Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taking the High Road

I have been taught since childhood to take the high road.  You never know who is watching, so always act with integrity and go beyond others expectations so that you are known as a person who takes pride in themselves, their work, and their relationships. 

As I have gotten older, I am learning that this is easier said than done.  Expectations are high.  You get tired.  Sometimes, you just get tired of dealing with the same struggles day in and day out.  Sometimes we just want a shortcut or an easy way out, because life can just get too hard at times. 

Taking the high road is difficult. It is a tough road to follow, especially when life begins to nip at your heels and you begin to struggle with all of the stress that seems to land on your plate.  I know…I have been there, done that, and have all too many t-shirts that advertise my struggle to stay on the high road.

With all of the difficulties, sometimes I wonder if it is really worth it.  After all, who would really know if I took the easy way out?   Who would know if I compromised my beliefs on this one thing?  Well, for me the answer was at least the two most important would know…me and God.

Being raised in a Christian home smack in the middle of the Bible belt, I am all too familiar with my conscience and the havoc it will bring on a poor compromising soul trying to sleep.  I know…again, because I have been there and done that-- in my younger, dumber days.

I truly believe that one of the few things that we have outright in this life is our character.  It takes a lifetime to build a good one, and just one poor decision to destroy one.  For me, it is one of the things that I treasure, because it is the basis of who I am and what I stand for.  A wise pastor of mine always recited the quote that “Character is who you are when no one is looking.” 

So often it is those moments when no one is looking, where we make the decisions that make or break our character.  One compromise can lead to another…and before we know it, we are off track taking a long walk down a road we never meant to take in the first place.  That road is usually riddled with more potholes and obstacles than the high road ever had.  The price of compromise and altering course is normally much higher than if we would have just hunkered down and did what we knew was right to begin with…even if it was difficult to do.  Compromise can destroy your character, your reputation, your relationships, and even yourself as a Christian.

You have to deliberately choose to take it with every choice and every step you make in life and that is what makes taking the high road so difficult.  It is the consistency that makes us who we are…and it is consistency that will keep us on the “high road”.

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