When I Drove To China By Accident


So annoyed. I mimicked my arch enemy, also known as the voice of Google Maps, and turned around again. If she told me she was “recalculating” one more time, the tears from having to drop $700 on a new phone because I broke mine were going to join the I-think-I-drove-to-China-by-accident cry fest.

Just get me to the freaking baby shower. 

Usually when she pipes up it’s because I missed a turn or five. But this time, thanks to a habit of avoiding new iPhone updates, my nightmare became reality. Lady GooGoo lost her bearings. My sweet friends tried not to laugh (while I was on the phone anyways) as they attempted to direct me based on frantic reports of what I saw, which basically consisted of “5 trees to my left and a random mailbox on the right. And grass.”

Unfortunately that type of scenario is more of a routine in my life than showering. And it’s not because I don’t shower. I know it’s going to happen, my friends know it’s going to happen, I’m pretty sure even strangers know somehow. I guess I give off the “directionally challenged” vibe. Or maybe word travels. I certainly don’t – not alone anyways.

Sometimes I run into a similar problem when it comes to life. I will be cruising along in one direction when suddenly my internal GPS (God) reroutes me, and my excitement about turning around is often not much better than it is when my electronic frenemy instructs me to do the same. The funny part is that I really want them both to tell me where to go, but I get frustrated when they tell me I’m going in the wrong direction.

You see, I have a tendency to think I have things figured out. I hear some direction from God, connect the dots and set off with a mental map of where I think He is taking me. When things don’t go as planned I get frustrated, confused, overwhelmed and sometimes angry. My confidence about what He said turns into questions about my ability to hear Him and doubts about whether He even spoke in the first place.

But it usually has nothing to do with whether or not I hear Him. He does speak, and I do [often] listen. The problem comes when I try to figure out more than He gives me. I may figure something out, but it is never His whole plan. I figure out my own plan, slap His name tag on it and call it direction. He gives me my next step, I create a mile-long map. I may start off in the right direction, but things quickly unravel when I try to mix in what makes sense to me.

Note that the mix-up does not come from God. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (ESV).

God is not a God of confusion

Faith is not confusion either. There is a big difference between trusting the One who holds the pieces we cannot see and trying to wrap our minds around what we cannot see. Faith is an acceptance of limited knowledge and a reverence for the One who knows it all. God is not confusing, He is just too big for us to understand.

Confusion comes from trying to figure out more than we are given or looking to sources other than God for answers, both of which tend to happen when we aren’t satisfied with the amount of insight He provides about a given topic or next step. Our human limitations are drawn towards figuring it all out because when we can’t, we need directions. And needing directions means dependency on something other than ourselves. That’s the point. If we had it all figured out – if God gave more than a next step – we wouldn’t need to rely on Him.

Confusion comes from trying to figure out more than what we are given or looking to sources other than God for answers

Life with God is an adventure. We know the ultimate destination, Heaven. But the journey to get there is one marked by all kinds of twists and turns, pit stops and new territory. Life with God takes us off the map, away from man-made reasoning and normality, to lead us into beautiful and exciting places we would never see otherwise. Even if you are not directionally challenged here on earth (bless you), you are when it comes to God’s plan for your life. If you think you are not, you’re wrong. Our human minds cannot comprehend what omniscient eyes can see.

Our human minds cannot comprehend what omniscient eyes can see

Isn’t it interesting that we can be all for depending on something or someone else to direct us, until that someone else is God. Then we get nervous.  I’m terrified to travel anywhere without my GPS or step by step directions because I know my tendency to get lost and my inability to understand where I am going. Yet I often go days without spending much true quality time with the voice of my internal GPS. On road trips, I would rather someone else drive (no one ever argues with me about that one, can’t imagine why). But when it comes to handing the wheel over to God I tend to hesitate, even though I know from experience that life with Him in the driver’s seat is so much easier.

God doesn’t hold back directions to make us miserable. His desire is for us to experience the freedom that comes from being able to soak up the journey instead of just fighting through it. We can settle for the same road, trying to get to better places on our own. We have that choice. Or, we can accept that He is the only one who has the directions, hand over the wheel and prepare to have our minds blown.

Back to the baby shower incident. I finally pulled over into a church parking lot and came to terms with that location becoming my new home since I was clearly never getting out of this labyrinth called Spartanburg, South Carolina. One of my friends offered to come find me and let me follow her back to the shower. I almost agreed, but my stubborn nature kicked in one final time and by some miracle combined with her patience to remain on the phone with me I finally arrived. 45 minutes late to a destination that come to find out, was only 10 minutes away from my house.

Jesus is the friend on the phone. He is always there, calling, patiently waiting for us to accept his offer to come find us and help us get back on track. As long as we are on this earth there are going to be things we don’t know (right now one of those things for you may be how in the world someone could be this directionally challenged). Thankfully, God never loses His bearings.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.” Proverbs 3:5-12 (MSG)

2 thoughts on “When I Drove To China By Accident

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