Ronda Perry of St. Peter’s Church knows where she wants to go, but she’s sometimes reluctant to admit her current whereabouts. Here’s what she’s learned about navigating life’s tricky turns.
I’m a bit of a technology geek. Especially when it comes to cell phones. I’m eligible for an equipment upgrade every two years but newer, cooler phones come out way before then, leaving me looking like a child pressing my nose against the glass of the bakery shop window. One of the coolest features on my phone is the Navigation tool. I use it all the time. It’s just cool. I use it to pick up my son from school, to get to my best friend’s house, even to get out of my neighborhood. No, I’m not that navigationally challenged, I just love being reminded of the details it takes to get somewhere that I may take for granted because I’ve been there so often.
I use it for long distances too. Places I’ve never been or would never know how to get to. I love the idea that when I type in the location of my destination, satellites link up across the skies to tell little ‘ole me how to get there! Quite cosmic, huh? But as cool and advanced as this technology is, there is one thing that is always required when I need some direction. I have to put in my current location. In other words, to get to wherever I want to go, I must know from where I’m starting.
If you’ve been to a theme park, you might have needed to figure out how to get to the Screaming Till Your Eyes Bleed Roller Coaster. So you run up to the sign that has the entire park diagram, and you look for it. You know, the little red arrow with the words “You Are Here.” Only then can you plot your course through the maze of rides, concessions and bandstands until you find the line that circles the globe twice for your 3.4-second ride!
See, the thing is, I am unable to go anywhere in life until I know where I am. If I try to fake it and just start out, chances are I will either waste a lot of time and energy getting there (not to mention the pain); or worse yet, not get there at all. But I will be the first to say that admitting where I am is not so easy. Jesus understands this. This week I’ve had to take a hard look at an area of my life that is … well, ugly. In my head I thought I was at one place, but actually I was in another. It’s no wonder that I didn’t have any success or progress as I tried to navigate my way out. I just kinda wandered around in a false sense of reality. When I was reminded through scripture of the truth of my condition, it was sobering. I had no idea I had wandered off so far.
OK, now for the good news! Now that I know where I truly am, I’m ready for a good, accurate course to get to my destination. It really doesn’t matter where I am; the actual location is irrelevant. I can be in a good place, bad place, dark place, or even the happiest place on earth; I can start from wherever I am. Jesus doesn’t make me move to a different location, then give me direction. He doesn’t ask me to move at all. All I need to do is say, “Here I am. I’m right here.”
Sometimes, the ‘right here’ is a condition of my heart that I need to address, other times the ‘right here’ is an act of defiance or an unwillingness to agree, and sometimes the ‘right here’ is the evidence of poor stewardship. Regardless, God is able to map out the directions I need to get me to the place He wants me. The cool thing is, I want to be there too. It’s as if I have one of those red arrows and wear it as a hat. All I have to do is stand still long enough to honestly see where I am, and God will plot my course.
Ronda Perry lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, with her husband and two adult children while learning how to converge everyday life with an intimate God. She serves at St. Peter’s Church and is pursuing her M.Div at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Follow her blog.