There is a fork in the road of life.
There is a sign by the side of the road that bends to the left. It says, Follow this road and you can be anything you want to be. It is a big, wide road that has obviously seen lots of traffic. You imagine that on this road there will be everything you need—plenty of restaurants, Airbnb’s, gas stations, and some places to stop and shop. You feel good that everything you need will be on this road.
Beside the road turns to the right, there is a sign that says, Follow this road and you can be anything God wants you to be. By contrast, this road looks considerably less traveled. You wonder what shape it is in. Is it safe? What if I have car trouble? What is there is a bridge out or something like that? What will I do?
Plus, you also have this nagging feeling that there is something limiting about being what God wants you to be. The truth is, He will probably want for you something you don’t want for yourself. If that is the case, why even start down the road if sooner or later you will regret such a decision?
Many of us are familiar with the poem Robert Frost wrote about the fork in the road. He made a choice and concluded it “made all the difference.” That’s certainly true here.
The difference between You can be anything you want to be and You can be anything God wants you to be isn’t much. In fact, it’s just one word—God. A little word with a universe of meaning.
Every year at graduation, 17- and 18-year-olds hear some version of You can be anything you want (the latest I’ve heard is, You can’t put a boundary on being yourself). It’s not like they haven’t heard this before—it’s our national anthem and they hear it from their parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors, etc. This message is enculturated through movies, songs, and stories. And it is bogus. Well-intentioned of course, but a counterfeit version of reality, nonetheless.
Want to win the Oscar for best actor or actress? Well, they only give out one of those a year and there are millions of people with this dream. You can do the math. The same thing for winning an Olympic gold medal, being president, winning a Nobel prize—you get the idea. The simple, grown-up truth is you cannot be anything you want to be. And the reason is just as deflating: Quite simply, we are not the masters of our destiny that others often lead us to believe we are. There are all kinds of factors we are not in control of: our health, the actions of the other 8 billion people on this planet (some of whom we need to achieve our goals), natural disasters (tornados, tsunamis and pandemics have interfered with peoples’ dream), etc.
Now for some good news—you can be anything God wants you to be. More good news: If you choose to walk down His road, He will be with you, bless you, and get you wherever you need to be. Some news you may not have thought about: God is much more capable of directing your life than you are. He knows you better than you know yourself. After all, do you know the number of hairs on your head? He does. Plus, there is also the small truth that He created you (and everyone else).
So then, it’s not a matter of calling on God to respond to our understanding—it’s about understanding how to respond to God’s calling. We have the choice of understanding Scripture in light of our experiences or understanding our experiences in light of God’s word.
This One who knows us intimately also loves us ultimately. He sent His Son to die for us. Millions of people have found peace, joy, and purpose in following Him. You will too if you will embrace Him. You can be anything He wants you to be!
Final thought: The two roads do not merge later. You must choose one or the other. A lot of people waste a lot of time trying to live on both roads or live on one road for a while, then double-back and get back on the other road. As long as you’re living, there’s still time to change the road you’re on but don’t make this any more difficult than it is: one road leads to death and the other to eternal life.
Make your choice accordingly.