Asking for Directions
Keeping Our Goals in Front of God
Today: Check in with God with some concentrated prayer and meditation. (Talking to God, and then listening to Him.) Even if it is just for 10 minutes, get quite with God listen for His direction when it comes to your goal.
My husband Roger and I had just landed at Tampa International Airport. While the purpose of our travel was to visit Roger’s parents, we decided to sneak in some “couple’s time” before heading to the family reunion.
Roger had booked a romantic hotel on the beach only two miles from the airport. Since airlines do not provide meals anymore, our combined food intake for the cross-country journey from California consisted of three bags of peanuts and a half a box of Altoids I rescued from the bottom of my bag. We were anxious to stow our suitcases at the hotel and head out for our beach-side dinner.
As we picked up our rental car, I was eager to try out the new navigational system Roger just bought me. You see, I have a tendency to get lost while I am driving… even in areas I have been to several times. Roger said he bought the new GPS system for my safety. Really, I think he got tired of guiding me in like an air traffic controller every time I was more than three miles from the house.
I love my new mapping device – with one tiny exception. When you first turn on the display, Maggie (our pet-name for our electronic guide) needs about 15 seconds to figure out where the satellite is. This process goes much faster if you stay put. If you start to drive, it could take up to whole two minutes for her to figure out where you are.
I have never been known as a patient woman. Even 15 seconds is about 14 seconds too long. Growing weary of waiting I asked Roger, “Can’t we just get going and it will catch up with us.” Roger knew the general direction of the hotel, so we hit the road. Our destination was only a couple of miles away. What could go wrong?
After a few minutes, and a turn on to an onramp, Maggie, finally came blinking to life with directions and distance … 22.2 miles!
How did our “couple of miles away” hotel turn into a 22 mile trek? That is when I discovered something I had never experienced in California called a “causeway.”
A causeway is a road that goes over a body of water. Like the body of water between the Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg, Florida. Because there tends not to be a convenient place to turn around while traveling over water, and the fact our car was not Herbie the Love Bug with the ability to float, we were stuck going the whole distance over the causeway. And back – 22.2 miles round trip.
If we had only taken the 14 extra seconds to wait for directions – instead of going off on our own – we would have saved time, aggravation and grief.
Soon after our ill-fated trip, I was doing my morning devotionals and this verse popped out at me: It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. – Proverbs 19:2
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Traveling with Maggie is a lot like figuring out the path God wants you to follow for your life and for your goals. The parallels show up for me almost every time I get lost. OK, almost every time I leave the house.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3
As women, we don’t have an excess of time or energy to be heading off in the wrong direction while chasing after our dreams. We need a much simpler, direct route. Time and commitment spent up-front praying and listening to God for direction will always be rewarded down the road.
Sometimes in my enthusiasm to get closer to my goals, I have an “Act Now, Pray Later” attitude. I get impatient and want to get going with all the plans and dreams I have for my life – now. When I act out of desire, enthusiasm, or trying to simply check things off my list, I usually end up wasting time, energy and emotion.
Like Maggie, God has a lot of rewards for those who wait on direction from Him. When I pray before I act, I may not have clear direction all at once. What I can be sure of is the fact that I have put my plans before God. I am honoring Him first in everything I do, every plan I make.
Gifts of the Maggie #2 You don’t need to know every turn that is coming up – you just need to know what your next step is.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34 Don’t ever try to give me directions over the phone. I am good for about two turns and then my brain starts to think about the Discovery Channel special I saw last night, or tries to figure out when the cute pink bag I saw at the mall might go on sale. When I get directions all at once, trying to hold everything in my head about the next eight turns I need to make it is almost always a guarantee I am going to get hopelessly lost, confused, frustrated and off-track. The beauty of Maggie is that she only gives you the next turn you have to make.
As busy women, we can get bogged down by the magnitude of all we have to do. If we start to look too closely at all is involved in having a rewarding career or raising great kids and pursuing our dream, it would be very easy to get completely overwhelmed.
A better approach is to take each day as it comes. Planning for the future is great. Worrying about it will get you nowhere. Keep your final destination in mind, and concern yourself with the turn just ahead of you. God is the only one who can see around the corner.
The other benefit of just focusing on the turn right in front of you, and not worrying about the next seven that are coming up, is getting to enjoy the ride. When you have a dream that is bigger than yourself, there are many opportunities to step out in faith and see God’s hand working in your life.
I tend to miss the miracles in the moment when I am worrying about what has to happen next month. Just concentrate on the next turn and enjoy the ride.
Gifts of the Maggie #3 Trust the directions- even if they are different than what you expect. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:21
Sometimes for fun, I will check out Maggie’s directions to a familiar place, just to see if she has a different way of getting there. Often times, she will have a shortcut I didn’t know about, or there is a new road I had yet to discover. I have learned a lot by going in different directions than I originally thought.
Today, I just want you to spend some time checking in with God. Am I going in the right direction? Do you want me to press forward on something, or wait? Learning to be sensitive to God’s leading is a skill we can develop. Tell us in the comments below how you are going to stop and spend time with God today and everyday. Is it a coffe date alone, during the kids nap time, getting up earlier, or during a lunch break? If you feel led to do so share with me what God is directing you to do, press on, wait or be still.
You could win What’s in the Bible for Women: Life’s Questions, God’s Answers by Dr. Larry Richards.