In this world of difficulty and doubt, of struggles and hardships, of compromises and second choices, of injustice and affliction, each person comes to a crossroads in life.
There are two roads with signposts on each that say, “Way to Happiness.”
On the one hand is the road championed by the world, which promises much and delivers little. This road is taken by a vast array of people who are tricked into believing the billboards along the way. Those inducements, even your own internal dialogue, for taking this road can be compelling because of all of their glitzy promises. Instead of happiness, though, this road can lead to depression, anxiety and addiction.
There is another choice, another road. However, this road can appear less attractive when compared with the first. Because of this, it is a road less traveled. This is the road of faith, which uses a cross for a talisman. It does not say, “Take this road to avoid your pain.” The one road promises you’ll be in control. The other says you must give it up. The one appears all about pleasure. The other appears all about sacrifice. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to make the right choice.
American poet Robert Frost, in one of his most popular works, “The Road Not Taken,” illustrates the importance of the choices made in life in the last stanza of the poem:
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
In other words, you’ve come to a fork in the road — two paths promising to lead you to your desired destination. However, the one you choose may not be the most popular, but it may lead you to true happiness.
I guess what I want to leave you with is an exhortation to take the road less traveled because it will make all the difference. The world’s road eventually leads to a literal dead end. God’s road leads to eternity. Because it can be so difficult to choose the road less traveled, here are just a few things to remember as you stand at the crossroads each day:
– Happiness is a response to life that comes from the inside of a person, not from outside circumstances.
-Happines is a gift from God, based upon His goodness and mercy apart from circumstances.
– Depression isn’t something you live with; it’s something you get help for.
– Worry and anxiety are a learned response to life that can be acknowledged, understood, and overcome.
– Addictions both mask and amplify pain; they never heal it.
– What you tell yourself becomes who you are, so be careful what you say.
– Relationships are meant to support you, not drag you down.
– Taking care of your body helps you take care of your heart, soul, and mind — all are used to love God.
– Stop trying to control your own life, and start trusting in God to get you where you need to go.
– An attitude of optimism is a choice.
– Hope is a response based on an expected future, not a reaction to an experienced present.
– Joy is the spark that uses the tinder of optimism to ignite the fuel of hope.
– Even if happiness isn’t a path you’ve taken before or it seems artificial or unamiliar, go down the path anyway, taking baby steps.
– Each day presents you with a new opportunity to be happy.
– Each failure today points the way to success tomorrow.
– Sometimes the clearest lesson you receive today is confirmation of where you don’t want to go tomorrow.
– Don’t let anything get in the way of getting the help you need. Ask…expect…act.
– Don’t wait on others to hand you happiness; take hold of it yourself.
As you embrace this new way of thinking, living, and responding, may you, in the words of Paul, come “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19). May this overpower the strongholds of depression, anxiety, and addictions in your life. May this be a fountain of unending happiness. the reason for your optimism, the source of your hope, and the reservoir of your joy.
SOURCE: Afterword, “The Road Less Traveled,” in Happy for the Rest of Your Life by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE