MOST of us would know the famous analogy of the couple driving somewhere. They haven’t been to this place before, but the driver – usually the husband/boyfriend – argues that they are in control and don’t need help. While the passenger – usually the wife/girlfriend – is pleading for them to find someone to ask, because they have gone past the same store FOUR TIMES!
Thank goodness for GPS, and in my case, Google Maps.
But I’m also not one to shy away from asking for directions, if I really need to. It’s less work for me in the long run, and I get there quicker.
The reality is that, without direction(s) our lives would be chaotic to say the least. And this last week I was reminded of the importance of directions. I was also reminded that it mattered where the directions were coming from.
I was driving through a relatively small town when I suddenly needed the bathroom.
Driven by desperation I stopped at the nearest store. To my surprise and fortune, they had a bathroom for public use! Running through the door, I asked the nearest shop assistant where it was.
She simply pointed – “there”, and continued about her business.
I could not make out where she was pointing to, but because I was desperate, I didn’t call her back. I just followed in what I believed was the direction she had pointed out; I looked for “there”.
The problem is, I couldn’t find it. After asking THREE more shop assistants (who were all equally unhelpful and simply pointed “there”), I finally found it.
Getting back in the car I laughed at myself.
But there was a lesson to be learnt here.
1. Direction(s) are so important – they determine how long you take to get to the desired destination.
2. It matters who gives the Direction(s) – vague messages only delay, and confuse us further.
This is true for our day-to-day lives, but even more relevant in our walk with God.
I have often met people who ask: I’m not sure where God wants me to be? I don’t know what ‘season’ I’m in right now.
This is a good question to ask, because at least you want to know.
My usual response to that is: have you asked Him?
While I was desperate to find a bathroom in that small town, the first thing I did was Ask for direction.
We often don’t ask.
In fact, asking God is usually our last resort.
It could be that we want to feel like we are in control of the situation, and can perhaps carve our own way forward.
But God is clear that if we ask, He will listen and respond.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, [Jeremiah 29:12-14 (ESV)]
Simply: God promises that when you genuinely look for Him and seek His direction, you will succeed – He will be there to respond to you.
Which brings me back to my incident with the shop assistant.
Despite her poor directions, I just decided to go at it alone, (until I had to rope 3 more people into the fray). As a result it took me even longer to find the room.
I could have avoided that, if only I had stopped to ask for clarity.
And the same is true for us when we seek God.
Usually when seeking the ‘next season’, the next step or direction for your life, we feel anxious. This is understandable.
But in our anxiety, we need to learn that when God gives direction, it won’t be vague, it won’t confuse and it won’t be delayed.
I may have been desperate, but I wasn’t dying.
In the same way, trust God to speak to you at the right time.
In a world where everyone has an opinion we have to make decisions about who to listen to. And some advice is great, but God’s direction is best.
I believe this for you: when you seek for an answer, God will pick up the phone and get back to you.