Courage Integrity Assertiveness Confidence Restraint

Monday, May 9, 2011

What DIRECTION will your life take?

This weekend I had the privilege of teaching a lesson written by Andy Stanley to a group of amazing 5th and 6th graders. This lesson has so much potential to reach you where you are and give you a visual of the DIRECTION your life is taking. This is something so powerful I wanted to share it with you here, on the blog.

I hope that you will choose to share it with friends that you think could adjust their direction toward a safer path. You could save a life!

Read this statement slowly, read it again and let it sink in:
Your path, not your intention, determines your destination.

Are you feelin' it? Do you "get" what that is saying? Basically it is telling you a TRUTH that could change your life...TODAY. You can have the best intentions for your life, for where you want to be one day. But the path you choose as you go through your teens is what will determine your destination.

So, let me paint the picture for you...
You have the INTENTION of being a smart girl as you go through your school years. You put school at a high priority and your dream is to be a teacher after college. That's a really good INTENTION!

However, you have a group of friends that start putting more emphasis on partying than school. You rationalize their behavior with, "Well, you're only young once. They are just trying to relieve their stress. It won't hurt if you only drink every now and then." Basically, you are believing that your INTENTION will get you to that dream of being a teach even if your PATH takes a little detour.

Now, a couple months  down the road, your friends have moved into experimenting with drugs when they "party" - it's just a release, right? They are just blowing off steam. You try it here and there and you know that if you keep your eye on the prize (being a teacher) it will be easier for you to steer clear of becoming some kind of sick addict. You got this. You can handle this.

Report cards come home. You have failed 3 of your 5 major classes because your PATH has now veered so far away from your DESTINATION and you now realize that your INTENTION can NOT keep you on that right PATH...
Only your DIRECTION, not your INTENTION, determines your DESTINATION!

This is one of those things that if you don't take it seriously, you will look back on this day and think...why didn't I take that blog post seriously?!

So, what happens when you realize you are veering off the path? There are four words that can change your life: ACTION, SACRIFICE, EMBARRASSMENT and RELIEF! If you find yourself on a PATH that is so far from your INTENTION, there is hope!! You can get back on that path! I promise! But you will have to WORK and FIGHT for it. But you will be stronger for it! And the story you will have to tell and share with others will be so inspirational!

Now, here's the deal with these four words!!

ACTION - This is knowing you have to do something, i.e. end a relationship, make a phone call, have a tough conversation, and doing it. You know what it is. You know there is an ACTION you need to take that will change your direction. But what will this take?

SACRIFICE - You will realize that the ACTION you need to take will require giving something up. It may mean walking away from a friendship. It may mean walking away from a "habit" you have gotten yourself into. It may mean sacrificing your reputation. Youch. As a society, we don't like depriving ourselves of something.We are brought up believing if something feels uncomfortable it must be bad... sacrifice for the right reasons will still be uncomfortable but it is ALWAYS the right thing to do. So, what happens then?

EMBARRASSMENT - You are going to have to grow a thick skin. Your friends will hate that you are making a wise choice! Your reputation is going to change and teens will have a field day with this. People will see this change and because they aren't in your head, they won't understand it. And that's OK. You need to take care of YOU. Your true friends will know your heart and support your choices. What does this get you?

RELIEF - This is the good news! You will look back on this whole process and be able to breathe a sigh of relief. You got out. You are back on track. You will watch those people who continued down that path you WERE on and you will breathe that sigh of relief over and over when you see them fumble and you realize you got out in time. You didn't get pregnant before graduation. You weren't addicted to prescription drugs. You got into your dream college. You have the most amazing friends that SHARE YOUR PATH and will celebrate with you when you all reach that DESTINATION together!

The key to all of this is realizing AHEAD of time that your DIRECTION IS CHANGING- don't wait until you are LOST...and, like a GPS, re-route your path and get back on the right route before you really don't know where you are!

Let's discuss this some more - tell us YOUR story in the comments below.

Thank you, Andy Stanley, for an AWESOME, life-changing lesson!

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