The title above is an edited quote from a Spanish poet named Antonio Machado. His poem reminds us that our footsteps create the path we need. We make our way in life by striding into it. Our lives do not come with maps. Since every life is a novice experience; we all step into uncharted territory, and every tomorrow is untouched. Praise God that we are not left blind! We depend on His Word of Truth which shapes the points of our compass. We are led by His Spirit who sees around the curves of our lives. There are wise guides among us who support us from their own experience. Still, our individual path is unmarked, waiting for us to blaze it. It’s vain to hunt for paved highways that will lead us to the correct destination. Paved roads lead to a destination someone else has determined for us.
What’s true of our lives in general applies to our souls specifically. Our soul’s progress is a pilgrimage. We make our path by walking, and we walk by faith. There is no other way to navigate our journey of soul.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor.5:7, ESV).
We are to pace ourselves to the Spirit’s leading and not trust our natural instincts or desires (Gal.5:16). We crave a path of our own making, or at least an explanation of what will happen when we navigate by God’s directions. While we crave certainty, it’s an appetite which will go unfed. Our longing for obvious signage and direct routes will be disappointed. We proceed one step at a time and one day at a time. There are no short cuts. Most journeys are not straight lines. The route doesn’t always make sense to us. A faith walk may not seem to be the most efficient with time and energy, but eventually we learn that spirituality is not a race. “Winning” is not finishing first – it is simply finishing well.
Since our path is created by a faith walk, we’ll have to accept the unavoidable fact that we will make our share of mistakes. It is the human dilemma. Some of our steps will be misplaced. There will be wrong turns, dead ends, and the need to retrace our steps. We often worry that our missteps have ruined the trip. But know this – God is less concerned than we are. God knows that no one gets it right all the time, no one. Perfectionism, proficiency, productiveness, predictability, and performance – all good slogan words for building a business. But souls require a different language. Mercy, forgiveness, empathy, gentleness, and grace. These are the whispered words of God for pilgrims. They are spoken to the fears and failures of those who are lost. They call the soul who has halted, unsure about the next step. They give hope to the sojourner who treads into the unknown.
The calendar whispers that a new year is knocking. We can’t know what it will hold any more than we could predict the year behind us. Time keeps inviting us into the unknown. Regardless of how much of the path is behind you or in front of you – we make the road by walking. So, trust God for your next step. Release yourself from the compulsion of perfectionism. Learn from the errors of yesterday, but don’t carry them. Harvest wisdom from fellow pilgrims, but stay on your own path. Face the unmarked territory before you and trust that God is already there. He bids you to step out. Walk in faith.