What Path Do You Choose?
Have to. Want to. Get to. Those are three very important phrases. Each of them places us on a different path. “Have to” is life lived seeing burdens and onerous duties at every turn. On this path, most opportunities are missed because they are disguised as distasteful disciplines. One hears oneself frequently saying things like, “I have to eat better; I have to exercise; or I have to cut back on social media.”“Have to” too often results only in feelings of guilt. If you find yourself on the “have to” path, you need a change of paths. This leads us to the “want to” path. Many of us find that our “want to” is broken or misplaced. Such was the case with a man Jesus encountered in the Bible. It seems there was a pool beside one of the gates which led into Jerusalem. Legend has it that an angel would periodically stir the water of the pool and the first person in would be healed. Naturally then the pool was constantly surrounded by the blind, the lame and the paralyzed, each hoping to be the first into the pool after the waters were touched by an angel. Jesus arrives on the scene; He learns about one of those lying there – a paralyzed man who had been there for 38 years. I can imagine this man thinking over and over, “I have to get to the pool first.” With that in mind, Jesus says, “Do you want to get well?” It sounds like an odd question apart from the context of the need to move from the “have to” path to the “want to” path. On the “want to” path we begin to dream again, hope again, and believe again. This changes the way we see things. Excuses give way to ownership. When we take ownership of what we can do, it revives our “want to.” A revived “want to” positions us for life on the best path of all. The “get to” path is where life is lived to the fullest. Now you hear yourself saying things like “I get to exercise.” Our circumstances have not changed. What has changed is our outlook and attitude. This is how we raise the bar on our discipleship.