I got lost in Baltimore yesterday.
It actually happens almost every time I go to the city.
I know how to get in just fine.
But when I go to leave, the street I think I can take is one-way – and it is not going the one-way I need it to go.
I tried to use my GPS.
And to a point, it worked well.
But only to a point.
The point where I had enough time to figure out what lane I needed to be in to make the next direction happen.
Do two lanes turn left at this light? Or just one?
Are there cars parked in the next block so I need to scoot over?
Or is this the lane I need?
After these two lanes turn left, how soon will I need to be in a different lane?
And which lane would that be?
Needless to say, I eventually made it out of the city.
This morning I realized a huge part of my problem yesterday.
I had turned off the voice on my GPS.
So I had the map.
And it had arrows showing lanes, turns and other directions.
But I didn’t have the voice that prepped me for them.
Because I had turned it off.
How many times do I do the same thing in my spiritual life???
I have the road map.
And it is correct.
It will tell me how to go every time.
But it works best in conjunction with the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
And when I turn off that voice, I have a much harder time navigating life!
On Monday I got lost in Baltimore because I did NOT listen to the voice of the GPS.
But on Sunday, I had direction for life because I listened to the Voice of the Spirit.
I am a creature of habit. And on Sunday mornings, I usually do a whole bunch of things before I ever make it back to our check-in computers in the children’s hallway.
But this past Sunday, I felt a strong urge to shake up my routine and to do things out of order. I went back and turned on the computers first, before I did anything else.
And you know what? Two of the three had a major update to install. One of those where the screens actually said, “This may take a while. Your computer will restart several times.”
Oh, thank You, thank You, Lord, that I listened to that prompting to turn the computers on early! If I had done my normal routine they probably would not have finished in time for the first folks to check in. And, even if they had, my stress levels would have been much, much higher as I waited for them to finish.
So, how do I know that was the Lord prompting me?
In hindsight, it is easy to tell.
I can clearly see why I had that urge to change my routine.
But in the moment, I knew these things:
The “voice” in my head – really, the urging I felt – did not contradict anything in Scripture.
It was not sinful behavior.
And it did not break the law of Love in any way.
So I shrugged my shoulders and said, “OK. Why not?”
Because, you see, I have learned to listen for that Voice.
And I have learned how to “test the spirits” as it says in I John 4.
I have learned to pause and say, “Is that you, Daddy?”
And I know His Word well enough to spot a counterfeit impulse.
There have been times where I have had these promptings and then realized they were not of God.
And sometimes, I have had them and not obeyed, only to pay for it later on in some way large or small.
But here is what I love:
I know that God loves me.
I am His beloved daughter.
And He delights in showing me the path I should take – if and when I let Him.
So my job is to incline the ear of my heart to Him.
To take the time to read His Word so I recognize His Voice.
To spend time in prayer so that I know what His presence and His peace are like.
To hold up my thoughts, urgings or promptings against the background of those things to “test the spirits”.
And then to wait on Him for clarity of thought, for that “peace that passes understanding” before I act.
He is a good, good Father.
And the Good Shepherd, the one whose sheep know His Voice. (John 10)
Trust Him to lead you today.
He is far more reliable than any GPS.