I was headed to Lansing, Michigan for the first time in many years. I kinda knew the direction I was headed, but the details were fuzzy. So I punched in the address and was on my way. The maps app is a life saver for people like me. I often forget details. For real, I carry a list of my kids’ birthdays in my wallet. I can fill out paperwork at a doctor’s office with confidence rather than harried embarrassment when a date just can’t be pulled to the front of my brain! How can I possibly remember the number of the right interstate of a city that I lived in 18 years ago. The struggle is real.
So why in the world do I have the habit of arguing with the maps app on my phone? My family would give witness to me arguing with the British accent that tells me where to go. My trip to Lansing a prime example. It was routing me out of town across two highways. I like to take the back scenic route so I totally had a better idea. I was cutting it close on time, my way was better, would have less traffic and the scenery would be better. Insert photo of smug Tammy.
I charted my own course as the man in the phone kept pointing out each side road that would allow me to turn around and go his way. I happily ignored him and laughed at his ignorance. Until I got to the construction.
This is the story of when I would have been perfectly on time, and then the morning slipped away behind a paving truck because I went my own way. Insert photo of crazy Tammy as she turned around, backtracked, and ended up using the route Google had suggested in the first place.
I have thought about that morning often over the past few weeks as our family embarks on a new journey. We are transitioning from the home we have known since returning from Asia to the States. It has been a good season. We have learned a lot, been striving for health as a family, and been thankful for a place to call home during Covid and readjusting to life in the States. I had it in my head that when it was time to leave this comfortable place, it would be to return to the city I loved in Asia.
So when we started to sense that God was rerouting us, the road we were being asked to take wasn’t the one I thought we should take. Well, there was some arguing going on. I really am not sure why I do it. Arguing with God is never good for my soul.
The trip to Lansing took me 30 minutes longer than it should have and raised my blood pressure higher than needed as I contemplated being late. I thought taking things into my own hands would result in a peaceful route through the countryside. My expectations were not met.
During this season of transition, I am trying to practice hearing God’s voice in new ways. When I have everything all mapped out – my expectations and route set – I can miss so many treasures along the way. My expectations can keep me from hearing where God is leading. But how do I get out of my own way? I wish I had a list of five ways to listen to God to make the path easier. I am new to all of this. I am embracing the journey, exploring new spiritual practices like breath prayers, silence and solitude, and meeting with a spiritual director. Maybe, it is just about the journey. Being honest with myself. Naming my expectations. Talking with trusted friends. Seeing how God shows up.
Our girls have been learning to drive this spring. What starts out stressful has become a joyful time of logging driving hours and time together. The thing about logging all of these practice driving hours – at times we take drives with no where to go. We are just driving. Experiencing this new season of life together.
I pray that during this transition that I can be like my teenage daughters. Listening for advice from a seasoned driver, not always hurrying to get to the next location, but seeing the road as a place to learn. It’s about the journey.
Jesus take the wheel.