An Internal Compass

image courtesy of Educational Technology Clearinghouse

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been places. No, not big, exciting places – East coast heavy-hitters, perhaps – but nothing too flashy. I was in Philly for a few days, and Charlottesville for few, as well, yet all while lacking any sense of direction. You may recall that my own instinctive compass leaves much to be desired, yet despite the miles from home, my sense of lost-ness erred more on the internal side.

Ultimately, I’ve had no idea what I’m doing with my life these past few weeks. Where to go with this blog, how to maximize my productivity this summer, how to attain true fulfillment, how to please everyone, where to work and intern during the fall semester – and the list goes on. It’s mind-boggling. It’s all-consuming.

It’s completely unnecessary.

A famous quote, or semblance thereof, over quoted and modified, of course, reads like this: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Once the stuff of cards sold in boutiques, it’s now stamped on facebook statuses, and I keep meaning to remind myself of the original author (or is that an “author unknown” proverb?). In any event, it’s true. I get so caught up in the where of my journey, that I lose sight of all the beautiful stops along the way, which I too often view as pesky detours.

Both in Virginia and here at home in Delaware, I’ve had the benefit of being surrounded by really amazing people who I call friends, some rather new and others quite old. In any case, these people have reminded me of a few really important things, to put it simply.

Be still. While in Charlottesville, we were talking about the verse “Be still and know that I am God.” While I do enjoy quiet introspection and general “down time,” I often measure my worth based on what I do; my actions give my life value. While this isn’t all bad, it can easily miss the point. Being still and spending time with God is the only way I can learn His will for my life.

Don’t trust yourself. Basically, I’ve been focusing on my own strength a bit too much, and it just isn’t all about what I can do – it’s also about what God can do through me. Ultimately, I need to trust Him, since He is the One who has my best interests at heart. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” I’ve had this verse, Jeremiah 29:11, memorized since middle school (hence, the NIV version), but still need to be reminded of its truth. Similarly, John recorded Jesus’ words “‘Trust in God, and trust also in me.’” I can’t trust myself to know the way; I must depend on Someone much bigger than I am to lend direction into my life and guide my steps.

To me, this makes sense, too – in life, we need to take things one step at a time, instead of trying to map out the whole course, even if we’re only intending to take responsibility for our lives by way of five or ten-year plans. I believe we’ll experience greater enjoyment and more fulfillment within our lives when we begin to take things step by step. For, in the end, life doesn’t always go as planned; in fact, it rarely does. Consequently, maybe much of it is really about having a sense of direction along the way, if only as far as we can see today.

3 Responses to “An Internal Compass”
  1. Janie,

    There is a great deal of wisdom in the things you have pondered in your heart and now expressed publicly. I am grateful to be called your pastor and friend and it has been a joy to watch you grow in your walk with the Lord over the last ten years. I can also say that about your sister and brother as well. I love your mom and dad and I know part of your growth has been the result of godly parents who helped direct your path along the way. Mrs. Annette and I love you very much and look forward to watching the great things God is doing in your life. You have been through much over the last few months and couple of years and I know God has used your life experiences to conform you into His likeness. Be encouraged!

  2. Carrie says:

    This is great, Janie. I loved the verses you shared. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in my own plans (or just wanting to know what the future will hold), and I have to remind myself too that God is the one who has my whole life planned and who is in control.

  3. raysikeswrites says:

    This is wise and wonderful and gives me a lot of peace. Keep following step by step, sweet Janie.

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