Thursday, August 13, 2009

On my nightstand -- The Principle of the Path

The new book at my bedside is called The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley. While the basic premise of the book isn't something that you couldn't come up with on your own -- if you want to get somewhere, you need to choose the path that ends there -- Stanley's applications and teachings springing from this principle are far reaching and thought provoking.

I heard about this book on the radio while out running errands one day and was struck by his illustration. It went something like this . . . someone approached him with their life in shambles, on the verge of divorce and/or financial ruin, and asked what the answer was. Stanley responded that there was no easy fix. If you get on a highway going the wrong way and drive 500 miles, you can't come up with some "fix" to suddenly bring you where you want to be. You have to start by driving back those 500 miles, and even then you are just back where you started!

So obvious, but so ignored in our regular life choices.

If you want to hear what the author has to say about this fairly new book, check out this 3 1/2 minute video.

Just wanted to share a couple quotes from my reading last night:
Our problem rarely stems from a lack of information or insight. It's something else . . . Our problem stems from the fact that we are not on a truth quest. That is, we don't wake up every morning with a burning desire to know what's true, what's right, what's honorable. We are on a happiness quest. We want to be -- as in feel -- happy. And our quest for happiness often trumps our appreciation for and pursuit of what's true.

That made me catch my breath. How often is that true in my life? How often do I intentionally look past the true truth, to what I want or what makes me happy at the moment, or my fabrication of the truth? I've got to filter my choices through a desire for truth, God's Truth!

Of course, Stanley has much, much more to say, and I am devouring this book. I do have one more follow up quote to share before I move on for now:
When we stand at the crossroads between prudent and happy, we lie to ourselves. We turn into dishonest salespeople. We begin selling ourselves on what we want to do rather than what we ought to do . . . Once we get fixated on the happiness option, we assign our brains the task of coming up with a list of very convincing reasons to support our choice. Reasons, by the way, that really have nothing to do with why we chose to do what we did.

He then gives an illustration of the typical car buyer that says they bought the newer SUV because the gas mileage on their less than two year old one was killing them. We all have our own scenarios where we rationalize our choices with completely irrelevant reasoning, sugar coating our poor choice to make it go down better. I couldn't help but thinking of the ice cream I ate at 11:00 the other night . . . and my husband even lovingly asked what I was doing. I should have listened, but you should have heard that dishonest salesperson jabbering away in my brain.

Need some inspiration to make sure you are on the right path? Can't necessarily change the past besides driving back those 500 miles we shouldn't have driven in the first place, but we can make sure that we choose our current paths based on where we want to end up. I still have two thirds of the book to finish, but so far I really recommend it (and, of course, I found it at my library, so even if yours doesn't have it, you should be able to get it through interlibrary loan, at least when I'm done. :-)

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