It was a dream come true: “the Hubs” and I arrived for a visit to Ireland. I was thrilled to stroll along the River Liffey, to see emerald green hills dotted with white, puffy sheep, and to behold the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. What was decidedly less thrilling was our inability that first day to drive and navigate in this dreamland.
“The Hubs” drove while I attempted to navigate aided by a largely unhelpful navigational system. Nothing prepared us for the—shall we say, tension—of driving on the left side while negotiating backward roundabouts (sometimes with six outlets). Lanes that seemed better suited for one-way traffic were skirted by rock walls three inches from the road, but that didn’t stop cars from coming blithely at us from the opposite direction.
After an eight-hour game of chicken as we traversed the countryside from the east coast to the west, my nerves were shot. I had probably said a hundred times, “You’re too far left!” and “the Hubs” had probably said a hundred times, “Well, which way do I turn?!” I was in tears and my husband found himself trying to convince me that he was not trying to get us killed. As we took deep breaths and got back in the car to give it another go, we realized this place required us to be extra vigilant in our watchfulness and our attentiveness to the nav system.
Navigating life can bring the same tears of consternation. There have been countless times in my life when I have pleaded with the Lord to, for heaven’s sake, just tell me what He wants! Do I turn here or not? Do you want me to keep going or stop?
Word of God is our best go-to answer. But, when you are looking for a specific answer, let’s face it, you can find almost any answer you want.
Should I pursue this dream or let it go?
Should I fight or be still?
If I am working hard toward what I’ve felt He’s called me to, am I being the fretting Martha or am I being the faithful servant who invested well?
If I rest and wait on Him, am I being the esteemed Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet or the slothful servant who buried his talent?
How can I tell what to do when there seem to be contradictory answers?
What if we aren’t given hard and fast answers because there is a treasure far better than a discovered answer? What if the Father desires something other than your ability to get to your destination with no missed turns and no “recalculating”? What if His end goal is centered around your relationship with Him rather than your success at finding the “you are here” blinking blue light and being able to map out a route to your destination?
Isaiah 30:21 says, “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
If I want to find out how the Lord wants something done, I must get closer: close enough to feel His heart and close enough to hear His voice. I must be in such an intimate space with the Lord that I know which way to turn.
The Lord is far more interested in developing my ability to stay in touch with Him than in my “need” to get it right all the time.
I think if He gave me the answers I want, without the need to wait for His voice, I’d be off in a flash, chasing down my desires autonomously, without the daily stillness of hearing His voice. But, my Creator and the Lover of my soul will never do anything to bypass relationship. He desires me above what I do, above what I accomplish—even for Him.
Daily stillness. Daily connection to the voice of God. That’s the only way to know the answer for which way to turn when signs and advice point in every conceivable direction. It is only on the strength of relationship that you can know which answer is for now.
Photo by Megan Johnston