I’m the worst with directions. I’m not exaggerating for effect. I’m just that directionally challenged. Ask my friend Tyler about the time we tried to drive 20 minutes into the country and two hours later ended up somewhere near Toronto. It was an adventure to say the least, but our friendship survived (barely). Fortunately, there is a wonderful invention called a GPS that is perfect for people like me.
You’ve used a GPS before. You know how irritating they can be. You can be sitting at a red light, waiting to turn, and the British woman is saying, “Turn right. TURN right. Turn RIGHT. TURN RIGHT!” And you’re yelling, “THE LIGHT IS STILL RED YOU IMPATIENT WOMAN!” Not that I’ve ever yelled at my GPS or anything. I’m speaking hypothetically, of course. Ahem.
When you take the wrong turn or when you miss it entirely, she starts yelling, “Recalculating! Recalculating! Do a U-turn! Recalculating! You’re terrible at this! Recalculating! I hate my job!” It’s quite the experience. But I’ve got to give the machine lady credit — despite her condescending tone, she does get me to where I need to go.
Recently, my friends and I have been having conversations about waiting on God. Praying constantly, asking for his direction, looking for the next step, waiting for the green light or the go-ahead. What should I do, God? Where should I go? Is this your will for me? Is this where you want me to be? These questions are all well and good, and I understand our desire to ask them. We want our lives to reflect Christ and the plans he has in store for us. But I’m wondering something.
Put on your seatbelts, friends, this is a big one. What if waiting on God is completely unnecessary?
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I know. Hear me out.
What if, in all our questioning and pleading with God, we’re already freely able to move forward? Could our questions about where to go actually be stopping us from moving forward? What if the light is already green? I have an inkling this perspective shift could be a game-changer.
When you learned how to ride a bike as a kid, you quickly discovered that in order to succeed, you needed to pedal. If you stop, you’ll coast for a short time but eventually topple over and skin your knees. You have a better chance at balance and success if you’re pedalling.
Similarly, we don’t need a lamp shining on our path if our feet are stationary. You can’t see further down the road, no matter how hard you squint. If you take those first few hesitant steps, the next part of the path will be revealed to you. The light won’t suddenly get ten times brighter if you just wait a little longer in the same spot. The only way you can see what’s up ahead is if you move.
Maybe God’s plan for us isn’t always to wait for him to tell us what to do. Maybe it’s for us to DO something with the talents, gifts and circumstances he’s already given us. Yes, we ask God for guidance. But we don’t need a GPS if we’re sitting in the driveway. Maps are for people on the move, for people on a journey. They don’t tell us where we should end up. We choose where we want to go, they show us the route to get there.
Instead of waiting around, let’s DO something. Move forward in any way possible, even if it’s just the tiniest bit. He can’t guide you if you’re not moving. Maybe you’ll need to pull over and ask for directions once in a while, but don’t hang out at that convenience store that only sells stale gum and firecrackers. GO! Move! Your destination is waiting for you to arrive. Who cares if you take a wrong turn along the way? Recalculate! Do a U-turn! Take another route! You’ll get there eventually.
If you’re sitting at a green light, go. If you’re sitting at a red light, turn right (unless you’re in Quebec). If you’re lost, ask for directions. But above all else, keep going. Move forward. Don’t wait.
May God be our strength and our GPS.
Flickr photo (cc) by katerha