Focus: Envisioning your path
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Today I saw a beautiful picture of a garden path in a magazine I was reading. I’ll do my best to describe it to you. If you try hard, maybe the description will allow you to catch an important vision.
At the entrance to the garden, there were rambling rose bushes. Clusters of deep pink blooms stretched up and over the entrance on either side—forming a natural arbor. Just past the entrance, several rough, but not large stone slabs formed a rugged stairway leading to lush greenery and more colorful flowers, which were dappled in sunlight.
Although I’m sure the sight of the garden beyond was breathtaking, you really couldn’t see much of it from the vantage point of the entrance. The steps just inside the arbor were taking up most of the picture. Only a little of the garden could be seen—but even the small amount of it that was visible would make you want to go further and see what was up ahead.
The distance from one stone step to the next wasn’t much, but each step was irregular to say the least. I couldn’t help but think how you’d have to really keep your eyes on the path as you stepped from one stone to another, or you’d easily stumble. Interestingly, the area that preceded the arbor was shadowy, compared to the sunlit masterpiece inside.
The story that accompanied the picture, told how this incredible showplace was made by a man who wanted to give his wife a rose garden. Without any training or knowledge, he began planting and researching. Some things worked and some things didn’t. In twelve years, he learned a lot. He started out with just six bushes, but one thing led to another. He ended up with 300 plants on a four acre piece of land. Planning and planting became his passion.
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Compare the picture and the story I just described to your own path on your journey to recovery. Hopefully, at this point you have seen a glimpse of the garden. You may not have navigated your way up the stony steps yet, but you know there is beauty to behold if you stay on the path and continue to make progress.
Maybe you haven’t seen your path as anything close to beautiful up to this point. Quite possibly, you’ve imagined your path more like a dusty, dry road through the wilderness…with no sign of an oasis. If that’s the case, it’s time to remember an important verse in the Bible. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
If you’ve seen your path as a wilderness—change your mind about that. ‘Faith’ says you can change your mind. Faith creates. So, if you’d rather be traveling on a path that leads to a rose garden—start envisioning your path that way.
Create your own vision of what you want that garden and path to look like. Start thanking God for the beautiful path He has put you on. Thank Him for bringing you out of the shadows and into the light of His presence. Thank Him for giving you the gift of faith. Faith can move mountains and it can certainly change the way you see your journey.
Sure the steps are uneven at first—and can require concentration in order to keep moving forward, but where you are headed is worth the climb. Each step you take is a promotion. A victory. A step you won’t have to take again if you keep climbing. The real wasteland is behind you…and you don’t have to go back.
Remember, recovery isn’t a destination…it’s a journey. There isn’t going to be a day that you ‘arrive’…at least, not here on earth. You will make more progress some days than others, but the important thing is that you keep taking steps. As you continue to put one foot in front of the other, God will guide you. He can’t lead a person who is standing still.
Once in a while, remember your lowest point—just so you can realize how far you’ve come. You don’t have to dwell on the memory, but it’s good to remind yourself that there have been worse days than this one. Others have traveled this path before you. Some of them thought they couldn’t continue through some of the more difficult places, but they did. You can, too.
Declaration: I will find new strength by changing the way I see my path. I will use the gift of faith to create a beautiful, new environment day by day. I will not lose heart. I will trust God to help me keep making steady progress—even if my steps are tiny.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.