How do you want to be remembered? Boil it down to one sentence – what you would like people to say about you?
Why don’t you write that down in a journal or your planner, or put it in the Notes app on your phone.
Make it a goal.
Often we wander through life thinking things will turn out the way we want while living in a way that prevents that. The road you take in life determines your destination, both literally and metaphorically. You won’t get to New York by taking the road to Atlanta. Nor will you live a life of character while taking the path of sin and compromise. So if you really do have an image of what you’d like to have said about you, are you living in a way to make that become a reality?
If a person’s goal was to be on the Fortune 500 list there would be many steps to take to achieve that: education, training, starting your business, making sound decisions for your company, hiring the right people, and keeping up to date in your field. If you set out to become National Teacher of the Year that would require development as well. It would mean getting the proper education and training. It would also require development in specific areas: classroom management and organizational skills, understanding children and learning styles, getting continuing education and National Board certification, and mastering the dynamics of being a highly contributing, highly respected part of a faculty.
Likewise, if your goal is to be a godly mom, a faithful servant of the Father, a shining light for Christ in your company, or whatever, it doesn’t just happen. It starts with a choice: the choice of committing to Christ above all things. That is followed by more intentional choices including studying God’s Word, pursuing mentoring or training, and taking any other particular steps that would lead you to become the woman you hope to be. It would mean choosing a different path in life, one that would lead people to say of you, “She was a worshipper of God and her heart was open to the Lord,” as scripture says of Lydia in Acts 16:14, or “She was always doing good works and acts of charity,” as Luke says of Dorcas in Acts 9:36, or “I commend her to you. She is a servant of the church and a benefactor of many,” as Paul said of Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2.
The following line by Robert Frost may be one of the most well-known lines of poetry of any American author, and it has been interpreted by many.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
As we think today of our life, our goals and wishes, it would serve us well to recall this brief line of poetry and to ask ourselves some questions.
In light of what I wrote down a few minutes ago about how I’d like to be remembered, am I on the path that would lead to that being said about me?
If I want a Godly, noble, upright outcome, then am I choosing the path that leads to that?
Is the path I am currently taking today preparing me for what I want to become?
Am I on the path I am today because it is the well-traveled path and I can’t shake the insecure neediness of being like everyone else?
Am I too fearful to choose the path “less traveled by?”
Am I willing to try a better path starting today?
Frost was correct. The path we are on does make all the difference. God’s word said the same thing hundreds of years before Frost did. It says:
Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12 ESV
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 NIV
Today we have a choice. We can choose to follow along with other sheep happily wandering around the pasture with no direction and no leadership. This is a well-worn, wide path. Or we can choose to follow the Shepherd closely, staying right at His side, listening to His every word, obeying His every command, and making choices that lead us to the lofty goal we desire. It won’t happen in a day, a month, or even a year. But we will find ourselves growing toward that goal of godliness, holiness, and wisdom year by year. So here is the choice:
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV
What do you choose? What will be said of you when you come to the end of your path of life? Will you take the narrow way, the road less traveled? It will make all the difference.