Off the Beaten Path

August 14, 2012


On Saturday morning I went on a walk with my almost 2-year-old son. I love Saturday’s because of the time that I get to spend with my family. We get to slow down and just be together. Sometimes we plan to go out, and other times we just lounge around the house.

Noah doing some exploring

There was nothing to do at this time, and Noah kept pointing down the sidewalk like he does when he want to go walking. So we did.

Once again, there was nothing planned, so we could just go out and enjoy a nice easy stroll. But Noah likes to stroll a little differently than I do. I had in mind roughly how long we the walk would be and that path we were going to take.

Noah on the other-hand, had different plans. He stopped to check out some leaves, pick up sticks, touch different spots in the sidewalk, watch a truck to by, watch a motorcycle go by, watch another truck, and wave at every person he saw. He was exploring and taking it all in.

Halfway (or what would have been halfway had Noah been on my schedule) through the walk I found myself placing my hand lightly on the back of his head to keep him moving forward. It was just a little reminder saying, “hey those things are cool but let’s keep moving.”

When I noticed I was doing this I immediately stopped. This was Saturday! We had no schedule. There was no need for me to hurry this little explorer along.

It made me think about how we do the same thing. Society, our parents, or our friends all have ideas of what our lives should be like. Everyone seems to have a plan, not only for themselves but also all those around them.

When we start doing a little exploring or taking our time there is always someone around to place their hand on the back of our head to gently (or not so gently) encourage us back onto the path “we should be walking.”

But if everyone always took the path people thought they should, where would the great people or accomplishments come about? If the Apostle Paul had allowed Jewish thought to keep him from following God, we would be out of much of the New Testament.

The other Apostles never stopped preaching Jesus even when the hands around them threw them in prison and beat them.

There are so many stories of people who have gone off the beaten path, or maybe taken time to slow down and see what others have looked at their entire live but never noticed, and then gone on to do great things.

I don’t want to find myself just going through life thoughtlessly. I don’t want to find that I have passed up opportunities with family or friends because I was too busy doing what everyone else thought I should be doing. I want to shake the hand off the back of my head and find where it is God would have me go; and do what He would have me do.

For the next month, I’m going to ride my bike to work. Now, it’s only a couple of miles so it’s not like I’m accomplishing some huge goal in that way, but I want to take some time to slow down a little. I think more and notice more when riding my bike than in the car and I want to make the most of that opportunity and maybe see and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

What are ways you can slow down or get off the beaten path?

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