To make the road obvious

I have no sense of direction on road trips or in buildings or anywhere. Even if the sun is visible and someone tells me which direction I’m going, I can’t tell you which way I’m heading without careful contemplation. So as you can imagine, Google Maps is my friend, and that has special meaning this morning.

As you’re reading this, I’m driving by myself to Estes Park. My best friend got married this past weekend, and now I’m heading out on a week-long sabbatical of sorts. I’ve been this way before, though, so there’s not much chance that I’ll get lost.

I’m stepping back from normal life for a little while, taking a road trip with Jesus, because it’s time for me to take a good, long look at life, the universe, and everything.

At some points in our lives, I think it’s a good idea to reevaluate the decisions we’ve made, to make sure that we’re still heading in the direction God wants. It’s the same reason you carry a compass when you go hiking.

God asks us to follow Him, but if we don’t stop sometimes to make sure we’re still on the right path, we run the risk of wandering off.

My life verse has always been Proverbs 3:5-6, and I’ve always found it to be true. I can make my own plans as much as I want, but ultimately God is the one in control of my life. How foolish would I be if I tried to do things my own way?

But I do. Often.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6That’s why I have my compass, Proverbs 3:5-6 — Trust God, even when life doesn’t make sense, and He’ll make your path obvious.

A few other versions of the Bible translate verse 6 to be: “he will make your paths straight.”

But I think I love the Amplified version the best:

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

How awesome is that?

That’s the kind of awesome I need in my crazy, confused, stressful life, to know for sure that the direction I’m walking is the one God wants for me. That’s the sweet spot, where I want to live.

So that’s what this week is about. Refocusing. Getting centered on God’s Word again. Making sure that I’m following Jesus’ road the way I’m supposed to, not trusting my own interpretation of life, but instead trusting His.

That’s the hard part, because I like to make sense of life. I like to fit the scattered pieces of life into a neat portrait, like a jigsaw puzzle coming together. But life can’t make sense without Jesus. It’s hard enough to make sense of it with Him, I wouldn’t even want to try without Him.

Life can't make sense without Jesus. - A.C. WilliamsSo in those moments where you need to check your directions, remember your compass. Remember that trusting your own understanding won’t help you conquer the trouble life throws at you. Instead, trust what God says. Do what God says. And keep your eyes peeled for the road God wants you on, because as long as you’re relying on His directions, the road you’re supposed to be walking will become obvious.

That’s a promise.

We only search for things we can’t replace

This might come as a surprise for folks, but I’m a disorganized sort of person. No matter how I try to organize things, they all end up falling to pieces. I don’t really understand it. Because in my head, I have a plan. My mind is orderly . . . it just doesn’t look like it. Maybe that’s the key. I’m actually organized, but my organization method looks like chaos to someone who can’t read it.

Ha. That reminds me of my first supervisor at the WSU Library, when I was a student worker. She asked me in my interview why we file things correctly, and my response was so that other people can find them again. Understanding that concept I think is what got me the job. But that concept is a lot easier to apply to a job than it is to your entire life.

Due to my disorganization, unfortunately, I lose a lot of things. I misplace papers, flash drives, hair elastics, shoes, keys. You name it, I’ve probably lost it at one point or another.

In the case of hair elastics, when I lose one, I just go get another one off the roll. Since I don’t really care if they coordinate with whatever color I’m wearing, it doesn’t matter which one I use. They’re all the same. So that usually isn’t a problem. However, it becomes a problem when you run out of hair elastics on the roll. But by that point, you have them scattered all over the house, so it’s easy to find one again.

In the case of flash drives . . . . Yeah, that’s a big one. To give you an idea of how much I use my flash drive, I just had to switch my main flash drive out for one with more room becuase it was full. My main flash drive had a 1GB and I upgraded it to a 2GB. That wouldn’t be a big deal if I carried images and photos and other media sorts of things on it. And I do. There are a few of those files scattered around on it. But the vast majority of the files on my flash drive are Word Documents. Stories. Shorts. Skits. Plays. Almost 1GB of writing. That flash drive is my entire freakin’ writing life — 17 years of it.

Yes, I have it backed up. In more than one place. I learned that the hard way one day when I couldn’t find my flash drive anywhere.

I’m telling you, that was gut wrenching. That was about two years ago. So 15 years worth of writing had just disappeared. I didn’t know where it was. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I tore my room apart. I tore my house apart. You would have thought that flash drive was worth a million dollars or something (well, maybe someday it will be if I can ever get into print! Lol!). But I eventually did find it. It had fallen out of my bag at work. Since then, I’ve dropped it in parking lots and always miraculously recovered it. I’ve left it in restaurants. I’ve lost it in my car (but that’s par for the course since I get lost in my car).

I know I’m random, but I thought about all that when I read today’s verse, Luke 19:10.

10 For the Son of Man[a] came to seek and save those who are lost.”

The Son of Man is a title Jesus used to refer to Himself. Basically, Jesus is declaring His purpose. Jesus came to Earth to seek and to save. He came to Earth looking for people who were lost. I think that should tell us something, both about ourselves and about Jesus.

We are precious to Jesus. If we weren’t, He’d just find a replacement for us. But we matter to Him. So He spent time and effort to come down here looking for us.

Beyond dying for us, He cared enough about us to search for us. There are also stories in the Book of Luke about a shepherd who loses a sheep and a woman who loses a coin. Both of them search tirelessly for what they’ve lost until it is restored to them.

That’s what Jesus did. That’s what He does. We’re pitiful, silly little people wandering around down here with no real purpose, only interested in living for ourselves. And Jesus comes down here looking for us, and when He finds us He tells us taht there’s so much more to live than us, so much more than what we can see. And He doesn’t give up until we give in and follow Him.

Now I keep a backup of my flash drive, but the flash drive still always holds my most currently updated information. And if I lose it before I get the chance to back it up, you’d better believe that I’m going to spend as much time as I need looking for it. Because it’s precious to me. It’s not like a hair elastic that I can just replace. My flash drive is one of a kind because it contains all the files I’ve created.

We are unique to God, and when we are lost, He won’t hesitate to spend as much time as He needs to come find us. And that’s comforting to me on so many levels, because as much as I am a disorganized person, my sense of direction sucks too. Both figuratively and literally.

The hard part is following Him when He shows up. But He’s the one who came looking for me. He’s the one with the map. And He’s the one who knows the road. Refusing to follow Him probably isn’t a good idea.