I am, and have always been, geographically challenged. It does not take much for me to get disoriented, I often know where I am going, and how to get there, but I am not always clear on the physical location it is in relation to where I am now.
For example, the other day, to help our daughter increase her Learner driving hours, we decided to head to a town just an hour away. In my head, it was North and I had come to this conclusion due to the fact that we have to head over the Murray River into NSW to get there. We had decided that we would eat some lunch before heading home and in the foyer of our lunch venue was a giant map of the region. I located where our origin was and then searched for our destination town, but I couldn’t find it on the map. In fact, I ran out of map and reached the ceiling (it is a very big map) before I could find where we were.
“Where are we on the map?” I asked, at which point my husband indicated a giant red dot nowhere North of where we live, not even East of where we live, but South-East! I looked at it quite befuddled for some time trying to process how, if we crossed North over the river, why weren’t we above our town on the map, but significantly below and to the right? How does that work?
David reminded me that shortly after we crossed the river we turned right, and while I acknowledged that to be the case, it didn’t seem to me that we turned that much ‘right’. I’ve been pondering my complete inability to make this make sense in my head, and while I know I can get mixed up with directions this is what I think happened in this situation. While we were driving along we made minor adjustments in direction along the way. A little bit here, a little bit further on and a little bit more some time later. All these little bits add up to make a significant change in direction, and while we ended up in exactly the location we were heading for it wasn’t where I pictured us to be.
I have been thinking about times in life when we end up somewhere and wonder how on earth we got to this place in our lives. I am not talking about those times when you might be driving on automatic pilot, I’m talking about those times when you take stock of your life and wonder how on earth you ended up where you are. You had intentions of heading in one particular direction, and somehow arrived somewhere else entirely different.
It’s the subtle changes that can add up and take us by surprise and we need to be on our guard for anything that can deviate us from the path that God intended for us. It reminds me of a verse in a very familiar bible passage. Psalm 23 verse 3 says “ …He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Another translation puts it this way: “True to your word you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” It is a pause, and gentle re-alignment to His path. What it requires is a check in with God on a regular basis to make sure you are heading in the direction He wants for you before you get too far off the track.