left your heart tangled and do you feel as if you're struggling to breath? Now look right. Consider all that can be gained in your life by going the right road. Peace with God, peace with others. An authentic relationship with Christ that comes from delight and not duty. Genuine fellowship with other believers. Not a life without pain, but a life with great promise. A journey on the right road that does end well. The choice is mine, friend, and the choice is yours.

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