Have you ever gotten truly lost? A few years back we went overseas and decided to go for a walk through a national park. The website advertised the walk as being a one-hour trek, which we decided was doable for us. I am not terribly fit and I tire somewhat easily. But I agreed to do the walk, on the basis that it was only one hour.
We didn’t take any gear with us. We didn’t take food. We didn’t even take a bottle of water. It’s only an hour, we figured. We’ll stop for lunch afterwards. What’s the worst that can happen?
Famous last words indeed.
So we drove to the park and commenced our walk. Needless to say, we got lost. We walked around and around, hot and tired and thirsty. We eventually found the right path and staggered homeward. More than five hours later, we arrived back at the carpark. “One hour, they said,” we muttered to ourselves. “It’ll be easy, they said.”
Getting lost in a strange overseas national park is disconcerting. Getting lost in life is even more unpleasant.
As I embark upon the new year of 2018, I can’t help but reflect on the major pieces of my life and think about where I am heading next. Work, church, writing, all of it is up for review. It occurs to me, as I contemplate the next few chapters of my life, how important it is to have an internal sense of guidance. An inner compass, if you will.
There are several things that guide my inner compass. My values guide my decisions about what and how I write. My ethics influence my workplace decisions. My passions feed into my ministry. Past experience tells me what I am good at and what is a good fit for me. My hopes and interests play a part in directing my inner compass, as do my stress factors.
Perhaps the main thing that sets my inner compass is that still small voice, that God-whisper, letting me know which adventures to pursue and when to take the leap. That whisper has the capacity to nudge me in the right direction and to apply caution where I may otherwise jump in too quickly.
This whisper can re-set my compass if I have become lost. Sometimes I become confused about what I want to do and what I can do. Sometimes I get lost in the options or I despair that the opportunities have all but dried up. At those times, the whisper can re-calibrate my inner compass and set me back on course.
When I think of God being my inner compass, I am reminded of this verse:
‘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
How marvellous to know that God is our guide when we get lost. What a relief to know that He watches our footsteps and can help us back to the path when we wander off the edge. I am glad that He cares for us every step of the way, ever leading us home.
What’s your inner compass? What things get you back on track when you wander away?