When I was a kid we’d often take summer road trips out west. Pretty much the entire time we were driving, I’d have the atlas spread out on my lap, tracing the path of the highway with a pen to see how far we had gotten. I loved knowing how far we had come, and how far we had to go. I liked the assurance of seeing there was an exit ahead that I was sure would be big enough to have restaurant options. I liked knowing how much longer I had to sit in the cramped back seat with my annoying brother.
But let’s say you’re going to take a trip today. You put in your destination on your phone’s map app -and listen to directions given you by a very kind Inside-The-Phone-Magic-Friend (who, in my case, does actually seem to grow more and more frustrated as he has to “recalculate” my directions as I misunderstand him and make wrong turns. Does yours do that too??). Your little blue dot representing your car -and all the “Family Fun” going on inside said car – blinks on and off, on and off, as you make your way across your 4.5 inch screen.
Recently our family was in Texas, attempting to find our way around Dallas – an area we knew nothing about. I would put in the location we wanted, and we’d listen closely – as my husband drove and I tried to interpret the info on the screen. Arguments would pop up every once in a while, “He said KEEP LEFT! Not TURN left… there’s a difference!”
“Why can’t you tell me this before I get in the left turn lane??”
As I stared at our blue dot on the screen, I started feeling a little frustrated that I couldn’t see the big picture. Couldn’t see how one smaller highway would lead into a bigger one three miles ahead. Second guessing whether it’s stay left or turn left – how do I know if I couldn’t see any context of where we were?? I kept repeatedly hitting the “Overview” on the map so it would back out and show me the bigger picture.
I honestly started feeling claustrophobic watching that dot because all I could see was the immediate surroundings. And then I started relating that to life. It can feel like I’m looking at the small screen in front of me with the little blue dot of Me attempting to follow the right directions. The times I stumble back into old habits or sin can be when I’m focusing too much on the little screen map and forgetting the big atlas point of view – I forget where I’m headed and where the end goal is.
For me (as a list maker), I sometimes need to literally take a pen and paper and write out goals – 5 year, 10 year, life goals. Then, looking at that list, I can take it to the Lord and pray over it and ask for His guidance as I move forward. I can keep a list of things that have happened in the past – whether it’s in the past months or the past years – and see how He has led me this far so that I have that atlas view in mind. I can take a step back and see the bigger point of view and not focus only on the little blue dot of today’s situations. I can recalculate my route to make sure my small choices today lead to the right path eventually. Thank you, Lord!
What can you do to take a step back and see how God has led you this far? What goals do you have for the future that you could write down and pray about so that you know the direction you need to be moving? What little steps can you take today to ensure you’re on the right path? Remember to keep the big atlas view.