~ ~John Maxwell ~
I am directionally challenged. That is just something that has been a nuisance to me all of my life. There are a lot of things that I AM good at, but knowing where I am at is not one of them. Mostly it seems that I am rather oblivious to where I am going because I am so focused on the people and the events that are going on around me, or perhaps it is because I have always had a tendency to "live in my head." I guess that's what you do when you have an over-abundance of ideas in your brain . . . they kind of trap you in your head and the stuff going on around you sometimes just fades into the background. Well, unless it is kids under your feet giggling and rolling around on the floor. That usually gets my attention. There have been many times in my life when I had to pull myself out of my thoughts and look around - and it has not been uncommon to discover that I was headed somewhere that I really did not want to go!
Even though I understand significant geographic directions such as north, south, east, and west, that information doesn't always come into play when I'm thinking about other stuff. One day, when we still lived in Michigan, I needed to get on the expressway headed east. So, I was driving along, just having a great time listening to some beautiful music and rejoicing in the spring sunshine, when I noticed a sign that indicated I was headed towards Lake Michigan. Hmmmmm . . . . how long had I been driving west when I thought I was headed east? Oh, well, no matter, I just turned around and eventually made it to my destination. At least no one was in the car with me to realize just how easily I get turned around!
Then there was the time when I was in one of the really big stores in the midwest, Meijers, and I was wandering around buying groceries, probably looking at other stuff like baby clothes, or shoes, or towels, or something. After a while I realized it was time to head home, and as I looked around me, I couldn't figure out which way I needed to go to get out of the store. Really, it is a very BIG store, and I didn't want to walk all the way to one end of the store only to figure out that the doors were on the OTHER end of the store. I am not making this up. Eventually, I found my way back to the produce department and right there by the carrots and celery, I asked a young man who was stocking the cucumers, "Excuse me, but can you tell me which direction I need to go to find the front of the store?" He smiled kindly and pointed me in the right direction. Escaped again!
But the worst ever is going into a mall . . . . and the parking lot, well, I might just as well be on a deserted Pacific island. I avoid malls whenever possible, partly because I do not like to get lost, but I'm not great with crowds, and I'm really bad about spending money that I don't have to buy one more "thing" that I really don't need and eventually will have to either wash it, feed it, paint it, or babysit it. But the few times that I have ventured into a mall, especially when my older children were teens, I was completely distraught because just about every time we would walk out of a store, I'd just wander off in the direction that seemed right to me, and one of my kids would say, "Mom, that's the direction we just came from." Oh, sorry, I guess I had something else on my mind. "Here, this way, Mom . . . " I wonder what it's going to be like when I'm old and senile - at least then I'll have an excuse for being so confused about where I am going!
When I think about the direction I am going in life, however, I am getting better at having some sense of what will get me where I feel God is leading me. We all need to re-evaluate our direction occasionally, and of course, this is especially true for those who are running away from the God of the Universe. But even after we have "turned around" and our lives are committed to Christ, it can be a struggle to move beyond simply looking like we are doing the right things and actually doing them, and having the right heart attitude.
One of the things that I personally have struggled with over the years is the fact that I stayed in an abusive marriage for many, many years because I believed that God wanted me to do everything possible to make it work . . . . and of course, I wanted to protect my children. Eventually, when I realized that the abuse was never going to stop, and that staying there was actually harming my children, it seemed to me that my inaction had harmed my children more than if I had made a decision to "turn around" sooner. But the past is in the past, and it is what it is. So making the decision to "turn around" and go a different direction in life is rarely easy, but it is sometimes necessary.
Unfortunately, it is just too easy to do all the right things on the outside, or when we are in public, but we also need to "turn around" in our hearts. It is not enough to go through the motions, pretending to be something or someone that we are not, all while hiding a disobedient spirit in the darkness of our sinful souls. God will forgive every sin, but the Bible makes it clear that we need to "turn around," not just for our salvation and the gift of eternal life. That is, of course, the place to start. But we also need to realize that, even if we are believers in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, He must also be Lord of our life. And then, not only will we eventually get where we want to be, but God will bring blessings and peace, because after all, He alone can give us beauty for the ashes of our brokenness:
"Therefore this is what the Lord says: If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. . . . I am with you to rescue and save you, declares the Lord. I will save you from the hands of the wicked., and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel." Jeremiah 15:19-21
If you would like to participate in this week's "In Other Words" blog meme, please post your link here so we can visit you and then you can also visit the other participants. Have a great Tuesday, and I hope you are headed the direction God has for you today!