Where is that hotel? I asked myself with a sense of frustration that was becoming greater and greater. It was in Tampa last week and I was trying to find the place where I was to spend the night. I had gone on the Internet and gotten exact driving directions from where I was to where I was going to stay. The directions didn’t seem hard to follow when I first read them, but now I was wondering if they were even correct.
“I think I’m heading north,” I thought to myself. I’ve always been directionally challenged and have, in fact, sometimes told those who give me directions, “I don’t speak compass.” Left or right, I understand. Otherwise, it’s a gamble.
I drove down the road for a mile, then turned around and came back to where I had begun on that same road. I studied the printed directions again, carefully looking at street names and highway numbers. I looked along the roadside for a sign. “Yes, I’m on the right road,” I thought. “But where’s my turn???” This routine was repeated several times, each time with a growing sense of anxiety over finding my way through this maze.
Suddenly I glanced up, away from the road signs I had been carefully watching and I saw it. The hotel was right there – right in front of me. Courtyard By Marriott the sign affixed to the tall building read. Suddenly I felt foolish. I had driven past this building several times. There it was, in plain view, but I hadn’t seen it. I was too busy studying the written instructions and watching for signs to see the obvious.
That’s how many of us approach our spiritual lives. We read the Bible daily. We are careful about the road we travel. We’re intently focused on making the right turns, reading the signs, staying off the wrong road. After all, we want to see God’s presence in our lives. We don’t want to miss Him. So we become analytical, calculated, cautious, and, meanwhile, grow internally more and more tense by the minute.
Does this describe your spiritual journey? It certainly has characterized mine at times. Just like I stopped enjoying the beautiful Florida sun and the sights of spring because of my exaggerated focus on making the right turns, there have been times when I’ve missed intimacy with the Divine Lover who stands right before me. I’ve been so absorbed with my efforts to stay on the right road and make the right turns in life that I’ve failed to enjoy the journey.
What’s the answer? Relax. Trust that you will get to where God has you going. Stop being so tense about the journey and enjoy the “Sonlight” along the way. Remember, we have a Guide inside us who promised to abide with us always. So lighten up. Let the wind blow your hair, the sun shine down on your face and enjoy smelling the flowers. When you do, you’ll discover that what you’ve been looking for has been right there with you all the time.