My ability to read a map isn’t the greatest. Praise the Lord for GPS! However, I do possess the ability to discern cardinal directions. I can be in a building and absolutely know which way is north, south, east, or west even without windows.
And so my friend and I were recently preparing to navigate our way many many blocks while we were in Chicago for my daughter’s physical therapy. My friend had done all the research and as she pointed north, told me how we would have to roll south.
I chuckled and pointed south. “You mean south.”
She responded, “No. South is this way.” (As she pointed north.) We laughed and laughed as I diligently tried to explain why north was north and how we would be traveling south. She continued to question me until her teenage daughter joined in, “No mom. Amy J. is right. We will be going south.”
And soon great gales of laughter rang out as we teased back and forth, back and forth about directions. And then the next day, as we cruised through the streets of Chicago to our food truck destination (all the while heading south) my friend said, “In my head I thought we were going the right way.”
I laughed, but then paused as I reflected, “The same could be said for all of us.”
How many times in life have I thought I was headed the right way? It seemed right. It felt right. OK, maybe it didn’t feel right, but in the end I just knew my way was the right way.
And suddenly I realized, my way was the wrong way.
This willingness to take direction, this choice to listen to others who have traveled the path before us and traveled it well, this ability to discern wisdom, well, it’s not particularly popular these days.
My 19 year old daughter was home from college all summer. I would go so far as to say that taking directions, listening to others who have traveled the path before them and traveled it well, and the ability to discern wisdom, well, it’s not a particular specialty with young adults. (Can I get an “Amen” from any mom who has recently lived up close and personal with young adults home from college?)
And I was exactly the same way at that age.
I’ve been thinking about when that flips. When does that change? When is there that realization that just because I thought I was going the right way, maybe I really wasn’t? I would offer that for some adults, the realization never really kicks in and for the rest of us, it takes a good portion of our twenties to see that come to fruition.
Feelings are dangerous. Anytime I’ve made a decision based on my feelings it has turned out poorly. My feelings are deceptive. Every. Single. Time.
And so this is why I am always trying to counteract my feelings with wisdom. “Lord, please grant me wisdom in this situation. Lord, please grant my children wisdom. Lord, please grant my husband wisdom. May we be open to taking your directions, listening to those who are wise who you’ve put in our lives, and for discerning our feelings from reality.”
For you see, if I don’t, I’m just trying to go south heading north. Because in my head, I thought I was going the right way.
And maybe you’ve felt that same way too, Dear Reader?
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.