Your First Steps Back Are the Hardest

Back in the good old days we didn’t need a GPS to find directions. We had a female-related-to-us-by- marriage sitting in the right front seat who said often, “At the next intersection, stop and ask directions. At the next intersection stop and ask directions.”

To which we, sure-of-ourselves-males, would reply, “I don’t need to ask. It’s just right up here, I’m certain.”

Thirty minutes later we would see a sign pointing in the opposite direction that informing us that the place we wanted to go was in the other direction from that which we had been traveling.

A good indicator of this was the cows and goats grazing next to the dirt path our car was traveling on.

Then we always had a choice. It’s miserable to turn around and retrace your steps admitting defeat, and there’s that other little path that leads off to the left through the woods and you’re sure that it goes back to the main road–just up there a bit.

Or we can turn around and go back to the place where we got lost at first while the female-that-is-related-to-you-by-marriage says nothing, but wears one of those, “I told you to ask!”- looks that can be seen a mile away.

It’s frustrating and time-consuming (and humiliating) to retrace your steps, but often it saves more time than meandering through assorted unknown paths, sure that one of them will get you where you want to go. They seldom do.

Those days are gone, though. Now you have your GPS and the female-related-to-you-by-marriage can argue with it. (My GPS is named “Mabel” and sometimes I call her “Gertrude.” What is the name of yours?)

Are You Stuck In a Cow Pasture In Your Life?

I’m not the only one who has had this problem. Often though, it’s not a problem of GPS. It’s a problem of life direction.

We may find ourselves numb and unresponsive in our relationship with God, for example.

This often happens when we get so busy living that we forget to regularly renew our closeness to Him. Insensitivity comes because hard times have mashed us flat and pain has anesthetized all other senses.

Or  another problem that causes directional confusion is sin … yep, those acts that we know displease Him but seem so right at the moment can render us insensitive to His presence.

Or more often, sin makes us avoid His presence because we’re not comfortable there anymore. We find ourselves in a dead end with no place to go.

“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Ps. 85: 6, NIV)

Other people have blundered into impossible situations by making bad choices. Often as a pastor I listen to people tell stories of wrong choices which lead to other wrong choices which lead to some impossible messes.

People want me to tell them an easy way to get out of their situation, maybe lay hands on them in the Name of the Lord and cast out their problem.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

So, what do you do? You can ask me 🙂

The Answer

Turn around and go back to the starting place. The starting place is Jesus and your obedient relationship to Him. The Bible calls it, “repentance,” and it means to turn from the direction you’re going to go in the opposite direction.

Watch out now. It’s hard at first.

When you’ve gotten yourself into a mess it’s often easier to keep blundering around, thinking the answer is just ahead than it is to change. Going back to the correct road is often very difficult at first but if you’re going to get your life on course you’ve got to soldier through the pain to get back to the right place.

It might take some time, some hurt and some tears to get things straightened out, but you’ve got to do it if you want the rest of your life to work.

Usually the answer is to make some hard—even painful—choices to go back to where they started messing up, put our faith in the Lord Jesus, and then start doing things right.

Relationships, business deals, acts that God told us not to do, and … well, add your mess. Turn around. Go back and start again, even if you have to shift into low gear and pull hard on the road back, you’ve got to get there.

“Love and Truth meet in the street,
Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!
Truth sprouts green from the ground,
Right Living pours down from the skies!
Oh yes! GOD gives Goodness and Beauty;
our land responds with Bounty and Blessing.
Right Living strides out before him,
and clears a path for his passage.”

(Psalms 85:10-13 The Message)

So, if you find yourself lost and in a mess, maybe you should listen and obey that voice You hear telling you to go back to the starting point. It may not be the-female-related-to-you-by-marriage or your GPS, Gertrude.

That voice may be the Lord Jesus.

Hmmm …
A visionary sees what shall be and wakes up to deal with what is. T. D. Jakes


“Don’t marry for money; you can borrow it cheaper.”
– Author Unknown

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
– Charles Dickens

Flickr, creative commons, Gordon Ednie Scratch your head at this stunning view; Annie Mole Curvy Tube Map 2 by Maxwell Roberts

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