Sunday, February 01, 2015

Find Your Compass

Over my lifetime I have spent countless hours in the wilderness.  I've hiked well worn trails as well as bushwhacked my way through thick forests and swamps.

When I share some of my hairiest adventures people ask me, "Do you ever get lost?"

Fortunately, no.  I never get lost.  Physically.  The Good Lord graced me with an uncanny sense of direction and dead reckoning. 

Through my many adventures and wilderness studies, I have developed skills to know what to look for, and when to look for it, regardless of my circumstance.  I use these skills to find out where I am in relation to where I want to be, whether it be off trail on a mountain top, or in the middle of the Great Dismal Swamp.  Last year these skills helped find my way in downtown Dublin, Ireland.  (Long story, maybe I'll share someday.)

All that said, on occasion I am forced to ask myself, "Where in the heck am I?", and in short order I figure it out and press on.

I wish I could say the same for my spiritual journey.  I know where I want to go, and I know how to get there, but I'm always getting lost. 

I'm always taking the wrong trail, stepping in the wrong spot, dodging snakes, ending up knee deed in quicksand, almost getting bit, or coming to the edge of a precipice that appears to go on forever.

How is it that I can be so rock solid in my physical journey, but have to struggle so hard in my spiritual walk?

Why am I constantly asking myself, "Where in the heck am I?"

I believe it's a loss of focus. 

Hiking is typically a short term journey.  Even epic adventures on the Appalachian, Pacific Rim, and Continental Divide Trails are relatively short term adventures.  Six months and done! 

Our short term journeys  do not require the intense focus that is needed for our life long spiritual walk.  Most of us can focus on a hike or project that has a finite end.  However our spiritual walk is endless. 

Whether we believe that Christ is our Savior, Mohammed is our prophet,  Dionysus is our patron deity, or one thousand Hindu gods represent us in some shape or fashion, we are all searching for something.  We all stumble and fall along the way, we all fall short of ideal, regardless of religious pedigree.

Being a Christian with "traditional" Southern Baptist roots.  (NOT to be confused with what is considered Southern Baptist today.) I know what is expected of me.  I know what I need to do.  But I constantly get lost in the weeds. 

Jesus was very clear when he said, "... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  John: 14:6  KJV

Pretty clear isn't it.  Yet we all lose focus of this simple fact of faith. 

Jesus also said, "...Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men." Mat:5:13 ASV

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus knew that we would struggle in our faith.  He knew that the world would constantly get in our way.  He knew we would need help.   He knew that if we did not find a way to stay focused on Him, the world would trample us into the dirt.

Find your compass. 

We all lose focus, and get lost.  We all let the world get in our way, and it kicks our butt every time.  We all need something, or someone to help us to get back on the trail.

When hiking I carry a compass, for the rare occasion I lose my way.  

In life, because I get lost so often, I carry a pack full of tools to keep me focused, or steer be back on course, and I use them all the time.

When I stray too far,  and I find myself in the briers,  one of my favorite focusing tools is to look up and point skyward and say, " God is great...  All the time."  Amazingly enough, the thorns disappear and my path is clear.

Grab a Bible.  Find a church.  Spend time with a person who shares your faith.  Find whatever works to keep you focused on your spiritual journey.

There is nothing more awesome after floundering in the weeds, than to find your way back to the trail.



Russell McLachlan said...

A little deviation is not a big deal for very short journeys, but like you said, we are on a long one. A little deviation in the beginning makes for a entirely different destination for a long journey! I got my compass and will make constant course corrections!! Thanks for sharing.

shamedog99 said...

It helps to hang out with a few dudes that share the same faith and that feel comfortable checking and being checked. Accountability partners. ⚾ ⛳ ⛪ hotdogs 🍎 pie and Jesus.

shamedog99 said...

When I separate from the pack I get into trouble.