Have you ever thought you were going the right direction when you suddenly realized something didn’t feel quite right? Have you stopped in your tracks and realized you might be on the wrong road or even lost? Well I have on more than one occasion. Growing up in the plains of Colorado I have always known North, South, East and West. I was also blessed by God giving me a keen sense of direction so I very rarely get turned around. However, not so long ago I knew I was on the right road when suddenly I passed a road sign that clearly indicated I was not. I somehow missed a turn and was headed to the coastline rather than West towards Victoria where my meeting was to be held. Thank goodness for modern technology most vehicles today have a GPS system and if they don’t your hand held device or phone will. So I pulled the car over punched in the address as to where I was going and hit the button from my current location. Yep, I had driven 40 miles out of my way and clearly wasted a good hour as I had to go back the way I came. Lesson learned if you are not sure of your route then type in or map out the directions first before leaving for your destination.
Growing up I remember my parents using a large Atlas or in some cases a large paper map of a particular state or area of the state to help determine how to get somewhere. The cool thing many times there was more than one way to get to your final destination. I can remember my Mom asking me to write down numbers so we could add up the mileage, review whether it was interstate or the back roads and determine which route we wanted to go to get to where we were going. When I first moved to the city I bought this big blue spiral bound book I kept in the car called a Mapsco. Each page had details of specific blocks and streets in each area of the metroplex. My biggest challenge was driving downtown determining the route I needed to take to get to certain clients but they had so many one way streets, and for a little blonde girl growing up in the country and the nearest town didn’t even have a stop light only stop signs it was a unique challenge I faced daily. Now you simply type in the final destination into your phone and hit route from current location and bam you have all the detail at one punch of the button, and Siri talking telling you how to go which makes it convenient but doesn’t allow your brain to use the basic math and thinking skills we learned in school. I do love where it shows a red line indicating heavy traffic or construction, it provides the estimated time of arrival for each route so all you have to do it determine the quickest or the more scenic and relaxed route you wish to go.
With today’s technology and apps for your hand held device you have Google Maps, MapQuest, Navigator, and Commander Compass. You can map by automobile, by walking, by public transit. We have map my run, map my bike ride, map the weather, map and find my phone, and the list goes on and on. Maps are an important feature in life in order to find our way through this journey we are on.
I recently did a Bible Study on “Listen to Your Life”; it was written by Sibyl Towner and Sharon Swing. Their primary goal was to create activity maps for recognizing and responding to God in my story. It was a refreshing approach as to where I have been and where I might like to go, taking my relationship with God a bit deeper. It also taught me to realize life may not always go according to our plan. Yet if we stop, and listen to God’s plan and timing is always perfect. There were lots of visual activities with maps and opportunity to reflect upon where we have been. It really was fun and rewarding. I encourage you to check this out. Their study was based on Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us trip off every weight that slow us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this y keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
As I am sipping on my savoring cup of Zen hot tea this morning, I love reflecting on my favorite childhood game called “Life”. We each would pick our favorite color of car and all start out together but by spinning the wheel and drawing certain cards we each would have different events take place in our life some would end up with a car load of children and some would not, we would follow the road map on the game board and in the end we would either live in a mansion and or the poor farm. I have to laugh because that really is how it works not necessarily in material things but in nuggets of gold whether it is your family, your values and your beliefs.
We each have a choice in life. We can either live on-purpose, according to a plan we’ve set. Or we can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others. The first approach is proactive and the second is reactive. I know we can’t plan for everything, interruptions or road blocks can happen but if we live our life with intention, I feel you will have a more fulfilled life. That is why it is so important to map out a vision plan and have a mission statement that is your compass you live by. Lately my life has been a bit out of control, nothing bad just several different opportunities, challenges and trying to find balance between, work, family and finding time for ME! I too really try to focus on one thing at a time. Preparation prevents pressure but procrastination produces it. We work either by priorities or pressure. Balance is the key to stress management work must be balanced with fun, worship and the task at hand. We are to focus on one thing at a time. Jesus was a perfect example he knew how to handle interruptions without being distracted from his primary goal! Life may seem hard and we may have to take a few detours but if we continue to focus on the end result from the MAP we created, we will always get to the final destination.
What about you? As you are “Takin Time Out” this week…what does your life map look like? I commend those who have already mapped out their course and living their dream! But for those of you have not…are you on the right road and living the life God has designed for you or have you been too distracted with your own agenda or agenda of others to even consider this? If you feel you are a drifter with no real map, I strongly encourage you to set some time aside and redefine yourself. Find your core strengths and map out the life you want and how you are going to do this. Yes, it is setting some goals and figuring out how you are going to shed some of the weight that seems to be burdening you day in and day out. This could include actual unwanted pounds, debt, a bad habit like smoking or too much alcohol, the weight of material things. Let’s map out more time to read, enjoy your hobby, relationships with friends and family and enjoying all life has to offer. The list is lengthy but by mapping these items out and writing them down…redirecting your focus and slowly begin to make these changes you will become more fulfilled. Yes, there will be life’s interruptions but if we stay focused it can change the course. It is all about being intentional. Until next time my friend … ENJOY the map you are on or change your course!