Remember the little girl in The Matrix who could bend the spoon? She told Neo all he had to do was believe that “There is no spoon.”
The other day Seth Godin published a blog titled The Map Has Been Replaced by the Compass, and it got me to thinking about The Matrix. There is no map anymore. The job that used to exist doesn’t exist anymore. The plan that was foolproof isn’t foolproof anymore. The future that seemed so certain isn’t so certain anymore. No longer can you pull a textbook off of the shelf and find out exactly what you need to do. All you have is a compass.
What is a compass in everyday life? Everyone has a compass, and everyone gets to choose what sets their compass. Two things trump all other influences: the Word of God and your heart.
The Word of God is eternal, infallible, and God’s direct word to you. Through study and prayer God leads us through every situation we face. His Word can calm us when we are stressed, help us set our priorities straight, and give us insight as we make decisions.
Knowing your heart is critical. For many years I did not realize that I could not really sense what my heart was telling me in day to day situations. Put me on a stage in front of people and I could sense what to do very easily, but with my family and friends I was nervous about what people thought of me and what God thought of me. After a lot of challenges the past few years I have come to know my heart more clearly. I can tell (most times) when I am at peace about something and when I am not, when I am happy and when I am putting on a show. If you are feeling anxious about a decision, you probably should hold off on making it. If you are facing a lot of difficulty, ask yourself if you need to be working hard or if you are working hard because you are trying to make something happen. If you are trying to make something happen, you should consider backing off.
Of course, each person is different. That’s why it is so important to know your own heart and be tuned in to what God is saying through his Word. Every other influence is secondary. If you are married, you must first know your own heart and what you feel God is speaking to you. Then, and only then, can you have a meaningful discussion with your spouse about what he or she is hearing from God and in her heart. If you reverse that process you put your entire relationship and self identity in jeopardy because you are not fully relating to your spouse; you will end up reflecting what you think your spouse wants to see or hear. 9 times out of 10 you will get it wrong. Trust me.
Doing the hard and scary work of really getting to know your own heart is worth it, and so is seeking a relationship with God. True peace can only come on this path.
What sets your compass? How do you listen to your heart and to what God is saying?