It's not the easy one to walk, that is for sure. The road is narrow; it has its share of potholes, cliff hangs and opportunities for utter demise, though when it is the road walked, it leads to life. There may be years of hardship and heartache, which may or may not be resolved in this earthly lifetime, yet the stakes are too high to choose the alternative. The alternative is the wide open road. It is easy. It is also pleasant on the joints, the feet, the mind and the heart. And it's the road that most choose to walk.
But if you're one of the few that are born with an unshakable, unquenchable burden that almost holds you captive, you know there is ultimately no way you can desert the narrow road for the easy way.
You may try, but in the end, you can't stomach it. You can't let yourself do it.
For some of us, there is something that burns like a fire inside our bones. We have a sixth sense that we were made for more than the carnal, that we were made to serve a cause greater than the name of the organization or institution we receive a paycheck from.
We know somewhere within our being that we were, as C.S. Lewis concluded, "not made for here".
So what are we to do with this holy, burning passion that we can't reason or push away? How do we live in a world with people who see things at face value, at ground level, when we see from 30,000 feet? That clearly there is more to our present reality than that which meets the eye?
We are writers. We are poets. We are thinkers. We are believers in the God-given gift of creativity birthed in the soul of humanity. We are the few. The survivors who will live to tell the story of a grander tale. That we not only live to exist in our world today. And we live for more than surviving through Friday to live for the weekend.
Our lives are but a vapor. And yet, we have the potential with the momentary breath we have to make lasting impact, affecting generations to come.
Now I know what you may be thinking. This is a great philosophical principle, but it is nearly impossible to to contextualize how we actually live this out in our everyday lives.
Yes, this is a great philosophy, a great guiding light for us to follow, but there is a very simple way we can choose every day to either walk the narrow road or the open road.
It all comes down to two simple words, one decision.
Discipline or disregard.
You see, in every choice we make, we come to a fork in the road, and depending on how we choose to decide, we continue on our way towards life or towards death.
We all live our own version of a choose-your-own-adventure story, where we hold the keys of decision and power, and we control, at least to some degree, our outcome and destiny. Now, I'm not saying we play God. There is a distinction between the supreme God of the universe who holds the keys to death & hell, the One who has the power to save and has control of every wave of the sea... What I am saying is, we are not just robots who do everything God says all of the time. We carry our own free will. And, with that free will, we make choices everyday; these choices shape the people we are and mold our character, for better or for worse.
In every decision we make throughout a day, we are choosing one of two things. Discipline or disregard. And ultimately, lots of little decisions build upon each other and the collective sum adds up to a life lived on the road that leads to life or the road that leads to destruction.
Let's talk about discipline.
Discipline is the practice of training. It's the choice to do the hard thing at times, to push the limits outside of what is always comfortable. Discipline is the choice to give time and attention to caring for physical or spiritual health, doing what needs to be done, even when it's not the easy thing to do. It always leads to the results everyone aspires to but few want to do the hard work to actually obtain.
The opposite is disregard. Disregard is choosing to ignore, to not pay attention to what's at hand. Disregard is the easy way out of most situations. It's choosing to not choose, to be lazy, and ultimately, live in a state of decline.
The simplest way to do an assessment of discipline and disregard is this.
Take out a piece of paper and make two columns. On the top of one, write "discipline," and atop the other, write "disregard". Then list every decision you make that is either one or the other.
Make some comparisons. Reading the word, watching TV. Working on hobbies, taking a walk…
And as you go throughout your day, ask yourself this question - is the decision I am making a decision of discipline or disregard? This simple question may be the one that alters the course of your final destination.
May we continue to be those that choose the road less traveled, but in the end, the road that leads to life.