Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Born to Follow

Human beings are born to follow. We follow whomever we perceive to provide us the greatest advantage in life. Those who perceive wealth to be the greatest advantage follow after the likes of George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, and other noted billionaires. Those who perceive power to be the greatest advantage delve into politics and follow after political leaders. Those who perceive knowledge to be the greatest advantage follow after those who are respected leaders in fields of science and academics. This tendency to follow those we perceive to provide us the greatest advantage in life is a strength, not a weakness. It opens us to the ability to learn from others who have already achieved what we desire and by doing so give ourselves a better chance of achieving it ourselves. It becomes a weakness, though, when we discount the reality of this natural tendency and so fail to choose the ones we follow with great care.

When I was little, I followed my parents but my parents were not good examples. I began to mistrust leadership of any kind. I set out to make my own path, but the effort to do so only meant that I found myself following after anybody who even sounded like they might know the way. I didn't understand it at the time, but what I was looking to find was someone who could lead me to happiness at a time in my life when I didn't even understand what that was or how it would look when I found it.

My mom raised me Catholic, so I knew that Jesus was supposed to be the person whom I followed but my rejection of my parents as leaders and my suspicion of anyone in a leadership position as a result led me to reject Jesus at first. It was not until the disastrous consequences of trying to follow my own path hit me in the heart that I began to open up to the possibility that Jesus might be on to something. He might be right.

It would take several years of following Him for a little while only to decide to follow my own path again and then comparing the results like some before-and-after photo session that I would finally fully commit myself to His leadership, at least on the mental level. In the years since I first made that decision, I have seen dramatic changes in my life for the better. This doesn't mean I don't have struggles and trials in my life. I have plenty of both, and some are going on as I write this, but what it does mean is that when I do have those struggles and trials to overcome I know where to look for guidance. I also know that most - though not all - of my struggles and trials come from having stepped off the narrow path somewhere along the way and that all that is necessary to improve my life and circumstances is to find where I made the mistake and fix it. If it isn't my fault, and it's just one of the many twists and turns on the narrow path, then I know that all that is needed is to persevere in prayer and faith and keep my eyes on Christ as I struggle to make my way through.

We're all born to follow. The only question is who we are following and whether we want to be where they are going. I know that Jesus is heading to Heaven and I want to be there, too, so I follow Him.

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