I once had this very vivid dream. I was in a mini-van full of people. I have no idea where we were heading nor do I remember who was in the van with me, but I do remember this: I was to drive. So in my dream I sit down in the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition, start the car, and begin to drive. I’m not going particularly fast. Then for some inexplicable reason I get up and move to the very back of the van. I guess I was just tired of driving. The van is still moving but no one is at the wheel. I start yelling at someone who is closer to the steering wheel to jump into the driver’s seat and drive. The van is moving erratically now, but everyone is looking at me with horror, expecting me to get back in the driver’s seat. Even though I’m the one furthest away from the wheel, I’m the only one who moves to take back control of the van.
At first in my dream, I’m upset at the others in the van for not moving to the driver’s seat. After all, they’re closer, it’s easier for them to quickly assume the wheel, and it gives us the quickest route to safely save ourselves. Then it dawns on me – why did I get out of the driver’s seat to begin with? I was the one who was supposed to be driving. Why would I just get up and go to the back of the van like that? Where was my head? This deep sense of fear washed over me, to the point where I woke up from the dream and just sat there, dumbfounded I would start a car, drive it, get tired of driving and then randomly just get up and move, fully expecting someone else to just come in and drive, no notice given and no questions asked.
As I sat there pondering this dream, pieces of it began to become clear and I realized a few very important things: My life was the van, and no one else was going to drive it for me. I could pull over and rest, certainly. I could use maps and other tools to help me go in the right direction. But I can’t abdicate my life to someone else so they can live it for me without disastrous consequences.
I think we all have moments where we just wish someone else would do the driving or the heavy lifting in our lives. We want the fun, happy parts; we just don’t want to have to deal with the hard, ugly parts. Consistently being engaged and working toward growth can be hard, and I have found it requires practice, patience, and a whole lot of grace because I willmake mistakes!
So I decided to check out what God had to say about consistency. Guess what? Couldn’t find it. Not a single instance. Couldn’t find a reference to the word “consistent” either. Now I’m sure there’s some version out there that may use those words, but in going through my NIV I couldn’t find a one. With further exploring, I realized the Bible uses different words for this idea of consistency than we do – discipline, wisdom, hard work, and righteous just to name a few. It also uses antonyms – sluggard, laziness, wanton, etc. More intriguingly, I began to find this idea of a path.
Consider the following from Proverbs:
3:6 “… in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
4:11 “I [wisdom] guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”
4:26 “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.”
5:21 “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths.”
9:6 “Leave your simple ways and you will live. Walk in the way of understanding.”
12:28 “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”
15:19 “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.”
At the end of the day, I’ve come to realize God is deeply interested in helping us along on our path, our journey, and while we may be tempted to want to get out of the driver’s seat when our journey gets tough, if we consistently lean into God, our path will stay clear longer, we’ll get past obstacles more quickly, and we’ll stumble and fall less often. It’s doesn’t mean we get a pass on life’s challenges. Rather, He promises to guide us on to something even greater in the midst of them.
For Further Thought: Which of the listed scriptures in Proverbs speaks to you most and why? What is a way you can use it to help you move forward on your own path this week?