I thought about this analogy as I scrolled through my Facebook pictures late last night. I scrolled and scrolled all the way back to the first picture I was ever tagged in. It never really means all that much at the moment, when you're hanging out with the same group of friends you saw last week and someone snaps a random picture of you. In some mundane moment, you're captured smiling (or not smiling) and you "like" the picture that's been posted on your wall, because that's all the picture is worth at the time. Four years later, I see how much things have changed and I realize I was already at a happy place all the way back when. In the hundreds of mundane moments, I know I was having visions of grandeur and happier times a head when I was already there. One thought of discontent leads to another and some how, four years later, you find yourself looking through pictures of happier times wasted.
My grandad, or my youth group kid of a leader told me this cautionary tale to warn, if you are not aware of what kind of container you remain in and unaware of what kinds of people you let in, you will surely cook. (Somehow...the marinading took a lot longer than planned...maybe I was stuck on the French cooking too long. Regardless.) The people you surround yourself with, the small choices you make, are the same measure of how the heat goes up in your water. You give in to things because it's not really a big deal, you go with the flow because you're just that cool, you let things happen because it's not really a big deal, at the time. Then after awhile, the infinitely small amount of heat that's been amounting begins to form bubbles, although uncomfortable and maybe even painful, you don't quite know why. It's our pride that makes us prone to wonder, the kind of thinking that says "I have full control," "I would never do that," "that can never happen to me," takes us to exactly that place. The place where Youth leaders knock up youth group girls, pastors having affairs with congregational members, the frequency of drink creeps up from weekend to several times a week. No one ever plans to walk down that path, just like no little girl dreams of becoming a prostitute or stripper, no boy ever dreams of ending up in jail for murder, and no Chemistry teacher plans a career change from high school instruction to cooking methamphetamine and bringing down drug cartels. It's the foolish earthly wisdom to help you make to cope, instead of the kind of resolve Joseph had when he fled the scene naked with his seductress still holding his cloak.
Looking through my pictures, I was the happiest when I worked along side close friends at Crossing Borders, brainstorming how to bring justice and awareness for the North Korean people. I was happiest when I was on the praise team for youth retreats, I was happiest with the people that I still see now and have drifted from because I thought I wasn't being appreciated or understood. I was happiest when I wasn't so aware of myself, aware of the things God wasn't giving me. I let one small seed of discontent grow into a full bloomed self indulgent way of thinking and living, letting my flesh rule. It's getting a little hot in here now...I think I'll jump while I still have my skin.
"Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." C.S. Lewis