I travel alot for my job. One of my trips took me to the Philadelphia area. While I was there, my boss gave me an additional task–to drop off his Christmas letters to the typing agency that addresses and sends everything out.
The agency wasn’t very far from where I was staying, so I figured it would be a short task one of my free mornings. I set out in good spirits with my google map directions.
However, shortly after starting out on my drive, I realized the exact location hadn’t gotten into the computer, so it was just sending me to a general spot on Street Road (yes, that’s the actual name of the Road, I kid you not), instead of the exact location of the typing agency.
The address I was going to was 1422 W. Street Road. I turned to go west but noticed the numbers were going down, not up, so despite my natural logic, I turned around, to go east. The numbers in fact started to go up, but when I reached where 1422 should be there was a field, so I turned around again, totally confused and stopped in a parking lot to call the agency to get directions.
She told me, “You need to go west, and keep going, you’ll go for quite awhile, you’ll pass a shopping center and a golf course. Then you’ll need to make a sharp left turn, since we’re on the left side of the road. It might just be easier to go up to the light and turn left down that road, and then turn around and make a right back on to Street.”
Ok, I got all that, and started out west. And, just like before the numbers started to get smaller, but then after while, again started to go up. I passed the shopping center, and the golf course, and was watching for 1422–and what I had pictured a typing/printing agency to look like (a big brick building), and maybe even a sign for the company. I didn’t see any of that, so kept going.
I should’ve listened to the lady, because I eventually got to the 2200s and had to turn around. I was again watching for 1422 and this brick building, but again didn’t see it. I got to the golf course and knew I’d gone to far. Had to turn around again. This time I turned left right after the golf course, but was only at 1412. So went a little farther and made the next turn around.
I never saw 1422, or the brick building or the sign for the company, but I knew I had to be close at 1412, so I pulled into their parking lot and again called the agency.
She said, we’re right next door! I’ll come outside and wave to you. Sure enough, there it was 1422. But not what I had envisioned–it was a house. It was a small, two person operation that they did out of their home. And there was no big sign outside advertising, they just get their business from people they know I guess.
So I’m sure you’re thinking, great story Tricia, what does this have to do with discernment? Well, I’ll tell you.
In reflecting on the ridiculousness of this situation, I realized there are quite a few parallels to discernment in this situation:
I’m going toward a destination (God’s will) that I only have general directions to (no specific location). I think I know where I’m going and I can do it on my own, and I end up getting lost. First of all, I am not patient enough while waiting on God’s will (I turn too early). Once I realize I’m hopelessly lost, I come to my senses and I call for help and get some specifics (the stores and golf courses, and even sometimes where to turn) yet I end up so consumed by my vision for it all that I end up missing it all, the God moments go right on by.
I had this vision of a big company sign and big brick building–I thought that was where I was going, but in all reality I couldn’t find it because it didn’t exist.
Sometimes we have this specific idea of what we think our call is or what God wants us to do and get frustrated or discouraged because we can’t find it, or it doesn’t work out, when in all reality, God’s will for us is something totally different.
If we’d just stop trying to do it ourselves and thinking we had all the answers, then we’d be able to let God in, and let Him show us HIS vision for our lives.
And once we stop looking for only big signs, we’ll be able to see the little ways (the house that blends in) that God is loving us and leading us, and calling us.
May your Advent be full of much peace and time to seek the Lord!