Easier Not To

When I was in college, I went with my friends to a corn maze. I didn’t drink at that time, so I was the only sober person on the excursion. We bet five dollars a piece on who could get through the maze the quickest. And I felt pretty confident as my friends rolled out of the car like giraffes on ice skates.

I shot ahead into the maze, turning through this corridor and that, ducking around the hedges and passages carved out for me. In no time, I was there. I’d reached the end. I put my hands on my knees to catch my breath. And then I looked around.

The end was odd, not what I expected it to be.

Nobody was there. The maze just opened out into rows of untampered corn. There was no sign, no finish mark. Nothing. I shouted a few names, but nobody answered me.

Half an hour later, a cluster of confused friends showed up with frightened glances. I had been in such a hurry I didn’t read the signs that warned there were a half dozen ‘false-endings’ to beware of. Everyone had finished long ago and they had to come searching for me.

***

When I visit a friend in his office, or walk into the grocery store, or into my own apartment, I use the door. One hundred percent of the time. It’s silly even to mention it. What else would I do?

Our world has created these little pathways for us, a maze of sorts. They say, “hey, if you want to be happy, come through this door. It really is the only way”. We duck and rush and pass through one open door after another.

It’s the path of least resistance and we are almost always on it. We’re addicted to it. Everything that every company is doing in this world is to slightly reduce resistance. To open the doors wider and put more flashy signs on them.

***

My wife and I love one another. We’ve been a part of some incredible community groups, living intentionally and going against the norms of society to strengthen corporate and individual faith.

Recently, we’ve been talking about some ideas to be more intentional about our marriage and our life together. Simple things – talking about what we’re thankful for over dinner, that kind of thing.

But we haven’t done it.

Why?

It’s just easier not to.

I can go on and on about all the reasons that we need to be intentional about living our lives, all the examples about how the path of least resistance isn’t always the best one (my friend Brian was first through the maze and won the money; he climbed straight over the thing and got kicked out). I can go through all of this. But we know it. We know we need to be intentional about how we live. We know that true love takes work, commitment.

But it’s just easier not to, isn’t it? We try to sophisticate our excuses, but in the end, the gaping open doorways just seem so much simpler.

Maybe part of the issue within us is that we believe living a meaningful life should not be work; it should come natural. As creatures made by The Creator, it should be as simple as relaxing. After all, the meaningful life for most of us is simply a synonym for the stress-free life.

Although we are creatures under the wing of The Creator, we are also sinners banished from the garden. It costs our lives to get back in. Jesus didn’t come so we wouldn’t have to die; He came so that we might not perish.

But it’s just easier not to. We might tell ourselves all this talk about casting vision and living on purpose is over-simplified and exaggerated. We know it isn’t. We know if we could drink more water, exercise more, commit to Scripture memory, and be vulnerable, our life would be that much more in line with our created state.

But it is just easier not to.

***

The doors are wide open. Binge streaming. Technology addiction. The cult of sports. A dependence on politics. The world has made it so easy for us.

But beware of false endings. I sat at the edge of that corn maze for half an hour, my legs criss-crossed as I chewed on a rogue stem of corn. I thought I had reached the end, but I had fallen off the edge. It was so easy to do I never even thought of it as a possibility.