(My fellow grammar nazis, please bear with me here.)
A few days ago, my friend Jamie and I were discussing what road trips were like “back in the day.” You know, before you could plug in your destination to Google maps and let Siri provide you with step-by-step directions, leading you to your desired location via the best route possible? When your “navigation system” consisted of a large paper map, and you were completely reliant upon the person assigned to reading said map.
It was always a calamity in our vehicle if the “navigator” (usually me) happened to be rubber-necking or daydreaming (or yelling at the kids) and neglected to warn the driver (usually the Mailman) of an exit or turn. As if a minor detour would throw the planet off its natural rotation! For the love! (There just might be a little pent-up resentment harbored there. Pray for me!)
With modern navigation systems, though, most of the time you get plenty of warning, allowing you to travel almost seamlessly and detour-free. And if you do make a mistake, Siri calmly says, “Redirecting.” (Maybe I should’ve tried that all those years ago,)
Following God’s direction for our lives can be a lot like each of those navigation methods. Kicking it old school (with a map) is like reading the Bible and following the instructions we get through God’s Word. You must study it and see how things connect. God speaks to us through His Word and provides us with really clear direction. Just like when we are reading a map, though, if we start rubber-necking or daydreaming, we can make a wrong turn or miss an exit.
On the other hand, the GPS apps on our phone could kind of be compared to asking the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us, right? If we pray, asking God to give us direction in our lives, and listen to the guidance of Holy Spirit, we will follow the path God has destined us for. And if we miss a turn or take the wrong exit, guess what? No biggie! “Redirecting…” Of course, sometimes you still have to drive through sketchy neighborhoods and pray you don’t have a flat or run out of gas!
God recently redirected me through both methods. I was headed down a noble and rewarding path, but there was one problem – it was not my path.
You see, God had clearly shown me the path He had cleared for me a few years ago. He gave me a HUGE dream! An only-God-can-do-this dream. He called me to be a writer and a speaker. He created me for this, and I was chasing it hard! I was following the path. Going to the conference in North Carolina. Ordering the business cards that said, “Writer. Speaker.” Meeting with the publishers (gulp). And writing. I was actually writing then.
But then somewhere along the way, I missed an exit or took a wrong turn…or both. I found myself completely off route. You guessed it! Rubber-necking! Couldn’t keep my eyes on the road and wouldn’t listen to the “redirecting” prompts. So, I just drove around aimlessly, killing time.
Until one day, I grew bored with the aimless riding around, shifted into fifth gear (is there a 5th gear?), and headed out on a great adventure with no map. No GPS. I had a “better” idea. I would go to grad school instead! Get my Master of Science in Nursing!
As I mentioned, this is a very noble and rewarding thing, but God does not change. He is the same yesterday and today, and forever. Just because I flaked out and gave up on my dream didn’t mean He had changed His mind about what He created me to do.
He did not give up on me. Somewhere deep within my spirit, I kept hearing Holy Spirit saying, “Redirecting… Redirecting… Redirecting…” And when I read my Bible, the Scripture seemed to keep pointing me back to the dream. God is so relentless like that!
I could only ignore it for so long before I finally had to pay attention. I was miserable doing the thing I had not been called to do and knew the only way to end that misery was to get back on the path God had made for me – the “write” path, that is!
After exactly one month in grad school, I withdrew. When the counselor asked me why, I very honestly and unashamedly answered, “Because this is not the path God has for me to travel.” When I hung up the phone later, I immediately felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my chest, allowing me to breathe again!
And here I sit. Writing again. AND finally preparing to launch my new website!!!
A friend recently asked me what my dream looks like to me. After I cited all the “spiritual” things, she said, “Those things are really good things, but what does it look like to you?”
After I thought about it for a second, I threw caution to the wind and told her it looks like my name and face on event mailers and brochures, along with some of my favorite Christian authors and speakers. BIG conferences like “She Speaks,” “IF: gathering,” etc!
It looks like me having real friendships with women like Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen, Rebekah Lyons, Lisa Terkeurst, and Shauna Niequist, just to name a few. The kind of friendships casually mentioned in books like, “The other day I was having coffee with my friend, Jen, and shared such-and-such struggle with her, and she was like, ‘I’m gonna pray you through this, girlfriend!'”
My dream looks like sharing what God has done and continues to do in my life, using the gift He has given me – words. I have been redirected, my friends!
I hope you’ll jump in and come along for the ride! I’m sure there will be a few bumps in the road, a few missed exits and wrong turns, but it’s gonna be wild and fun and EPIC!