Well before I ever knew what my dream was, I was aware of the sensation of it brewing inside me. It was an awkward season. I’d left the staff of a local church, left heart broken. For several years I pined for a vocation that fit me the way my previous role had fit me. So, I did what many do. I tried to find its replacement in the location I found it last. I served on the staff of two subsequent local churches, but in both instances, I knew they weren’t places where I could nest for long.
I was aching for something more: a life and vocation that fit me; a ministry that called forth my gifts and passions in a culture that I could embrace. In this season of discontent, a good friend shared with me some very important words expressed by Robert Frost in his poem, The Road Not Taken.
“During that time, my good friend, Ann, quoted Robert Frost to me. She said, “Remember that ‘way leads to way.’” That seemed like wisdom and resonated with me; that each way, though it wasn’t where I would ultimately land, led to the next way and then the next. So, I continued to turn down roads that looked promising and walked through open doors that seemed to have potential.” (From the Introduction to Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-given Dream)
Eventually, those roads and doors led to the identification of that dream brewing inside me and the realization of it--Sustainable Faith Indy—an urban retreat center committed to providing hallowed space for individuals and small groups to be still, pray, listen, process with others and receive spiritual guidance.
When a God-given dream is growing inside us, we often wonder what to do and where to go with it. Like Frost in his poem below, we find ourselves at a crossroads, trying to decide which path to take. We look to our right and left and have only a narrow range of view to see what lies beyond.
We wonder what will happen if we take the road toward the idea stirring in us. Where will it lead us? What challenges, risks and sacrifices will be required of us if we travel that road? Will we have what it takes? Will it/we succeed? We also wonder what would happen if we stayed the course we’re on. What will we miss out on? Will we have regret someday? Will we look with longing at the road not taken?
Really the only way to discover more about our dreams and ultimately pursue their fulfillment is to take one step and then the next. One way leads to the next way, which opens up new paths and possibilities that we wouldn’t have encountered if we’d stayed our previous course. It requires faith and risk to take the “road less traveled,” but as Robert Frost suggests, doing so can make all the difference!
I encourage you to read The Road Not Taken with spiritual eyes and ears. Notice what it churns up in you and what stands out to you as your contemplate each verse. Pay attention to how God might want to speak to you as you stand at a crossroads today.
The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
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.