They can't see the forest for the trees.
Have you ever heard that phrase before? It's likely you have. The point being that someone is so wrapped up in the details of something immediately in front of them that they cannot see the big picture all around them.
Now picture this...
Someone is walking along a path in the woods. The path is narrow and winding. The trees that line it are thick and dense. The person traveling on it can only make out the next few feet ahead of them at a time because of the lack of light. Each turn is a risk, because they can't see what will come next. They might be fine, or they might come face to face with a challenge that seems insurmountable.
The longer the journey takes the more frustrated the traveller becomes. Their eyes start to wander from the path to the trees next to them. They wonder what might happen if they start to create a new path. They begin to push back on the brush next to them. At first the steps away from the path that is worn before them are exciting. They are convinced that if they push straight through the brush, branches, and thorns long enough, they'll be better off.
Have you ever been there?
And then this...
Straight paths are often the illusion that leads us away from our destination.
When we can't see the forest for the trees we miss the gift of the path.
While we may not be able to see around every corner, it doesn't mean we should take matters into our own hands. Dimly lit is still lit. The view of a few feet is still better than complete darkness.
The big picture?
Staying the course isn't always easy, but if we want to make it our destination it's necessary. We think we can take matters into our own hands, when by doing so our strength runs out. We become lost. We get so far off the path, that doubling back to reset our course is a reminder of lost time, resources, and pride swallowed.
We could avoid having to double-back if we stayed all-in.
Are there times when we have to chart a new course in life where there doesn't seem to be any path whatsoever?
That's a story for another day.
We are talking about the known calling to follow the path we are on, and stay the course. To trade the presumptive preferences we fall in love with for the vision we said we would stay committed to. It won't always be easy. Some days will be extremely hard.
See the forest for the trees before you take the first steps of your journey.
There is a destination on the other side.
Taking matters into your own hands when you are tired will take you to a place where you are lost, exhausted, and crawling back to the point you left your path.
If you find yourself in that moment, resist the urge to let your pride win. Run back. Walk back. Crawl back. Do whatever you can to get back on your path. Learn from the detour, and use it as a reminder. Don't let the lure of straight lines convince you that just because your journey gets narrow, winding, and dark that you should leave it.
If the road you are on is well lit and wide, it's likely it's an overcrowded path.
If the road ahead seems lonely, it might just be that you are leading.
Leading doesn't always have cheerleading along the way.
See the big picture.
Stay the course.
Trust the vision.
And when you do come out of the other side?
Celebrate the focus it took to reach your destination, and rest up.
There are more roads to travel.
And can I make one last observation?
Look for the narrow ones.
"...it MAY BE that..."
The narrow roads lead to the biggest opportunities.
More on that tomorrow.