Anybody who knows me well knows that one thing I constantly pray for is guidance. I'm well aware that in the grand scheme of things - you know, in the big picture of life - I have made some really bad personal decisions. It wasn't that God wasn't there, it's just that I wasn't listening very well, or more accurately, chose not to listen. So I'm trying to do a better job at paying attention to that divine voice in my head that tells me what's right and wrong, the one that points me in the right direction. And when I pay attention, that voice is more than just a thought in my head... it's a feeling. And I'm pretty well in tune with my feelings.
But there are other kinds of guidance available these days. And being such a big fan of a "voice" giving me direction, I actually purchased one at Walmart before I left for my trip to Dallas last weekend.
I bought a GPS.
I've always been a good map reader; I'm the gal you want in the passenger seat when you're driving to a place you've never been. I'm typically a good navigator.
But the last time I was in Dallas back in February with my friend and co-worker, Betsy, our boss asked us to drive a Mercedes Benz back home for him (See http://linneafayard.blogspot.com/2009/02/fun-weekend.html) which had a built-in GPS in the dashboard. We got lost a couple of times relying on my map, but once we programmed that little gadget, we never failed to arrive at our destination unscathed. It was fantastic!
So I figured a GPS device would be a good purchase, especially with the responsibility of getting teenaged girls to and from cheer camp. Getting lost was not an option.
When programming my little gizmo, I had the choice of different voices to lead me to my destinations. The least annoying of all the voices was a female named Mandy. (The names are already programmed into the device. I didn't name her myself.) It took a while for me to get used to Mandy. She would sometimes be quiet for long periods if there were no upcoming turns, but then she'd scare the pants off me by practically yelling, "Right turn ahead!" or some other directive. It would freak me out a bit.
She'd also give me confusing directions, like "Stay left, then, take the next turn right."
This wasn't much fun when I was driving on the freeway in Dallas, where the craziest drivers this side of New York City reside. I don't drive slow, but these people were passing me like I was standing still. And all the while I'm trying to figure out what the heck Mandy is telling me to do and what lane I'm supposed to be in to "stay left, then take the next turn right."
But slowly, after several trips across town, I finally relaxed and began to get used to her instructions. And before long, I was breaking out into verses of Barry Manilow's old hit as we reached each destination.
"Oh Mandy... well you came and you gave without taking. And I need you today, Oh Mandy!"
(Yes, I am embarrassed I know the words to that song. Don't make fun.)
Each time I broke into song my car buddy, Tamam, would laugh. It sort of became a ritual, as did actually arriving at the proper destination. There's just something wonderful about listening to directions that lead you to the exact place you're supposed to be.
God's voice isn't as loud as Mandy's, but it will get you where you need to go as long as you're paying attention. And just like Mandy, if you take a wrong turn, God will recalculate your route and get you back on the right track. All it takes is the ability to relax and rely on the voice. You may not understand why you're supposed to go that particular direction, but having a little faith will get you where you need to be every time.