Navigating the Unknown
My Thomas Guide was a lifesaver when I worked as a sales rep shortly after graduating from college. For those of you who are too young to know about maps of this variety, or didn’t live on the west coast, Thomas Guides were spiral bound street maps for specific areas. I had one for Santa Clara County and one for Santa Barbara, San Louis Obispo, and Ventura Counties to cover my sales territory.
I heavily depended on my Thomas Guides to assist me in navigating my sales calls. The night before, I would map out the most efficient route, taking into consideration the appointments I had and the potential customers who might be prime candidates for plastic overlays – the type you might find on your treadmill console or that allows you to operate your microwave.
If I ran into roadwork or other obstacles in the route I’d planned, it meant pulling over and examining the options in my Thomas Guide. Truly being lost required tracking down a phone booth to get better directions – there were no cell phones to make a quick call for clarification.
Navigating Back Then
Navigating was a whole different process back then! It actually demanded some map skills! My whole day depended on how well I mapped out my route.
You can still purchase Thomas Guides, but I doubt they are as popular. No more tracking down phone booths when just about everyone has a cell phone. It’s so easy to put an address into the GPS in your phone and let it lead the way.
I confess I miss the bird’s eye view a map offers and the feeling of control it offered. I like seeing the whole picture! That’s something that a GPS just doesn’t have going for it. My preference for seeing the whole picture and having control is not limited to my navigation behind the wheel. It’s my preference for life as well! The trouble is that it’s impossible to know where life is going. And if somehow it was possible for me to have that bird’s eye view, it would leave little room for trusting God.
Much like a GPS, God only gives instructions for the next step. Until I obey that step, God doesn’t give further instructions. While He is less annoying than a GPS that relentlessly repeats “recalculating” until I comply, the absence of information regarding the next step is the same!
Remember how God told Abraham to leave his country and his family to go to a new land? God didn’t include elaborate directions, just the promise that He would show Abraham his new home town, which God did bit by bit! And Abraham’s new home lead to many blessings. (Genesis 12:1-3)
God has blessings in store for me too if I will trust Him, step out, and choose obedience! Seeing Abraham’s life from a “bird’s eye view” allows me to see his adventure and that God kept His end of the deal. Somehow, it all feels much more precarious when it comes to my life and the adventure God’s leading me on. How about for you? Does whatever you’re called to do in your life personally or professionally feel more challenging when you can’t see how it will work out? Perhaps, it doesn’t even seem possible.
Venturing Into the Unknown
Even with a clear destination in my mind, the path can be fuzzy; unknown. Add that to a wealth of information all urging me to do this or that because my success is contingent on it! It can be overwhelming! Too often, what I sense God urging me to do seems like it will take too long, not get me where I want to be fast enough. I crave a shortcut. An easier way! A path more inside my comfort zone.
Where in your life do you feel like you don’t know where you are going; like the way just isn’t clear? Maybe you feel like God’s stopped guiding you or that the last set of instructions you received were too far outside of your comfort zone so you’ve done nothing! Perhaps you’ve ignored God’s leading in hopes that He will show you an easier way.
The nice thing about a GPS is that when you take a wrong turn, it’s quick to notice and update the directions to help you get where you need to be. God understands that you might miss a turn here and there and that wrong turns happen too. He even gets that at times you are too afraid to follow. When you are ready, He’s there to help you get back on track!
Ultimately God wants you to trust Him and rely on Him like you rely on your GPS. And unlike your driving detours that waste precious time and gas, nothing is wasted in your real life detours. God uses it all for good.
Strange Way of Navigating
God’s way of navigating is often quite strange – not what you would expect. Yet, He knows the experiences that will prepare you best for what’s a head. The obstacles, twists, and turns, often lead to the most unexpected blessings – far better than if you had followed the usual route. That plays out in some seemingly devastating ways in the moment: a lost job, a missed deal, a failed idea, an illness, or loss of resources or relationships, etc., yet down the road it leads to new options you might never have considered.
Even smaller “failures” – a typo in a your recently published book, a Facebook post no one acknowledged, or failing to follow-up when you said you would can feel like a huge road block in the moment without the confidence that God’s got you, He’s loves you – truly loves YOU, and that He’s still in control and helping you navigate the way!
God’s heart is for you. He wants the best for you, even when it doesn’t seem like it in the moment. The question is will you trust Him? Will you look for the possibilities in the devastating circumstances? Will you believe that He desires to use you in positive ways in your work place, through your business, or wherever He has for you in this season; that He’s up to good?
It’s a shaky place to not know exactly where you are going, but if you can place your confidence in your GPS, surely you can trust Him when it comes to navigating!
Stay in Tune
To stay in tune with where He’s leading, and to trust that He’s with you every step of the way, both personally and professionally, it helps to…
- Stay in the Word and be reminded of His faithfulness daily!
- Slow down and listen to His voice! Pay attention to what He’s saying.
- Saturate your life with scripture – post key verses around you – on your phone, mirror, computer, etc. Memorize it. Keep it fresh in your mind. Meditate on it.
- Keep a journal of all the ways God has been faithful and the next steps He’s revealed to you. Not only are these great reminders, but wonderful to read in discouraging moments.
- Ask others to pray for you.
- Find a faithful friend to check in to see how your next steps are going.
- Work with a coach to help you sort out your destination, next steps, and to help you identify the beliefs you have that are keeping you from getting where you want to be.
Struggling to depend on Him like you want to? Unsure of your next step either personally or professionally? Let me help you navigate your journey! Did you know that a coach doesn’t replace God, they point you to God, and help you remain connected to Him along the way?
Life requires that you venture into new places both behind the wheel and in life – both personally and professionally. Where are you feeling lost & unsure your next steps?
© Can Stock Photo / Aleutie