“Follow the yellow brick road,” said the tiny man to the pretty young girl in the snazzy red pumps.
The girl looked puzzled.
“Follow the yellow brick road,” said a second tiny man to the girl who now looked like she was seeing double.
And as if she hadn’t heard it the first two times, a third tiny man jumped out from behind the girl’s flowing blue skirts, pointed his stubby finger over his shoulder, and shouted, “Follow the yellow brick road.”
The poor girl must have been deaf or directionally-challenged, because suddenly an entire chorus of little people broke out into a thundering and repetitious rendition of the same instructions.
And so began a journey to a new place.
I started teaching at a new yoga studio in Kissimmee this week and I’m happy to say it didn’t take a cast of singing midgets to make sure I was on the right path (thank you, God, for the GPS). But I did have problems when I left to go to a second appointment on the other side of town and had to travel on roads on which I was only half-familiar. The problem with being only half-familiar is you tend to be twice as stupid—I didn’t bother pulling out my GPS, so of course I got lost and ended up in Timbuktu (otherwise known as St. Cloud to an Orlando resident).
The road I was on came to an end and I had to turn either right or left, or go straight ahead into a lake. There were no cars behind me (that’s how far out in the boonies I was). My gut was telling me to turn left (“Follow the yellow brick road”) because it seemed to be the general direction I needed to go (north). I whipped out my GPS and let it take an eternity to figure out where I was. All the while, I’m glancing in the rearview mirror to make sure there wasn’t a mad trucker barreling down on me. When I glanced down at my GPS, the perky little voice of the device (which sounded remarkably Munchkin-like) piped up, “Turn right.”
Right? I thought. It’s telling me to go in the opposite direction of where I need to go?
Stupid GPS. I restarted the device, glancing behind me again and seeing a car coming up slowly in the distance.
“Come on, come on,” I said to the GPS with no ears. It came back to life—agonizingly slow—and I punched in my destination again.
“Turn right,” said the GPS in its sickly-sweet mechanical voice.
The car was pulling up behind me.
“Fine,” I said to no one and turned right.
The GPS was correct (this time) and the road looped around the way I had come and put me back on course. Once my nerves had settled a bit and I had decided not to throw my GPS out the window even if it wasn’t programmed to chime, “Told ya so”, I started thinking (I know that’s a dangerous thing for me to do when I’m driving, but what the hay).
I thought about the last few months when I’ve had to make some major life choices and changes. It hasn’t been scary; it’s been downright terrifying. Every single choice was just like what I had experienced at that intersection. I was in a place I had never seen before, never imagined I would ever be and I had to choose which way I was going to go. My instinct told me one way. It seemed logical. It made the most sense. But my road map was telling me to go another way, a way that seemed to take me in the opposite direction from my intended destination.
And just like I did at that intersection in Munchkinland—er, St. Cloud– I always seemed to glance over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching to see how completely lost I was. I didn’t want to look like an idiot—or a Florida tourist—even if I felt like one.
I’m sure you are smart enough to see my parallels here. How stupid would it have been of me to just plant myself in that intersection and not move? Not make a decision. Not turn right or left. I’d still be there and then everyone would know I was lost—or a tourist. What if I didn’t have a GPS? Isn’t some turn better than no turn.
I realized then how easy it is for me to do just that. To sit at the intersections of my life and not make a decision because I’m afraid of looking like a fool or I’m afraid where that decision will take me. If I don’t make a decision, at least I know where I am, right? Sometimes, I think I can be comfortable with some degree of lostness, but I’m not sure I can handle being more lost (like that makes any sense).
When it comes to going places I need to go but I’ve never been before, the temptation to not move can be even more overwhelming. Am I going to like where I am when I get there? Am I going to like who I am (I’m the knucklehead who got lost in the first place, remember)?
In the last few months, I’ve taken both directions when I’ve come to those crossroads in my life (not at one time of course since I haven’t figured out how to clone myself yet). Sure I’ve gotten more lost sometimes, but I always end up looping back around and traveling in the right direction. My GPS (God’s Plan of Success) is always right. And God knows I won’t always make the right or best decision the first time. But he’s God. He can work with a moving object. Guide it. Tweak it here and there. What he can’t do is work with an object or person that is too scared, too lazy, or too prideful to make a decision.
The best part of all of these wrong turns is that I’m learning from every choice I make. I’m believing that mistakes are not fatal (unless you drive into a lake). I’m getting my bearings quicker. I’m reading the road signs. And most importantly, I’m checking my GPS—God’s Word—instead of trusting that I know what I’m doing.
So with this blog, I’m personally declaring to the world—and I don’t care who knows anymore–that I am perpetually lost and I’m okay with it.
Anybody up for roadtrip?