Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Narrow Path

Matthew 7: 13 " Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
These verses are not new to me, I probably first heard them in the first grade. I have always had strong visuals associated with them, tiny rock strewn paths as opposed to super highways is how I see it all in my mind. Certainly reading "Hinds Feet in High Places" helped me get an idea what the whole concept is of the narrow way, but nothing teaches us like experience and that one moment, that "light bulb moment" when it all fits.
The little book I purchased yesterday, "The Way She Chose" is a true story, written for late teens I believe about how small easy choices begin to build the road we choose. Within the first chapter I had my "ahhh-haaa" moment. I suddenly got it. I was able to relate to the narrow path by comparing what was taking place in the story to what life experience had proved out and it all came together on an emotional level, not just the intellectual level where we say, "oh yes I understand that". I actually have seen where the easy road leads, its so gradual, so yes, easy to just slip down the road of less resistance. Its far more popular, far less "weird". That whole verse about being a peculiar people is so true and not sure about you folks but being considered peculiar is not exactly my idea of positive in the way of fitting into society. I have yet to meet an honest person that finds it always wonderful to be odd.
Back to the story.....we can in life sand down the hard spots to make them less difficult or peculiar. Convince ourselves that a few tweaks here and there to how we choose to believe scripture, will make us fit in better with mainstream thought in the world and thus make us a bit LESS peculiar. Sort of make the narrow road seem less narrow and easier to walk down each day.
I am pragmatic in some ways, actually a lot of ways. I think what the Bible says it means. Pretty straight forward and simple. Personally I don't like a lot that it says because it is so narrow. So many things that we should not do. Now yes I know if your heart is in the right place then its no problem to never gossip, never hold a grudge, never hold on to things folks did in the past, even if they asked for forgiveness, never think unkind thoughts, want more than we need, want things other folks have, wish our house looked like the one on this or that blog or magazine, never hold on to our coats rather than give them away to someone without one (i.e share what we have, the coat was the example in the Bible)
The list goes on.... we are to be modest as women, submissive, (yes, it does use that word and its pretty plain what it means, of course your husband should be well chosen and godly so he never asks anything of you that is not done in complete love). I am blessed here, Emery is really a godly man and certainly is not demanding, but me in my rebellion can find a million tiny things to get an "attitude" about. Strange thing is, a million tiny things can form into something bigger than reality. I can find myself getting ticked off inside when Emery asks what I spent on groceries, when all the man wanted to know is simply what did I spend. We women can be like that. So then we start hating the word submissive, because of our own attitudes.
Well, I don't know too many perfect people out there so not many just embrace all these "should do's" with gusto. Most of us struggle and honestly its much easier to take on a mindset of " that was for then, and this is now" thinking.
Only that sort of makes your road wide and smooth and easy to travel. The narrow road, is hard, it makes you a dinosaur. Outdated, old fashioned, peculiar, don't fit in, and then the clincher for most of us, we just seem like we are stupid for "falling for that religious fanaticism". Soon we become outcasts from anyone including family for taking this bumpy, narrow path that is filled with so many off limit things. Even our talk is changed. Here comes a big pet peeve with me.... I am so shocked at all the people that use words close to the really bad word. That 4 letter word that starts with an F is a word I cannot imagine using and I will not allow the words like it, used in my home. But its used everywhere !
I don't want to take the trip down the narrow rocky path of life, its not my WANT but it should be and today I can see such wisdom in taking it so maybe its a new beginning for me. It's strange though that in hiking those are the paths I seek out, love the challenge and brag about being healthy enough to hike. In life though, we want everyone to see us take the super highway of life, easy, sit back and just enjoy the smooth sailing. I wonder why in hiking, its such a sign of strength to take the narrow path yet in life we are all soft and can't imagine taking the narrow roads !


Anonymous said...

Patty, this made so much sense to me. I have been the outcast, within my own family, for many years. Sometimes even with my own husband and children, mainly stemming from not allowing "trash" in my home. Movies and music seem to be worse than anything these days. I don't necessarily want to be this way because I see myself as a free spirit, but I try to live as I should in every aspect. I hear it all to often..."that doesn't apply now days". I believe it does! Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for your thoughts on this.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Here I am being uncomfortable within myself because I somewhat disagree with you. (Please don't be offended!) Although mostly I agree, without even thinking, because I think our values are pretty similar. But, although I love the Bible and read it every day, I don't think it is so simple in many places. I think one needs to understand the place and time of the people who were inspired to write in it and understand with this in mind. Paul was always the leader in our family, but I never saw myself as being submissive. We were always equal partners. It didn't seem a contradiction. And we were always so happy together. I miss him so much. Sorry to get into this conversation. Everything seems to lead this way nowadays....

I must also say, however, that none of us (Paul, me or our three kids) were/are on the main highway of life. Seeing yourself as marching to a different drummer makes it easy to have a somewhat detached view of the present time and place world and not be so pulled into it.I always felt my kids has so many different peer groups - where we lived, our church, summers at Chautauqua, Hungarian Scouting.......It made no one group so powerful, especially not the tv/media world!

Of all the commandments, the one about loving God with one's whole heart and mind and soul and loving our neighbor as ourself is the important one to me, and I see everything through this lens. I bet you do too.

Patty said...

Hi Kristi,
There is no problem with seeing things differently than I do : )
For me, its not any big deal to have Emery be the leader in the home, and me be yes, that rather "politically incorrect" term submissive. Its not really anything more than a word for me as he is such a godly man, he never asks me to do anything that is not in our best interest. I guess probably the vice president would rather not be "submissive" to the president and perhaps most employees would rather not submit to their bosses and by the climbing number of criminals, there are plenty of folks that do not like to submit to the laws of the land. The word is not always bad : )
I think each of us has to live to our convictions.

Carole said...

Thank you so much for this post ! I totally agree with you on the bad words subject ; I have been the weirdo in my family because I asked them not to swear / to watch their language in front of our daughters, even when they were babies. This lead to a fight with my father who told me he could speak the way he wanted under his own roof... I was very sad he didn't think of his granddaughters, but his pride and stubbornness... but well, the common thinking about this is "it's not that bad, everybody talks like that !" It's true that walking on this "Road less travelled" makes one feel a little lonely at times... but being on the super large highway would be so much more uncomfortable !
Best regards !

Marci said...

Pat, I think the reason we all try and make our path wider is pure self love. So many times we think that doing it God's way is not going to be what is best for us. Oh how wrong we are. His way is not always the easiest, but it IS the ONLY way there is.

I liked what you said about not meeting an honest person that really likes be different all the time. Just this morning I read in the Psalms...Ps 69:6-12 Don't let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel. For I am mocked and shamed for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face. Even my own brothers pretend they don't know me; they treat me like a stranger. Passion for your house burns within me, so those who insult you are also insulting me. When I weep and fast before the LORD, they scoff at me. When I dress in sackcloth to show sorrow, they make fun of me. I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunkards sing about me. NLT

Even David the man after God's own heart noticed and was uncomfortable by it.

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