I love travelling! I love going places! I love visiting new cities, seeing friends and family, I love coming to work! But I’m not a big fan of anything with wheels…
Never have been a fan of driving. When I was little I didn’t even like riding a bike. Instead I had a scooter, because I was ok with one foot on the ground. Every summer, my grandfather would take all the grandkids out to the farm to drive his truck and I always said no. I told him I was going to be rich and have a driver!
But if I didn’t drive I would only know the 1-mile radius around my apartment! How depressing would that be? So I daily come to the realization that I HAVE to move to get where I need to go. I have to endure the journey to get to my destination.
I guess life is like that too. We get to endure the journey to reach our final destination. At times life stinks! There is fear in the journey, fear in wondering what is around the corner. But if Jesus is your Lord and Savior, then you know that the final destination is Heaven where we will spend eternity with God.
But God didn’t zap us up into Heaven when we became a Christian, He left us here to travel the route He has us on.
And thankfully, God didn’t give us the full map. If we had the map, our brains would probably explode! Think about it, God knows EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY that has ever walked, is walking, or will walk on this planet. And sees every second of everyone’s past, present, and future all at the same time. Holy cow! Can you imagine? I think a little part of my brain just squirted out of my ear just thinking about it!
We don’t need the full map anyway because God provides signs to keep up on the path He has for us. But we love maps don’t we?
Matt loves maps. He highlights them, writes on them, and keeps them as souvenirs from our travels. When we lived in London Matt covered our entire flat in maps. He had a world map so he could see where all his classmates came from. He had a map of Europe so we could plan upcoming adventures. And he had a map of London so he would know where he had been, where he was, and where he needed to go.
Nowadays, everything is digital. Last year we got a GPS system for Christmas and that day my husband Matt got it all programmed, he chose and downloaded a female with a British accent (Let’s just call her Elizabeth), and now Elizabeth plans all our road trips.
She knows our destination and she chooses the best route. And she gets a little agitated when we deviate from the route. Even more agitated than Matt… he likes to keep a tight schedule.
For example, Matt and I are heading to west Texas to see family and I spot a Dairy Queen. I immediately think, you know what, I deserve a dipped cone! I have been sitting in this car for 2.5 hours. I have endured the boredom, the talk radio, the fumes coming out of my husband’s body. So I deserve, I need this dipped cone!
So I try to talk Matt into pulling off at the next exit and buying me this dipped cone. It takes some effort because we are “making good time.” But I have a college degree in sales and negotiation.
We start to exit and Elizabeth says – “Do not exit. Stay on the motorway (British for highway). Do not leave the planned route.” We exit anyway, pull into the Dairy Queen and she says – “Do a roundabout immediately. Return to the motorway.” And she repeats it over & over.
At this point, I am totally numb to her, All I can think about is the way the hot chocolate melts the ice cream and how perfect it will taste in my mouth! So I tuned Elizabeth out a long time ago, all I can think about is that dipped cone. And after my persistent sales pitch, eventually Matt just leans over and turns her volume down.
I think I do that with God too. He is speaking but I tune Him out. I turn down the volume on His voice. God is telling me where to go, but I see that Dairy Queen, I see that distraction. I feel that I deserve to go the scenic route, I need the latest and greatest thing, I want to take that detour. And so I do. I exit the highway, I leave the path God has me on.
What I don't realize is that all of those distractions are a lie! I don’t need those things. I definitely don’t want to pay for the consequences of the detour. I am just wasting precious time on my journey doing what I want to do, not what God wants me to do! But I make excuses for my behavior and do it anyway.
Admit it. We know what God wants us to do. Deep down, we know the right path because God said He would tell us. Check out what God’s word says…
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.
Psalm 16:11 (NLT)
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
You see, when we listen to God, we AUTOMATICALLY tune out the world around us.
How many of you guys like music? I love it!! But when I’m driving it can be a little bit of a distraction. I sing super loud, and if the music movies me – my eyes start to close, my hand starts to go up… not good.
My dad and Matt had installed this killer stereo system in my first car. It was a 1980 MG convertible, British racing car. It was awesome but I couldn’t live with the original radio because there wasn’t a CD player and the speakers were poop! And with a convertible, you have to have good speakers to be able to hear the music. Oh man, how I would crank up those speakers as loud as they would go!! I would get lost in a song. The music entertained me, it distracted me.
One day I was coming home from school and pulled into the garage. We were building the homecoming float at my house so I pulled all the way over to the right to avoid all the parade stuff on the left side of the garage. The MG was a tiny little 2-seater, so no problem, I just zipped in, got out, and went inside.
Well, my dad came home later and was FREAKING OUT. “What did you do to the car? When did you get into a wreck?” I had no idea what he was talking about! But apparently I swiped the entire side of the car with the garage. The radio was so loud I had no idea I hit it, so I didn’t stop. I ruined the entire side of my car. I was listening to the radio and missed everything that was going on around me. I wasn’t paying attention.
How many times in our lives are we not paying attention to where God is leading us? And someone asks = what happened to you? Your life is a wreck!
You see, God is showing us the path, but we have to open our eyes, open our ears to see it. God speaks to us in many ways – directly to us, through His word, through His teaching at Fellowship Church, through others – like Jeff and Chris and all the people in this world that love you.
But we are too distracted to hear Him. There are many, many things that distract us in this world! Here are some of the things that pull me off God's path. I challenge you to think about what distracts you on your life's journey.
1. Friends and Family – I have to protect my mind and stop listening to certain people because they want what is NORMAL for me (not God’s BEST for me). Some of us have "friends" that just want to use and abuse us. They don’t care about us, they just care about them.
2. Love for Money – It is too easy to live outside our means. The debt caused by our consumerism weighs us down. Matt and I had credit card debt, car payments, and student loans out the wazoo. We recently paid off $112,000 in debt so we
would be unshackled for what God has in store for us.
3. Peer Pressure – I was worried about what will people think of me instead of what God thinks of me. I kept forgetting that I only need to be concerned about my audience of one – God. No one else's opinion matters.
4. Laziness – I don't always want to put in the prayers, persistence and hard work to complete the road trip God has put me on.
5. Fear of Failure – What if I can't cut it? What if I make a wrong turn? I think I would rather just stay in park…
All of these distractions boils down to one thing. Pride. I want to be self-sufficient. I can do it, all by myself. Remember the scooter? I couldn’t ride a bike because I wanted to keep that one foot on the road.
Daily I have to ignore these distractions and have FAITH that God will direct my path and God will fill me up with the fuel I need to get there.
Move forward. Put the car in drive. Yes, you will detour. Yes, you will wreck. But GET BACK IN THE CAR AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
I have had many wrecks on my journey! I mentioned my first car-wreck… well, I have been in 4 others. And all 4 of those, I was going in reverse. I guess I’m just not good at going backwards. You should see my bumper…
Same with life, we have to move forward. We have to focus on God, and what He is showing us, so we can not only get to our final destination, but have a road trip that is worth journeying.
Are you the person that sets the GPS to the destination and then gets distracted by a Dairy Queen? Are you the person that sets the GPS to the destination and then says, you know what – I know how to get there and then you take your own path? Have you turned down the volume, are you tuning God out? Is He even in your car? Do you have a GPS system?
I pray that I have set the GPS and I follow each sign. I pray the same prayer Daniel prayed in Psalm 119.
Teach me your decrees, O Lord;
I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.
Father, I thank you for you who are. I thank you that you have the ultimate map and you know where we need to go. I ask that you show us what we need to unload in our lives to become unshackled for You. I ask that You show us the turns we need to take to get back to Your path for us. And I pray that we keep Your volume up and the world’s down. We love you and trust you. Amen.