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Do you know where you are going?

October 3, 2016

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This sign is on the road between Pigeon Forge Tn and the Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. It made me pause and think “Where am I really going?”  How can I be going north and south at the same time?  In the mountains and on the switchbacks (I don’t think there is a straight road anywhere in the park) our compass went in all the directions every time we were driving.

Even with GPS and maps and knowledge of the area one can get lost very easily traveling on roads.  What about in life?  We wake up in the morning and we don’t have the same GPS and map helps to get through the day.  I usually don’t quote from Billygraham.org but they used GPS to say “God, People, Stories” that God works through people and stories to show us the way.  I like that interpretation of GPS as I believe that God gives to us people in many forms – social media, neighbors, family and friends and the stories of those people and God’s stories in scripture – to help show us the way. I have also said it is God’s Positioning System where the Bible and people and prayer help us to know the way.

It isn’t easy to know where you are going sometimes.  It is easier to see other people who are confident or those you think are lost.  It is harder to know where I am and where I will end up with the natural consequences of my decisions.  I believe that is because we think we are always making the best decisions based on the information we have at the time.  Denial and being blinded by prejudice and other things can really lead us astray from a path of truth, grace and hope.

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When I first saw this road sign, I tried to get a photo. Actually the first few times weren’t even this good.  We went by this sign so many times and there were some great photographic failures – first we didn’t even get it and then it was blurry.  There was heavy traffic so we couldn’t stop and there was no turn off at the place to get it.  I almost gave up and was just going to use the blurry sign and say “At least I tried!”

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In this world of fast food and easy access to so many things, we are sometimes impatient to get food at a restaurant that prepares it from scratch.  If it doesn’t come on the first try we use platitudes like: God closed that door for me.   Luckily I have heard other platitudes:  “If God closes a door, look for the open window”.  I have felt that if the “door” is hard to open it is sometimes God seeing if you have the strength to survive what is beyond that door.  Preparing and getting strong enough to open the door will serve you well once you do go through.

When we meet with obstacles, we need to assess the situation.  Does it mean we have to keep on trying?  It took both my husband and myself and several intentional tries of REALLY trying to get these images.  It meant slowing down – as we really couldn’t stop.  It meant preparing and laughing at the failures.  It meant making sure we were on that road even if it took a little longer.   It became our goal to keep trying. The last day we were there, it was 6 am.  We didn’t know how the photos has turned out so we did one last try.  There wasn’t traffic so my husband actually stopped so I could try again.

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Sometimes we need to evaluate and see if the goal is something of worth trying for – “think outside of the envelope or the box” means that we might need to get at it from a different angle.  If we stop and evaluate, we might see that we desire something that isn’t good for us and we need to stop trying all together.

For me, beginning the day with looking and writing down the goals and what needs to be done and then praying about it, leads to more productive and satisfying days of getting things accomplished.  It is true that the “to do list” may not be done.  I listen to the needs of people through many means which may preempt what I thought was so important in the morning.

There are times I feel I am going in 2 opposite directions at once. This sign reminds me that sometimes it really is 1 road going the same way all along.  Happy traveling and finding your way today and every day.

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