Mapping Out the Day
by Rhonda Rhea
You guys and your fancy-schmancy words you like to use when giving directions. Like “Northeast.” And “left.”
I admit it, I have no sense of direction. North, South…and whatever those other two are? I don’t have them. There’s probably not enough space in my brain for a compass. Maybe because I filled a lot of brain space with a big list of foods that would be better covered in chocolate pudding. It’s not my fault that there are just a whole lot of things that taste amazing underneath chocolate pudding.
I’ve had this sense of direction problem longer than GPS has been in existence. That means I’m all the more thankful for my phone. Having GPS and all its beautiful maps and finders and directions means I’m not forced to roll down my window and ask a stranger what state I’m in. Any more.
I’m still one of the few people on the planet who can get lost, however, even while instructions are being spoken to me. When I’m heading out of a parking lot with my directions all plugged in and ready to go and the GPS lady tells me to “head north,” I suddenly realize she doesn’t get me at all.
Recently I was chatting with a friend who said she was feeling a little “lost.” She told me she felt rather directionless, like she couldn’t seem to get a good handle on her joy, and she didn’t know why. I asked her how her time in Bible study was going and she rolled her eyes at me. But she rolled them with a smile. She said, “Wow, I should’ve known you were going to ask me that. And I should’ve known to ask myself.”
As we chatted, she preached herself a little sermon. It was adorable. She started with, “That’s it, isn’t it.” It was a statement, not a question. She ended her sermon with a response to her own invitation, determining to set her course at the first of every day.
We met again the next week and I was amazed to see the difference in her demeanor. Talk about being back on the right road. She said the change wasn’t immediate, but it was dramatic. Oh, the difference God’s Word makes in our every day.
The battle for control of our internal compass—our spiritual direction—is a fierce one. The enemy fights to turn us onto a fruitless path. Our own flesh wars against us, too. But we can’t get to a victorious life of purpose without plugging in the right directions. The Psalmist got it. “Keep me from the way of deceit and graciously give me your instruction. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set your ordinances before me,” (Psalm 119:29-30, CSB). If we want to win the battle against the enemy’s lies and against our own sinful desires, we need the truth of God’s Word.
I had to smile when I read a paraphrase of verse 35: “Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!” (MSG). Life’s journey really does take a happier turn when we’re traveling it according to God’s direction and by the wisdom and instruction we find in His Word. Sometimes it’s a state of joy we didn’t even realize we were missing.
And by the way, if I do ever again feel the need to roll down my window to ask what state I’m in, there’s no reason why I can’t do it in a state of joy.