As we are in graduation season, I’ve been thinking of what I would say to a graduating senior. No, I haven’t been invited to speak at a graduation since my own in 1980, but since that commencement speech I’ve learned a lot about what comes before graduation and what comes after. Before graduation, someone else was responsible for us and our actions. After graduation, as adults we are responsible for our actions. (Or at least it is supposed to be that way…today’s society seems to not want to take responsibility, but that conversation is for another day.) OK, I’ll say in a court of law, we are then responsible for our own actions (with our 18th birthday being the cutoff). Usually before graduation, Mom and Dad are paying most if not all of our bills, now we’re on our own (or are heading that way soon). Going off to college brings independence and opportunity to be wise or really make some big mistakes. Lots of tests lie behind the graduate, but even more lie in their future. Goals, dreams, and plans are all on the horizon. Will they be met, realized, changed, or lost?
When I look at the seniors today, I wonder what life will bring them. I see what the last 37 years have brought me. Do they realize? Did I realize? I have to think of what I learned from Andy Stanley a while back…”the principle of the path.” The principle of the path is quite simple. But for some reason many of us don’t get it. I wish I had realized it back in 1980. The principle of the path basically says that every action we make puts us on a path for a destination. Our hopes and dreams and INTENTIONS don’t make a difference if we don’t choose to take the path that leads to the destination we desire. (In some cases, I truly thought my intentions would make it happen, but the results were not so.) I listened to his series on the subject. The video message series is called Destinations. It is available through RightNow Media (subscription required…I have mine free through my church). He also wrote a book on the subject. https://www.amazon.com/Principle-Path-How-Where-Want/dp/0849946360 I’d also like to direct you to this wonderful book review that honestly may save you the time of reading the book if you just want the basics. http://www.journeyguy.com/review-the-principle-of-the-path/ And one more link for great quotes from the book is this… https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/6227826-the-principle-of-the-path-how-to-get-from-where-you-are-to-where-you-wa .
In the four-part series Destinations, Andy Stanley examines the disconnect between our dreams and the paths we take to reach them—that our direction, not our intentions, determines our destinations. Here are some thoughts from his study notes:
“Think about the last time you were traveling and got lost. You had your destination in mind. You had every intention of getting there. But you took the wrong path, and you didn’t end up where you wanted to be. A disconnect often occurs between the path you choose and where you want to end up. This is the principle of the path and we’ll discover how it impacts every area of your life. The principle of the path teaches that direction determines destination. What are some of the paths that you have taken in life? Where did they lead you? Why do we tend to think that we are the exception to the path principle? Why do we see our choices as individual events, instead of seeing them as a path to a destination? Wrong paths have an emotional appeal that causes us to trade the immediate for the ultimate. If we choose immediate gratification, then we forfeit where we eventually want to be. Proverbs 7:25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. ”
This principle can apply to many aspects of our lives. If I want to get stronger, I need to exercise. If I want to save money, I can’t be spending frivolously (and need to focus on earning). If I want my house organized, I need to organize it, then continue to keep it that way. But how many times do we intend to meet these and other long term goals, but don’t do the things that lead to their destination. Procrastination is a big part to avoiding the path to the destination too; I think… the “I’ll do that later” mentality.
So whether you are a senior graduating or are a senior citizen, or somewhere in between, the principle of the path can still lead you to your destination goals. Choose your path wisely!