“I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.”
I tend not to get excited about going to new places on my own. I have a terrible sense of direction, and don’t navigate the unfamiliar very well. I look around trying to read signs, but often find myself concluding, “I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.”
My experience, however, is radically different if someone is with me. Even if they don’t exactly know where they are going either, there is a degree of confidence and freedom that I experience simply because I am not alone. Pooled ignorance somehow brings a measure of courage.
I was thinking recently about the need for us to hear from God about where we are supposed to go. A Proverb says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (16:9). Ultimately, only God can answer the question about where we’re supposed to go.
No matter where that is, for me, I don’t want to ever have to go there alone.
In one of my earliest interviews for my current job, the recruiter said that he’d love to send me into Central Asia to have a look at a couple of opportunities…by myself. My answer came quickly and easily: “No way.” I’m not going anywhere alone, much less to another continent and to some countries that I can hardly even spell (Kyrgyzstan?). But then, another scouting trip came up, and this time, one of my closest friends was going. Suddenly, I was on board…and my life changed in nearly every way imaginable.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from the 2000 film Memento. The main character says, “I use habit and routine to make my life possible.” I try to minimize the new experiences in my life, but it’s not possible to wholly eliminate them–nor is it ultimately wise to even try.
So if I have to go into the unknown, how am I–prone to lostness and intimidation–ever going to go there?
By holding the hand of God.
He directs our steps. He knows where I need to go. He’s been there. And He’s willing to take me along.
Like a child prone to wander, I have the opportunity of taking God’s hand and walking into the unknown. It may be humbling to do so, but it’s not a sign of immaturity. God has no expectation that we should be self-sufficient in taking ourselves where we need to be. He directs our steps–which isn’t to say that He simply sketches out a rough map for us to follow. One step after the other, He points out the way. The only chance I have to walk rightly in each of those steps is to take Him by the hand and have Him show me exactly where to go.
Practically, this means I need to be willing to admit that I don’t know where I’m supposed to go, and–even when I do–I’m not likely to go there. I need Him to lead me. And then it means that, in faith and with courage, I need to be willing to go forward into what He has for me, even when it is unknown, untried, difficult. And I need to realize that I am not alone. I am never alone.