Leading Yourself: The Path of Least Resistance

Graduation time is fast approaching, for high school and for college, and it’s a time when many graduates are thinking, “What do I do next?”  Some might think that the decisions that they make now won’t affect their future that much (because, after all, they can always change direction later), but that is SO far from the truth.

GraduationThe decisions that you make today will affect the rest of your life, and the direction of your life, so don’t take the path that only offers the least resistance.  If, as a high school senior, you decide to go to a certain college because one of your friends is going there, that could affect the direction of the rest of your life.  If, as a college graduate, you have one job offer from the company where you did your internship, don’t take it only because it offers something familiar; it could adversely alter the direction of the rest of your life.  Don’t go back and live at home merely because it’s the easiest thing to do.

Instead of taking the path of least resistance, find the right path, by spending some time on the following tasks:

Discern God’s Will
Spend concentrated time in prayer, asking God to reveal his will for your life.  I know this might sound corny to some, but if you don’t do this, you will act on whims, being tossed about by the wind:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)

Don’t be driven and tossed around.  Ask God to give you wisdom about the direction of your life.  Get an abundance of counsel in this area.  You may not know how to discern God’s will, but in the abundance of counsel there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).  The best way to discern the will of God is by diving into God’s Word and spending time in prayer.  Go away for a while and spend some time in by yourself in study, prayer, and listening for and to the Lord.

Discern Your Own Desires
There are many people that take the path of least resistance by following what their parents’ desires are for them.  Or their siblings.  Or their college roommate.  Or their pastor.  Don’t do this.  Spend some time in contemplation about what you want to do.  It’s your life.  Do you want to go work for your dad’s company?  Do you want to become a missionary?  Do you want to go on to get another degree?  Combine this step with discerning God’s will.  If your desires line up with God’s will, you will be dynamite (#winning).  If your desires don’t line up with what you have been told is God’s will, ask why not?  Are your desires ungodly?  Are you resisting following God’s leading?  Are you accepting as God’s will something that’s not (i.e. is someone else pushing “God’s will” onto you)?

Set Out Your Goals
After you have a grasp on God’s will and your own desires, take some time to set out some goals.  Things don’t happen overnight.  Make a plan, so you don’t get off track.

Make a Life Plan
Most people live a reactive life, taking the path of least resistance to every choice or decision.  They react to things that happen to them.  They let life happen to them.  Don’t be most people.  Instead, lead a proactive life.  That means having a plan.  Take some time (a week, a month, or several months, in my case) to make a life plan.  While having a life plan doesn’t have to dictate your life, and should be subject to change by the Holy Spirit, it’s something that you should have.  Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has a great e-book to get you started.

Start Living
If you’ve taken the time to go through these steps, you will have put yourself on the path toward success.  You will have begun to lead yourself.  The last step is to start living.  You can do all of the last four things, but if you don’t actually start doing the things you set out, then it’s all for naught.  You’ve made your plan; now go and implement it.  Start doing the things that you set out to do, following Christ as your head.

Questions: What is your life plan?  Have you taken the path of least resistance?