Using The Right Road Map

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere.   Deuteronomy 13:4 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy husband and his friends ran the Reach The Beach 24 hour relay a few weekends ago. Trying to be kind, he left me with our new mini-van, parking our old mini-van at the group meeting spot for the duration. Then he took our portable GPS for the team to use. What we both overlooked was the fact that, yes, I had the shiny new van, but I was left without any mapping technology.

When it came time to go to Mason’s away baseball game, I had to go old school and print off the directions from Map Quest. I’ve never been a big fan. I’ve always been directionally challenged and can get lost at the drop of a hat. But it’s as if the overload of exacting detail on Map Quest overwhelms my poor little brain. I shut down before I even put the key in the ignition. So sure enough, we got lost going to the baseball field.

Once again, I had to go old school and stop and ask for directions. But when the entire Dunkin’ Donuts staff that Saturday was all of seventeen years of age, I knew I was on rocky ground. To their credit, they left their customers waiting and came together to confer on the ball field I was looking for. When two out of the three agreed on the same information, I decided I’d give their directions a try.

My three kids and I were like hawks: eyes peeled for the landmarks we were directed to find to get us there. A cool thing happened in the process: as we were following the directions of the DD staff, we saw a road sign from our Map Quest directions. I took it, and lo and behold, two minutes later, we were at the right ball field. When I chatted with the other parents on the bleachers, come to find out the DD staff were directing us to a different baseball field a few blocks away. I felt lucky to have stumbled upon the place we were supposed to be.

Up until seven years ago, anytime I tried to read the Bible it just didn’t make sense to me. Like Map Quest, it seemed to have too much detail, unending lineages of descendants, and my poor little brain would shut down. I couldn’t connect. I yearned to deepen my faith, but the Bible didn’t seem to be the right tool for me.

So instead, I started using Kristin Armstrong’s Heart of My Heart and ordering spiritual books off of Amazon. I loved how the authors could make Scripture apply to our day and age, and simplify what seemed so complicated to me. It became addicting. As I consumed book after book, I could feel my spiritual life blossoming.

But I was also starting to idealize and idolize the authors I was reading. Like I was trusting the DD staff to get me where I was supposed to go, I was trusting these authors to interpret God’s word for me. Although I was using discernment in my choices, it was still risky business.

The other trap I fell into was I was considering my reading time to be prayer time. I thought, if I was reading about God and my faith, surely that must count. Ironically enough, it wasn’t until I read in a book recently that reading about God isn’t praying to God that I realized my mistake. As Stephen and Alex Kendrick say in their book The Battle Plan For Prayer, unless we’re engaging God, actually communicating one on one with Him, we’re not praying.

So I’m tweaking my prayer time yet again. Although I’ll still be using Living Faith and the Bible (the one true road map), I need to then put my navigational tools aside and just sit in the silence. In the style of Lectio Divina, if I keep my inner eyes peeled for the road signs His Word has left in me, I know I’ll be lucky enough to arrive at the place I’m supposed to be: in true prayer, in communion with God.

Questions For Reflection:

      * What road maps do I use to find God?

      * When those road maps lead me to Him, do I then put the road maps aside and spend time in His presence?

      * Have I given my kids a road map to God?
 

     * Have I taught them to spend time in God’s presence?

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