[This article was inspired by my friend, Jon Sheptock. Jon was born with no arms, a short right leg, and a bleak outlook on what his life would be like. When he was born, his parents were told he would never walk, talk, or have a “normal” life. Now, he is an accomplished singer, songwriter, speaker, and video gamer (no, that’s not a misprint). He’s also married and has three children. He is full of joy and optimism and has an incredible story to tell. Listen to it on the podcast.]
We all have had those moments when we felt like we weren’t good enough. Think back to when you were younger, a teenager. Do you remember at some point looking at those around you and thinking, “I wish I could be more like them; I wish I was better looking, stronger, better at sports, more confident etc. Life just isn’t fair.”? Maybe you were even told that were not going to be “normal”. You were given a diagnosis of sorts and you would be forever “disabled” and defined by your condition. This could even be a self-diagnosis. “It all just adds up”, we say, “All the symptoms are there, so it must be true.” We somehow got this notion that our potential was dependent on how we compared to others, whether it’s something we were told or not. It’s a path that almost all of us go down, and it leads to a pivotal crossroads.
There are two roads to take in these situations. The “easy” road is the one that leads to a life that is built on the presumption that our false perceptions of ourselves were true. We don’t go after certain things or pursue certain paths because of our “disability”. We feel it is a valid excuse. So we hang out where it is safe and comfortable, all the while being quietly upset with God for not making us better (whatever that means). We find out years down this road that it leads to regret and discontentment. Wishful thinking fills our mind and lack of ambition clouds our vision. We end up at a place where we are still searching for that elusive thing we are supposed to do, our “calling”, and we have no clue how to find it. We know it’s there, though, because it haunts us. We can feel it somewhere deep in our gut, but we can no longer see it clearly. It turn out that, in the long run, this road is actually much harder.
Then there is the other path: the “hard” road. It starts out the same, but at some point we take a chance and push past our perceived limitations. This is the hard part. We have to step out into uncharted territory. We don’t know what the road looks like ahead or what will happen, but we know deep in our gut that it is the right path. We can feel God somehow leading us, and the longer we stay on this path the clearer things get. Eventually, and without realizing it, we step into our “calling”. Honestly, it feels more like stepping into something that was somehow prepared for us. When we get there, it’s bigger than we thought and all those steps down the unmapped road were preparing us for this moment. It’s what “life to the fullest” feels like. Not many take this path or get to this point, but it’s what we were made for.
If you are on the second road, then keep going. If you took the first road and are feeling that quiet discontentment, don’t worry. You can still take the second road. Your calling is still waiting, trust me. And the world is waiting on you to step into it, too. In fact, the world needs it. Step out into the unknown and follow that almost silent voice inside you. There is something waiting for you down this road, and it’s bigger and better than you’ve imagined.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost, “The Road not Taken”