Recalculating

Back in my high school days, I wasn’t known for having the keenest sense of direction. (Fine. I’m still not known for having the keenest sense of direction.) Without a navigational system constantly chirping instructions at me, I’d be more lost than a goose in a snowstorm. But when my GPS is whirring away, I can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Until the signal cuts out or I make a wrong turn at a tricky intersection. Then my pulse starts to race, my thoughts spiral, and I just know the world is about to end. (This might sound the slightest bit melodramatic to you. It does to me, too.) At that point, my best option is to pull over and reorient myself. Punch a few buttons, and bam! That beautiful word—”recalculating.” I can hop back on the road and reach my destination with the thrill of adventure rather than lingering dread.

Heaven only knows how often I’ve enacted this scene. You’d think I’d get better at not freaking out there in the middle of the confusion, but right on cue, I become a hot mess. Every stinking time.

Life is like that, with one big exception. The GPS (God) never has to recalculate. His watchful eye and strong arm propel me along the journey, and He’s never flustered at the scrapes I find myself in. He’s also personally invested in the arrival at my final destination. The plan of the Lord unfolds exactly as He deems it should, and I can rest in knowing I’m never ever ever beyond His reach.

Spending time with the Navigation System reminds me that I don’t have to know eight turns ahead—I just need to trust His heart each step of the way.

But there is still a certain kind of reorienting I’m invited to practice. Just because God knows what’s going on doesn’t mean my forgetful heart has it easy. When chaos threatens sanity through the circumstances around me, I can “pull over” and remind myself of truth. Here’s a sample, a favorite written by Deidra Riggs: “Take heart, sister girl. All is well. Breathe deeply. Do your part. Do your one thing. Fight the good fight. Offer grace. Work for justice. Move with mercy. Be kind. Keep your focus. Keep moving forward. Keeping looking up.”

Notice a few things. First, it keeps the statements short. Ain’t nobody got time for long, flowery messages when on the brink of a meltdown. A heart in turmoil calls for simplicity. Second, it chooses a tone of kindness. It’s okay to be nice to yourself. Try it. Third, it offers perspective on what is in your sphere of control and what’s outside of it. Finally, it stays biblically solid. The more grounded you are in Scripture, the more naturally the Word will flow into moments of tumult.

The next time you find yourself (metaphorically) on the side of the road, mascara running as you desperately search for the right way forward, take a minute. Remember who and Whose you are. This King has not abandoned you and has no plans to do so in the future. He’s working things out exactly as He means to. Allow a recalculating of your heart, and then turn up the music and enjoy the ride.

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