I knew where I was going. I had been there once before, months ago. When I left my office on that steamy Friday during my lunch break to make a quick trip to my friend’s office, I knew it would be easy to find. It was her birthday and I wanted to surprise her by dropping off her gift at work.
I mentally mapped out my route. I would turn right at the gas station and then take an immediate left into her building which had a beautiful, red brick wall. I got to the gas station within 10 minutes, relieved that midday traffic hadn’t started to pile up yet. Then I saw it.
There was no right turn at the gas station. Where the right turn should have been was a household supply store and an entrance into a mall. Huh? This made no sense. How could a road just disappear and be replaced with buildings? Most people at this point would have used GPS or a map app on their phone. But the problem was I had a conspiracy theorist’s aversion to having my location and movements fed into a database somewhere and paranoia about loss of privacy.
I couldn’t call my friend, as that would tip her off that I was coming. I remembered the general number for my friend’s office, dialled it on my cell and when the receptionist answered I told her my dilemma and my location. I had parked in the parking lot of the supply store.
“No problem,” she said, “Just get back to the main road and take the first left after the gas station.”
“You mean right, don’t you?” That was what I remembered from last time.
I was uneasy. Left didn’t make sense. I hesitated. She, understandably, became annoyed at my resistance. We were at a stalemate. Finally, she said: “I don’t know what else to tell you.”
“Ok. Ok.” I said finally.
I gave in. I could either trust her or stay lost. Clearly, the right turn would, once again, lead be nowhere.
So despite my instincts, I turned left at the gas station, then followed the directions as she gave them to me on the phone. I then drove into a narrow lane lined by squat, stone buildings and then took a right. Almost magically there was her office on the right.
There was the lovely red wall. I slowly realised what had happened. The last time I came I had taken another road. A road that was right next to, and parallel to, the one I took this time. One that also had a gas station. On Friday, I was on the wrong road, at the wrong gas station, not knowing where I was.
I thought about how sure I had been that I was on the right road. I was positive. I would have been looking for that right turn forever if I didn’t come to the realisation that what I thought I knew must be wrong and I was totally lost.
Getting Lost in Life
We all feel overwhelmed at times. Other times, we believe we have it all together. After all, we’re adults. And a hallmark of adulthood is being independent. Being able to autonomously act. We make choices about what we do and where we’re going. We use the facts available to us and our best judgement in making small and big decisions.
How do I handle this file at work? How will I deal with this difficult co-worker? How do I address this problem with my child or spouse? How do I let this relative or friend know how I feel about what they did or didn’t do? The things we have to make decisions on are endless.
Sometimes we get it wrong. And sometimes we just don’t know what to do. What worked last time, doesn’t work this time and before we know it, we are lost. We can no longer trust our knowledge or experience. In unfamiliar territory, we keep looking for a right turn that doesn’t exist.
The Bible (at Luke Chapter 15 verses 3 to 7) uses the metaphor of Jesus as a shepherd tending sheep and when one gets lost, he leaves the 99 sheep behind to seek out the missing one. He is that serious about finding lost people. Those who are Christians who have sinned or have turned away from Him and need to return to the fold; plus those who have never been a part of his flock.
There is no decision, small or large, that you need to feel lost or stuck on. There is no place in your life you need to feel lost.
We are like the people of Nineveh who God described as not knowing their right hand from their left (Jonah Chapter 4 verse 11). There’s a way that seems right to us, but in the end leads to destruction (Proverbs Chapter 14 verse 12)
It starts by just recognising that you are lost. Admitting that you need Jesus and that He is the only one who can help you. Ask him to show you his paths (Psalm Chapter 25 verses 4-5).
The next key is to listen to his voice as he guides you, follow his directions despite what you may think is best (Isaiah Chapter 30 verse 21):
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'."
Then you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. This year, she is committed to believing for bigger things. She was the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers winner in the young writer program. The young writer program is coordinated by Press Service International (PSI) in conjunction with Christian Today with over 80 young writers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
Sharma Taylor previous articles may be viewed at:
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.