Finding our way through relationships in life and ministry can be a sticky business.
We, as a culture, are obsessed with finding our way. Google, Mapquest, TomTom, Rand McNally, Magellan, and so many others have made their fortunes telling us which way to go.
We treat the Bible like a spiritual atlas, a training manual, and proclaim finding our way in life the highest purpose of sacred writings. When we inevitably lose our direction the fault lies with God and religion rather than ourselves. A religious center in it’s own right, Apple has been criticized for pushing out a less than perfect maps app because of the problems people have had finding their way.
Churches are no different. Leaders spend thousands of dollars travelling across the world to hear other leaders speak about what God is doing in their churches and in their lives. We benchmark and read and compare and do case studies all in hope of finding the next step up for our ministries.
Did Jesus die on the cross just so he could get permission to put up road signs in our lives? Did the Father sacrifice his only son so that we could feel better knowing where we are going now or in the future? Better yet, have countless numbers of Christian believers over the centuries been martyred for the sake of a driver’s safety course?
What if how you find direction in life is more important than what direction you take? What if who you travel with is more important than your destination? What if God cares more about you than he cares about your direction in life?
I am as guilty as anyone else of chasing after direction rather than chasing after God. Instead of drawing me nearer to God, sometimes advance planning and vision casting turn into daydreaming and organizational lust.
The human condition defaults us towards fulfilling personal dreams rather than dreaming the dreams of God. Selfishness is a tricky fellow who has learned to hide in the nooks and crannies of our visioneering and direction seeking.
Every now and then we need a vision root canal, a time where we dig the selfishness and direction addiction out of our souls and re-orient towards the primary direction and director, Jesus Christ. This root canal requires only three tools:
- Time. Set aside blocks of time with no distraction (including electronic devices) and bring only your Bible and a notebook and pencil. Go to a private and reflective place where you can rest and sit in God’s presence.
- Repentance. Acknowledge where you have let your agenda, your selfishness, cloud over your vision. Ask God to forgive you and give you a fresh start, then commit to doing what he tells you to do.
- Openness. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an uncommonly open and sensitive heart to whatever God may want to reveal to you.
I remember taking a day away a number of years ago. I walked into my room with a list of things I wanted God to answer, directional issues where I felt I needed a divine road sign. As I spent time in silence, rest, reading and prayer, God somehow impressed upon me how insignificant my issues were in the grand scheme of his universe, and how much he just wanted me to be with him.
What he provided that day was so more worthwhile and effective than any answer I would have gotten to my list of questions. Oddly enough, as I embraced the way he had spoken to me that day the easier my decisions became. I got the direction I needed, but out of a relationship with the God of the universe and not through searching my Bible like a road atlas.
Where have you allowed direction seeking and vision casting to take priority over a deep, meaningful relationship with God?