Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Whatever your background or culture, chances are that there are acceptable or desired “paths” which you are expected to follow. Social norms and universal goals can be found in most areas of society and cover everything from education to family relationships, and career paths, to any other life choice you can think of. It’s these norms that are used to measure our success or failure in life and give us an indication as to how we compare to those around us.
What happens, though, if the path that is laid out before you looks very different from the one you would choose for yourself, if you were given the chance?
Horses for courses
It may be stating the obvious, but we’re all different. Each of us have unique skills and abilities, and likes and dislikes, so to try and insist that everyone follow the same course makes very little sense. Comparing a person who is gifted academically with another who is a naturally sporty individual, doesn’t do either one any justice. Each is talented in a separate field and making either one feel less because they don’t measure up in an area that they aren’t skilled in serves very little purpose. Instead of asking everyone to conform to the same standards, wouldn’t it be better for each person to find their own way and determine a course most suited to who they are and what it is that they have in their heart to do?
Run your own race
Everyone is a ten out of ten at something. While you may not be a genius at mathematics, you may be amazing at connecting with people or vice versa. The trick is, to find that thing that you are amazing at. Trying to be like someone else or running a path that isn’t meant for you will only be frustrating and disappointing.
The good news is that you can’t be left behind if you’re blazing your own path. The Bible often talks about our spiritual lives being like a race. We are told that we should run with purpose and focus, setting our eyes on the prize at the end of the race, which is Jesus. So rather than trying to run a race that has been determined by someone else, find the road that God has marked out for you and blaze that trail towards his plans and purposes for your life.
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. – Galatians 6:4-5