My wife is somewhat of a directional savant – you can drop her in the middle of any large city and in a half an hour she will know all of the major thoroughfares and the best way to get you anywhere you want to go . . . even though she’s never been there before. I, on the other hand, am directionally challenged. When I come to a fork in the road, where logically there can only be a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong – I will lay you odds 10 to 1 that I will take the wrong turn. I don’t know if it’s that my internal compass is somehow askew, or if my mind is just elsewhere solving a more creative puzzle . . . leaving my body behind to sort out the details.
Quite often, you aren’t even aware that you’ve even taken a wrong turn until it becomes obviously, and sometimes painfully, apparent. So with just the slightest twinge of shame, igniting frustration and anger, you begin to think about how you might get yourself turned around again. However, it is in this very turning around and the journey back, where I want this metaphor to find its focus. Because it’s in the unanticipated course corrections of our life, and how we choose to recalibrate, that interests me most. For it’s in these epiphanic paradigm shifts of discovery where our real choices are made.
Because it is with these unearthed truths about ourselves, those things that come to light about the path we’re on, where we find the true crossroads of our life. No doubt our fear and shame, anger and hurt, want us to return to the bliss of ignorance — so the temptation to ignore our need for a course correction is very strong. But one cannot simply choose to un-know an unavoidable truth — it will invariably make itself even more evident over time. I believe this is the very proving ground of our faith – do we really believe that God can change us . . . and are we really interested in him doing so?
We just need to address these undesirable behaviors and habits, head on . . . is the way we usual think about willing ourselves back on to the right path again. But that’s just another wrong turn – as that can only lead to a perpetuating cycle of failure, shame, and even more layers of undesirable behaviors and habits. What lies beneath the surface will only leach through again. So if ignoring our need to change direction is going the wrong way, and attempting to cosmetically address our addictive behaviors and habits is just another wrong turn – then what is the right direction?
Arguably, the right direction to take, is to do the will of God — to which we profess “. . . he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion . . .” (Philippians 1:6). Which is better explained in Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in in you, both to will and to work for his pleasure.” We’re not merely a fixer-up project that God is observing with a critical eye – wondering when we’re going to get our act together. He is actively working to make us completely new. Our reconciliation to God is an ongoing occurrence, one that God is superintending out of his great love for us. Therefore, the right direction is to fully embrace the relationship that God is perpetually inviting you to . . .
. . . and one day, love’s going to carry you home.