Remembering to Use Your Compass
Remembering to Use Your Compass
2018 has been the year of adventure.
I felt God impress that upon my heart last fall, a couple months before I would have sought a word for the year. Because it was early, I questioned whether it was Him or just my imagination trying to come up with a trendy word for the next year.
But God repeatedly impressed the word “adventure” upon my heart for 2018, so I accepted it, not fully understanding what it would mean for my life.
Fast forward a few months to January of 2018, and I was drafting a resignation letter for my 9-5 job, preparing to go on a week-long mission trip to Texas that was decidedly the most vague trip ever because the work was so fluid based on the need any given week, and trying to navigate a new relationship, just to mention a few things.
And that was just January and February.
Within the span of the first three weeks of February, I turned in my notice, started going out with this new guy, had my last day at the office, and two days later, jumped on a plane to fly to Texas to do who knows what.
It was a whirlwind to say in the least! And it was most definitely an adventure!
Do you know what this year of adventure has taught me so far? The importance of holding tight to a compass.
I’m not talking about a literal compass, although I could use one of those, too, because I’m a bit directionally challenged. I’m talking about a metaphorical compass, specifically, faith in a good God who knows what He’s doing and has good plans for us.
While this year has been good, it’s also been one of the most challenging seasons of my life. So many things changed so quickly that it took a while before the ground beneath my feet felt even the least bit solid.
I had my community and my family, yes. But they weren’t always there, and they were busy with their own things. I had my home and my health, yes, but those don’t help much when times get tough and questions fly at you left and right.
What did help was knowing God was there right by my side through it all. He never left. He never stopped providing small graces, small signs of His goodness and provision and constant presence in the midst of a life that was anything but constant.
I also learned that leaning into God and seeking Him through it all was the only thing that could guide me in making decisions about what to pursue. By having that compass to return to, I could continually refocus on what really matters and make sure I was working on and toward the right things.
WHY WE NEED A COMPASS
Without a tangible, real compass, we might get lost trying to get to our destination. We might walk around in circles, unsure of which direction we’re supposed to go.
The same is true for trying to navigate life without God. If we try to do it on our own, we’re apt to get distracted by what others are doing, what different people and our culture as a whole says we “should” be doing, and the newest, shiniest thing that steals our attention. We might spend all our lives trying to be "productive," but not really knowing what we're trying to produce.
God says He will direct our paths and make them straight. He says He is the way. He says He came to bring abundant life. He says He has a plan for our good.
Why wouldn’t we want to pursue that and walk that path with Him? He’s the one who created the path, the plan, for us, and yet we so often veer off onto our own dirt path into the woods instead of following the paved one He’s laid out.
We get stubborn, we get distracted, and we get prideful. We plan things for ourselves and get determined to follow them, even if the road is rough. But the Bible says we can plan as much as we want, but God’s the one who directs our steps.
So maybe that compass really isn’t such a bad idea? Perhaps listening to that still small voice inside is worth the slowing down, the pausing, and the humility to ask if there’s a better way than the one we were aiming for?
It's the only way we're going to really accomplish anything worth accomplishing. It's the best way to make an impact, big or small. Following our compass allows us to invest more in what really matters, to be productive in the best and most important ways instead of wasting our time and effort pursuing things that aren't.
God doesn’t always work the way we do, but His ways are always better. And I find comfort in knowing that I don’t have to be the one to work it all out. That’s His job, not mine, and I’m grateful for it! I just have to keep my eyes on Him, keep that compass in my hand, as I go along, checking to see if the choices I’m making line up with Scripture, what other godly people who know my heart are saying, and what the Holy Spirit is impressing upon my heart as I spend time getting to better know my Heavenly Father.
When I seek Him, I find Him, and you can, too! He’s not hiding. He’s not hard to find. He’s always there, guiding you, welcoming you back when you’ve forgotten which way is north, and willing to show you the way forward once again. Will you let Him be your compass as you navigate this wild, crazy, adventure called life?
Where is your compass guiding you? How is it helping you focus on what's most important and guiding you forward? Not sure or have some questions? Let's talk about it!