In our little town there is a train station that sits at the end of a line of quaint shops and restaurants. Across from the station is an outdoor market.

I noticed that there is now a dusty path carved through the grass to create a shortcut to the adjacent street. On one of our favorite hiking trails, the same type of path cuts through to an adjacent path, another shortcut.

Not only do these paths ruin the beauty of the surrounding grounds, they don’t save that much time by taking them.

We Live in a World of Shortcuts

We live in a culture of instant gratification. We want everything NOW. Plus, we want to save time with what we are doing.

There is a popular word used for shortcuts. It’s called a hack. Look at any number of current headlines: 15 Weight Loss Hacks, 7 Microsoft Word Hacks You Need to Know, 4 Lifehacks to Overcome the Fear of Being Alone (yes, this last is an actual title).  

You may like this word hack. But if you have had your website, email, or social media accounts hacked, it is not a word that sits well. It truly doesn’t for me!

The Downside of Shortcuts

You can take a shortcut on a trip, but you may miss the beauty of a longer, scenic route. There are no shortcuts when it comes to grief. You must take your time to go through it.

There are no shortcuts to health. It takes the daily discipline of getting enough rest, eating nutritional food, getting enough water, exercising, and having healthy social connections.

There are No Shortcuts with Faith

Matthew 7:13 (NRSV) says: For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

There are no shortcuts to deepening our relationship with God. It’s being mindful of God’s presence and connecting with God through prayer, reading Scripture, meditating, or journaling.

The Message version of Matthew 7:13-14 says: Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

It’s easy to allow yourself to drift. It’s easy to binge watch streaming services. It’s easy to eat too much or drink too much. That road leads to disaster… maybe not right away, but eventually.

The narrow gate leads to life. Don’t be discouraged if something is taking longer than you expected. Stay on the path that God has called you. Don’t be tempted by the shortcuts.

If you find it difficult connecting with God or are looking for ways to deepen that connection, my free mini course, Be Present with God, will guide you through four spiritual practices: prayer, meditation, Lectio Divina (meditating on Scripture), and contemplative prayer to help you. Watch a short video and access here.