Near my house is a stop light that is really annoying. If you get caught by it, you will be sitting there for a while waiting for it to be your turn again. At this light, I have to turn right to get home. If I am at the front, it’s right on red, so that’s cool. But if I’m at the back, we’re waiting. Now, a couple of feet back from the light, there is a Dunkin’® ’. It’s a small one and is next to a side street that with one short turn, connects to the street I need to turn the right onto.
You see where I’m going here already, don’t you?
When I was smaller, I used to see my dad take the shortcut next to Dunkin’® often. Depending how much of a rush he was in, he would take the side street that would get us home quicker because we would avoid the light altogether. I never paid much attention to it but I noticed it and knew it was a trick I would use when I got my license.
However, over time, I noticed that I would try and use that shortcut and zip up the side street, only to be met by cars anyway. I would sit there and get frustrated and wonder why this shortcut didn’t work. I was avoiding the light, avoiding traffic, and a little bit closer to my destination, home.
Because I am a Christian and a blogger, I tend to compare a lot of things to Jesus and our faith walks. The shortcut by Dunkin’® often reminded me of the shortcuts that we try to take in life and sometimes, in our walk with Christ. There are times where we try to side step and skip some things because they are hard, frustrating, and annoying. Or, we try to skip over them because we deem them a waste of our time.
I’m sure right now you can think of some shortcuts that you or someone you know have taken. You may know someone who buys their followers because they don’t want to do the work of content creation and building an authentic page. Or maybe you booked a speaking engagement by putting someone else down because you didn’t want to wait for your work to be noticed and for God to position you. Or you took a shortcut to avoid a traffic light.
In life, I’ve noticed that shortcuts simply don’t work. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you will end up doing more work or being more annoyed in the long run.
There are a few reasons why they don’t work. First, there are always factors that you don’t know about or simply don’t consider. In my traffic light example, the shortcut rarely worked because I didn’t take into account the other lanes of traffic that would be turning onto the same street I was. I always wanted to avoid the light, not the traffic. Therefore, my eye was on the wrong thing and I ignored what other obstacles would keep me in the same place.
Secondly, you miss the lesson that you need to learn. Let’s take the example of buying followers. When do you that, your numbers go up quickly! Companies now even have the option for you to buy more “authentic” followers who not only like your pictures, but comment as well. However, you miss the lesson of creating real, relatable, great content. Therefore when instagram changes its algorithm to support accounts with real followers, not those with bots, you are back where you started and have no clue how to create content that people care about.
Finally, you almost always end up with or behind the people or things you were trying to pass. When I took the shortcut to avoid the traffic light, most times I ended up in the middle of people or behind all of them. Never in the front. When you try to beat people out of a speaking engagement, you may end up on the same flyer as them because they were booked too. Or when you buy your followers to seem more popular or get more brand deals, you fall short to the person you were trying to be better than because she has better engagement even though her follower count is low.
It look me a while to realize why the shortcut by Dunkin’® wasn’t working. But ultimately I realized that sometimes it is better to go through the thing, than around it. Sticking it out and learning the lesson or waiting for your turn may be annoying, but it will put you in the proper position later. God has so much for you, and you may miss it in a shortcut.