Sometimes we identify progress with speed. And on occasion that is synonymous. But direction matters more. And sometimes direction isn’t as simple as we believe.
C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that we think the guys running fastest are making the most progress. But sometimes, the guy walking in the opposite direction is the one really rockin’ it. When you are headed the wrong direction, the first one to turn around makes the best decision.
We all make wrong moves in life, moves that we need to recover from because we got lost. Sometimes though you are as clear headed as you could be, running towards a clearly defined goals, only to come to a sign that says: “road closed ahead, take detour here.” Then real progress is the detour.
If only there were always big orange signs in life. There are not. There are small signs though. The guy walking the other way trying to tell you that the road ahead isn’t going to get you there. Sometimes we need to ask. If there is someone back tracking confidently, stop and ask the reason.
It is one thing to be defeated. There is no nobility in that. There is nobility in discovering the roadblock though, and taking corrective action. Even if that is back-tracking. There is no shame in learning a lesson.
The more willing we are to learn from others though, the easier those lessons will come. It is called listening to wise counsel. I have said before that it matters more who I become then what I achieve. And I believe that.
I think our dreams and our destinations are often more about getting us on the journey, than about getting there. Because it is the journey that builds, tests and refines our character. When we get that, progress becomes about how well I get there rather than how fast I get there.
Then I have the time to stop and smell a few roses, and be thankful; I have the patience to listen to someone’s story and learn something new. It allows me to see obstacles I can’t avoid as growing opportunities. And it allows me to listen to wisdom and avoid the roadblocks I might otherwise have had to discover on my own.
And avoiding road blocks when possible is good. Smashing into a roadblock hurts. You won’t avoid all roadblocks though. Some will crush your nose because you hit them so hard. I know! I have been there too often.
I remember a preacher years ago that said: “some of you prayed for God to give you direction, and bam, you smashed your nose straight into a wall. And you whine and complain and wonder why God didn’t direct you. How about instead, you get up, dust yourself off and thank God. His direction obviously worked. Your nose is bearing testimony to that.”
That approach is a more faith-filled approach and it delivers more confidence. I’ve been tempted to give up on that dream or destination, but so far by God’s grace, I have picked up, dusted myself off and tried to learn something from it.