by Tom Glisson
Several years ago I went to Denver for a chaplain’s conference and when I got my rental car they included a GPS. At the time car GPS units were just coming into vogue and this was my first time to use one. I was in awe! The little GPS unit knew every street and alley and all I had to do was enter the address I wanted to go to and the Australian female voice guided me merrily along my way. Now I don’t know how I would live without one.
This leads me to think about how helpful and useful it is for us to have direction. As a pastor and chaplain and healthcare professional an essential part of what I do is help people get pointed in the right direction whether through sermons or personal counseling or example.
In the Hebrew scripture Proverbs 29:18 it says (my paraphrase) that when people have no direction they perish but those who follow God’s directions are happy and blessed. Whatever your faith tradition hopefully you have experienced the benefit of your faith being a place for guidance and direction. Healthy faith principles can ground us and establish good priorities that lead us to make good choices.
For example Jesus told his disciples to not be worried about things like food and clothing but to focus instead on a healthy spiritual relationship because a healthy spiritual relationship would cause all those other things to fall into place. I have seen people who don’t have that kind of grounding get into unnecessary trouble in their life because they are “tossed to and fro” with whatever comes along as they focus first on “pleasures of life” and do not take care of essentials and end up unable to ever get ahead. While seeking pleasure they are missing true happiness “perishing” in the stress and anxiety of always trying to make ends meet. Life does sometimes throw us a curve ball but all too often we are victims of our own choices.
The aging process is a time of shifting priorities. Challenges such as health, finances and increased dependency can thrust us into uncertainty when we are looking for direction and there doesn’t seem to be any easy answer. Sometimes we don’t even know where to turn for answers.
On that trip to Denver I was going to a town I had never been to before. But there on the dash was that little box that had all the information I needed. How wonderful it would be if for all of life questions that we had a little box where we could punch in the question and it spit out an answer! While that isn’t the case there may be more direction available to you than you realize.
First affirm your faith values and principles because they will very likely help you to make prudent choices. You might think about this in terms of GPS not being Global Positioning System but God’s Positioning System! As persons of faith we can enter into times of prayer, meditation and contemplation seeking divine guidance. My personal experience has been that when doing this I find myself being moved in directions that are beyond my personal wisdom and ability.
But beyond that don’t be afraid to ask for direction! In this publication there is page after page of resources. They have the data that you don’t. Make some calls and you will be amazed at the number of people out there who want to help and will be happy to point you in the right direction. So ask for help and you might just find yourself moving from lost to found!