last week I planned on getting together, in DC, with a friend for a cup of coffee and some good conversation. So, when the time came to leave, I got in my car and took a few moments to enter the destination address into my iPhone (my portable GPS was stolen a little while ago) and started merrily on my journey towards our nation’s capitol.
Now, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was at least 15-20 minutes into my trip before I realized that I had entered the wrong address in to my phone, and I was heading in the completely wrong direction.
So, I pulled the car over, put the correct address in my iPhone, and started heading in the right direction—East—Duh.
The truth is, I don’t have a great sense of direction, and advances in technology have made me pay even less attention to direction than ever before. Unfortunately, I have grown very “directionally-comfortable” by blindly following “the voice”—wherever she leads me. And, even though I don’t have a great sense of direction, I feel like I have always had a highly developed sense of “lostness”— probably because I am usually going the wrong way.
As I mentioned before, with all the advancements in technology, I wonder If I am loosing my ability to “sense” when I am heading in the wrong direction.
My trip also made me think about my life-long-journey as a follower of Jesus, and trying to stay “on course” while navigating in the fractured culture that we live in. As disciples of Christ, are we (myself included) loosing the ability to determine when we are heading in the wrong direction?
For example: Have I allowed the culture, through the vehicle of the media and entertainment, to become too influential in my life with movies, music, clothing, professional and college sports, video games, and television—just to name a few?
Very few people would argue with the fact that the culture has given us some serious distractions (some would say detours) as we attempt to navigate this spiritual-life-journey. It actually reminds me of the scene in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin and John Candy are oblivious and dismissive to the clear warnings, from a fellow traveler, that they are “going the wrong way!”
If we are in agreement that the culture that we live in, at times, can severely scramble our directional signal, then how do we make sure that we are going in the right spiritual direction? What choices can we make, at the forks in our journey, that will help us remain on course? Or, at least, help us to recognize that we are wandering off course and we should start finding our way toward home.
Here are a few important traveling tips to keep us on track:
1. Make sure you have people in your life that you trust, love, and respect that will tell you that you are “going the wrong way.” These are people that aren’t afraid to tell you the HARD TRUTH—with respect and love.
2. Listen to those people. It’s great to have truth tellers in your life, but it’s another thing to actually listen to them!
3. Make sure you have the right destination in your GPS. Take a minute to reflect about what direction your life-GPS is leading you? What does the destination on your life-GPS read? Money? Comfort? Entertainment? Family? Power? God? Self? If you are looking for good, life long GPS coordinates I suggest you start with these: Matthew 22: 34-40
4. Recognize the competing voices in your life! Are you blindly following other “voices” that may be leading you astray? Are there other voices in your life that have your attention more than God has your attention?
5. When you realize that you are going the wrong direction—Turn Around!
Listen, all of us get off course at some point during this journey, but the trick is recognizing your direction and getting back on track—even if you have to pull the car over to ask for directions.