Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The one with the Sat-Nav

I finished my Tall Vanilla Latte (skinny, sugar free and extra hot) and made my way to the car. Today I would be catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I was looking forward to it. It had been too long! All the details had been arranged via Twitter, and the postcode of her new address had been put into the Sat-Nav in advance. Music - check. Glasses - check. Engine running - check. Sat-Nav on - check. Ready! I was on my way!

However, as I left the carpark, and entered the roundabout, it became obvious that the journey would be a little more challenging than I had anticipated. I looked at the Sat-Nav to see where I should be exiting, only to see a blank screen! Panic! As I drove around the roundabout for a second time, the screen came back on - but with no directions. Not much help! What was a girl to do? No option but to drive round again and hope that the satellites were found and the directions given! This I did, but to no avail. Three times around a the roundabout, and the Sat-Nav had still not told me which exit to take. Getting dizzy!

I had to make a quick decision: drive around again and again in hope that it would work, or, try and make it on my own. Whilst the first option sounded tempting (and fun!) I was already on a pretty tight schedule if I was to arrive when expected. So ...

I did what I should have done right at the beginning of the journey - engage my brain! I knew this roundabout well, and surely should be able to work out which exit to take. The problem was, I wasn't entirely sure of the direction of the destination.  I began to eliminate the exits I knew wouldn't take me to my destination.  This helped. 

And then, well, I just went for it.  I exited the roundabout and headed for the motorway.  I figured I could always stop at the services and have a look at google maps if I still had no idea where to go.  Or, I could even swallow my pride and give my friend a call, admit I was lost without my Sat-Nav and ask her for directions.  It wouldn't be the end of the world.

Guess what?  Just as I entered the motorway, the Sat-Nav kicked in!  Yes, it had finally found the required satellites, and had the directions at the ready.  Phew!

I was pleased that I could now relax a little and let the Sat-Nav guide me, although I did give myself a little pack on the back for being prepared to try it on my own.  I had somewhere to get to, and I hadn't let unreliable technology stop me.

As I continued my journey, I reflected on this experience, and wondered how often we do something similar in our relationship with God.  Let's take worship as a destination for example.  We key in a heavenly destination on our internal Sat-Nav, and get ready to set off.  We head to the roundabout, and as we do, we focus our heart and mind on the things of God: how awesome he is and worthy of our worship. And then, as we enter the roundabout - nothing.  No emotional satellites are found.  We are not 'feeling' the warm and fuzzies we expect as we worship.  So, we go round again.  And again.  And again.  Nothing.  And yet, our destination hasn't changed.  God is still there and worthy of all our praise and worship.  So, what do we do?  Do we continue going round, in the hope that we will suddenly 'feel' right?  Or do we focus on the destination, trust in the Truth, exit and go for it?

We cannot rely purely on our feelings.  Just like technology, they can fail us.  They can be unreliable.  They can let us down.

We can, however, rely on the Truth.  Always.

Are you currently going round the roundabout, waiting for your internal Sat-Nav to work?  Are you focusing on the screen, instead of your destination?

Can I encourage you to take your eyes off of the screen and fix them firmly on where you need to go.  Trust in the Truth and pull off the roundabout.  You may find that unless you do, you will be going round that roundabout forever!

What if we take the wrong exit?  Well, is this really such a problem?  Isn't it better to set off, discover a wrong turning, and put it right, than to keep going round and round and never getting anywhere at all?

I once heard a great analogy that I have often considered in these situations -

It is much easier to change the direction of a car once it is moving, than to try to position it perfectly whilst it is stationary.  I would rather set off and allow God to alter the direction, than to try to lift the car into place myself!

How about you? 

Sometimes when we do put our trust in the Truth, rather than our feelings, we find that somewhere, further along the road they kick in - just like the Sat-Nav on my journey.

I had a great afternoon catching up with my friend.  Would I have ever got there if I had waited for the sat-nav to work on that roundabout?  I doubt it.  What a shame that would have been.

Don't put all your trust in your 'feeling' sat-nav, you never know what it is you will miss out on!  Instead -

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Focus on the destination, and make it happen!


  1. Jo, At the end of his life, Christ said, "I have done the work YOU HAVE GIVEN ME TO DO." How many of us can say that? Could it be because we are doing a lot of good things NOT specifically given us to do?
    The good is the enemy of the best.
    As to directions, I believe I heard directions both to blog, and to found our family's business, Benediction Classics. However, in the course of both, once on the motorway, so to say, more specific direction has come. Sometimes, I have done things without specific direction and exhausted myself.
    His yoke is easy and his burden light. We often exhaust ourselves because we put on yokes we were never meant to bear.
    Should we do something unless we have heard a divine direction for it? Tricky. We do run the risk of wasting time and effort. On the other hand, God has given us common sense and wisdom, and there is such a thing as "sanctified common sense."
    I think I would, personally, rather wait to hear from God.

  2. Hi Anita,
    Thank you for your thoughts :) They do make sense - and to a certain extent I agree with you. However, I think there are times when we just need to get out and do, instead of sitting around waiting (or going around the round-about) Perhaps these are times our 'sanctified common sense' kicks in? For example, as Christians we are told to love, to preach the Good News, to serve (and so on ...) so in a sense we have already heard from God regarding it. I don't think sitting around waiting and waiting for further instructions is necessarily the best thing to do - but then neither do I think we should zoom off at every new junction that we come across. Isn't it a good thing we have the Spirit of God to help us discern when it is right to turn off, and when it is right to sit and wait.
    Thank you for stopping by and for giving me some more to be thinking about - I like a challenge - it is how we grow :)
    Jo :)

  3. Hi Jo! Round-abouts always make me smile, though the smile may be from nervousness! lol But you are so right. We need to take a step of faith and trust God's directions. We can count on His way always being the right way!

    Thanks for linking up with Sharing His Beauty this week!

    Blessings, Joan

  4. This is fabulous writing. Love it and so very nice to meet you. Thanks for linking up. Hope to read more of your lovely thoughts.

  5. Hi Jo, I was so glad you stopped by Behind the Gate and I was able to meet you! Stepping out is always hard, praying and trust the leading of Spirit.

  6. I like this! Lutherans argue for the importance of both faith and reason, operating under the assumption that God gives us our brains, too. That requires faithful seeking, of course -- I wouldn't want to suggest that we should be careening off in all directions based upon our own minds and not upon intentional focus upon God's will for our lives -- but I do appreciate and value the idea that we can rely on a variety of God's "tools" to show us the way. The Word comes to us via so many different avenues.

    Also, the sat-nav analogy totally reminded me of something my pastor once told me, that he figures even if we make a wrong turn, if we're living in faith we'll be nudged back onto course one way or another. Reminded me of driving in Ireland (well, my husband driving in Ireland) and how the sat-nav would "scream" at us with its flashing arrow when we missed a turn but then recalculate to get us where we needed to go... often via some very interesting roads. Involving cows. And staring people... :-)

  7. Thanks all for your comments and further thoughts. I love how God can speak to us in many different ways - good job really when so often I miss Him the first time around! It's all a learning curve though eh? Engaging heart AND head is key. :) Thanks all! Keep the thoughts coming! Jo


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