My Friday morning departure came before I could really prepare for my trip. Exhausted from a chaotic week, I tossed my things in to a suitcase to head off to a much anticipated writer’s conference. This “reset” couldn’t have come at a better time.
Soon my mind wandered…Did I pack my toothbrush? Did I bring my phone charger? My thoughts were interrupted by the jarring voice of my GPS. “Turn left in 500 feet.”
As quickly as woman with a British accent interrupted my thoughts, I had a sudden realization. I never so much as glanced at the trip route before heading out. Typically while I rely on my GPS, I glance at the route before leaving to avoid any surprises along the way. Suddenly I realized I had no idea where I was going beyond the address I had plugged in before heading out.
While I knew my destination, I had absolutely no idea about any part of the journey. In that very moment I felt like God said ‘that’s what I want you do as you journey with me – know the direction but trust and anticipate that I will guide you with each next step.’
I certainly didn’t know my entire route. I had no idea where there might be surprises. I simply trusted that I could listen and know when I needed to turn. With that simple GPS instruction came a few valuable reminders:
Pay attention to your passion.
Is there something that stirs your soul – that thing that when you think of it you can almost feel your soul smile? It could be an idea you’ve entertained seriously or perhaps the idea scares you and you’ve spent your energy trying to keep it in a box. Maybe you want to change professions, write a book, or go on a mission trip. It could be something that seems completely impossible or maybe it feels almost do-able. Recognize the longings of your heart where it comes to your dreams because they give you a much needed sense of direction. Refuse to let doubt discourage you from pursuing a passion that God has placed in your heart. Stop focusing on the ways you might fail and ask Him where you might succeed.
Resist the urge to wait for the entire plan.
Don’t wait until you have “it all” figured out. None of us can see a year or several years into the future. If you’re listening to God’s promptings, you only need to look for the next step, not the entire journey. Too often we allow ourselves to stay frozen at the starting line because we can’t see enough of the steps. A GPS gives us each instruction when it’s time, not before. God does the same for us. We don’t need to know the entire journey, but whom we’re listening to for guidance. Truth be told, there’d be parts of our journeys that might scare us if we knew about them too far in advance. But, when we reach those tough spots, He’ll guide us through. Don’t wait to have all the answers, simply start.
Don’t give up when you hit the first snag.
We can be entirely too quick to throw in the towel. One little snag comes are way and we throw up our hands in defeat. Yet, if we had a flat tire on the highway, we’d pull over and replace the one tire and get back on our journey. Resist the urge to take out the rest of your tires when one loses air. You wouldn’t do it on the highway, don’t do it on your life’s journey either. A GPS recalculates when we take a wrong turn. If we’re listening to God, there’s no place we’ll lose a satellite connection to his instruction. Keep going and he will redirect you if a snag comes your way.
Focus on what you can do and do that.
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Take the one next step that you likely already know what it is. In the writing community I’ve heard it said that “the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you don’t write.” If you’re a writer, you need to write. What action do people who do what you dream do? You need to do that… but you need to start with the first step. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.
Don’t expect the next instruction until you do the last.
Don’t try to skip steps in your journey. Sometimes we encounter a next step that we underestimate or don’t like. We figuratively crane our necks to see what’s beyond the step we’re at. Not long ago I was praying for what was next. The answer I got was convicting to say the least. Do the last thing that God nudged me to do and keep doing that. Sure enough when I committed to doing that fully, I discovered what was next.
In case you’re wondering, I did pack both my toothbrush and my phone charger. And, despite not mapping out my entire journey, I made it the the conference for just the reset I needed.
It’s your turn.The next time you find yourself getting stuck by doubt:
- Recognize your dreams and passion.
- Don’t wait for the entire plan.
- Refuse to give up when you encounter a snag.
- Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
- And don’t expect the next instruction until you’ve done the last.
Did this hit home for you too? I’d love to hear from you, click to join the conversation. And, if this encouraged you, why not consider sharing? Thank you!
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