(“Thoughts I Want To Leave Behind” is a collection of thoughts and impressions I want to leave behind as I begin to make my final pastoral transition.)
#24 Know Your Location
Earlier this week, I was following a drunk driver. He was all over the road. One moment he would cross the centerline and in another moment he would be driving in the opposite lane. I called 911 and gave the vehicle description and direction of travel. As I talked with the dispatcher, I was trying to read the passing street signs to let her know where I was so the responding officers would know my location. I would end up following this man for 30 minutes because officers were tied up on other calls and could not break free. I prayed as I drove that no one would be hurt. Eventually the man pulled off the road and stopped. I continued on glad he was no longer a threat to anyone. I rediscovered something during those 30 minutes tailing that drunk driver that I had not experienced in years.
When I was a rookie cop my first few weeks of training made me feel like an alien living in a world I never knew existed. I had to learn how to live and survive in a hostile environment. I was taught survival skills that would let me go home alive each night to my wife.
One of the first skills drilled into me was to always know my location. My training officer would get me talking and distracted not paying attention to where I was and then he would ask, “Tell me where you are!” The first few times I had no idea – I was completely lost. After this embarrassment repeatedly took place over the next several days, I finally trained myself to know my location at all times. I learned how vital it was to always to know my location and direction of travel in case we needed to call for help or came upon an accident. Calling for back up or calling for an ambulance and telling the dispatcher, “Send help. I don’t know where I am” is not a reassuring radio transmission.
Is there someone in your life who functions like a spiritual training officer who could ask you, “Where are you spiritually and what is your direction of travel?” How would you respond to that question? Deception in any form is dangerous. So is being naïve or ill-informed. Each of these conditions will reveal that you don’t know your true spiritual location and that lack of knowledge can put you and those around you in jeopardy.
Today, as you turn the corners of your life and travel through new relational neighborhoods, ask the Lord to show you where you are and your direction of travel. Only when you know your true location can you call for help.