I was taking my son, Ezra, to basketball practice last night and he asked me a question. He asked, “Dad have you ever taken a wrong turn and ended up lost?” I replied with quick and resounding, “yes!” I told him that everyone has taken a wrong turn from time to time. He followed up his question, like so many kids do with another question, by asking, “are we lost now?” We had just been detoured, and nothing looked familiar to him, so he assumed we must be lost. I reassured him that we were not lost.
At that moment, it caused me to consider the many times that I have been lost in one way or another. The truth…many of us have been lost from time to time. Some of us are too proud to ask for directions and end up wandering around until we find the place we were going. Some of us never find that place and do the best we can to get back where started.
When I was twenty years old, I delivered bottled water. The directions that were on the order form were not always the best. Many of the deliveries that I made were first-time customers in new cities and town. I found myself lost more often than not. I learned to make it an adventure and kind of got to the point where it was a challenge to find my way. I knew that I was not really lost, so it was not a big deal. I was going to find my way. Oh, I should add that this was way before GPS systems to direct me, although experience with them says that they are not always right, but that is another story.
Yet in life, whether it is being lost physically, emotionally, or spiritually, the feeling of being lost is scary. It can be a feeling of hopelessness, helplessness, and these can overwhelm you. After all, it’s not like you can just stop. In life, you have to keep going. So, what do you do when you feel like you are lost in life and you are just wandering around looking for direction?
You want the answer?
I want the answer too!
I have been asking this question for some time now. What I am coming to understand is that feeling lost in life and being lost while driving can be solved in the same ways.
Follow me on this one…
If you are driving and you are lost, I would not recommend that you just keep going. You could be headed in the complete opposite direction. The best thing to do is to stop and ask for directions. Now I know that in our world today that means checking with Siri or your Waze app, but the principle is still the same. You have to stop and get the directions right.
When you are lost emotionally and spiritually, you need to do the same thing. You need to stop. It is essential to know that you cannot keep going on. Too many times, we hear advice that tells us to just keep going. Although that might come from someone who is trying to be encouraging, it might just make things worse. Again if you are lost, you might make your situation worse. So the best thing to do is stop and get the directions right.
So here is my advice to you if you are feeling lost…
- Stop trying to find your own way.
- Stop following old or confusing directions.
- Stop pretending everything is ok.
It really is ok to say that you are lost. By recognizing this reality, you might just find your way.
But here is a truth that you must understand. You cannot remain where you have stopped. If you do, you will soon discover that you are still LOST. So then, after you have stopped, take the next step and get the right directions.
The right directions are found by…
- Asking for the right directions
- Trusting the directions that have been given to you.
- Following the directions completely.
Let me explain these a little further. If I am lost and looking for directions, I want to ask someone who knows the area I am in and the place I want to go. When they give me the directions I need to trust them; this means that I must have asked a reliable source. Once I have received the directions I must follow them and not look for a shortcut, shortcuts can get you lost again.
Emotionally and spiritually here is how we work this out…
- We ask God, the Way Maker, for the way we should go. “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” (Isaiah 30:21). So we are to pray for directions.
- We trust God’s directions. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
- We completely follow the directions. No shortcuts! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Prov 3:5-6)
There is so much more that I could add, but these are enough to get us on the right way. When you are feeling lost stop trying to push through, it is not helping. Stop and seek the right way from the One who can truly guide you.
I hope this helps you. I wrote it to help me.