Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What To Do When You Get Lost

A few months ago I went for a run and got lost. 

Just to clarify, I was away from home, at a writer's getaway. I decided to go for an early morning jog on the jogger/nature trail at the resort. It was relatively short--something like 1.2 miles, along the golf course. 

I asked the person at the front desk how to get there, and she told me go here, then turn there and it's behind something or other. I don't do well with auditory directions. I don't know why I bothered to ask, because I didn't follow her directions anyway. Once I saw the golf course with a trail beside it, I figured I'd found my destination.

I kept losing the trail, and it wasn't clearly marked. It got frustrating when I ended up in a pocket with no apparent continuation, so I backtracked. My app told me I'd already run 1.5 miles--longer than the trail--and it appeared that I was only about halfway through. 

Once I saw buildings, I decided I may as well head for those and get back, even though I had to go off the trail and through some underbrush. Some nature trail, I thought. I guess it's not used much.

I got to the buildings and out in the road when I realized I was not in Kansas anymore. These weren't my buildings, and this wasn't my resort. They were condos, part of the same resort--just next door to ours. I was perplexed. How did I get here?

Standing in front of what appeared to be a pricey--and, at the hour--closed--spa, I looked to my left. A "No Exit" sign boldly announced itself before an empty parking lot. To my right were condos upon condos.

What now? 

I was completely disoriented, and no one was around to ask for help. I had no idea where I was or how to get back. Turning back onto the dead-end trail wasn't a viable option at this point. On top of that, I still had to shower and get to my morning class on time!

I pulled out the phone to find my location on the app (thank God I had my phone!), and that didn't really help too much. I still couldn't figure out where I was and how to get back.

Suddenly it dawned on me that I was holding my phone, which was also useful for other things, like making phone calls and looking up phone numbers. Using those detective skills, I called the front desk of the resort and explained my dilemma. 

"Oh, just walk down the road till you get to Rt. 9, then turn left," she said.

"Well, I'm looking at the end of the road and it says, "No exit."

"The other way," she very kindly said.

Riiiiiight. I knew that.

"Is there a safer way than running or walking on Rt. 9?" I asked. 

"You can walk down the hill until you see the basketball courts behind building (whatever it was) then cut through and you'll be back on our property."

Help was only a phone call away.

I followed those directions because I was lost and my incentive for getting "home" was great--which proved that my auditory skills are sharper than I claim them to be. Perhaps I use that as an excuse...hmmmmm....

Oh, and behind the basketball courts was a huge sign with a trail map for the jogging/nature trail, complete with markings. I'd started at the end and went the wrong way. Apparently, it sees heavier use than I'd thought.

Okay, that was a longer story than necessary, but dear reader, you know that I just love to include the details in my stories. 

How often do we half listen to directions? Half listen to God? Yeah, I sort of heard you God, but I'm good. I see the path. I've got this one. This is what you said, right? Cool, let's go. 

We sort of listen to God and sort of listen to our own desires.

Then we start losing the trail. We don't see the trail markings. We end up in a pocket with no way out. We backtrack. We scurry through the underbrush, trying to find our way out. We won't admit that we're lost until we become so disoriented that we think the end of the road is the beginning. It's clear to everyone else that if we just go the other way, we'll find our way back, but somehow, that thought doesn't even occur to us because we're so focused on the fact that we're lost. And we don't quite know how that happened.

Then we panic. We have so much to do, and we have deadlines. We exhaust our excuses and our own devices. Then we realize that the very thing we've been using to navigate our way out (usually our brain) can be used to call for help.

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. 
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 
Psalm 18:6

It is said that hindsight is 20/20. "If I only knew then what I know now." So true. When we've exhausted all our resources, and we finally give up and admit that we've lost our way, we listen intently to the directions that we previously blew off in our arrogance, pride, or apathy because we now have a vested interest. A greater incentive. A valid reason.

And too often, we justify our behavior with blame--

Oh, those directions weren't good. 

I don't do well with auditory directions. 
The path wasn't clearly marked. 
It was her fault.

Instead of owning up.

The fact was, I didn't listen. I thought I already knew. But if I did, then why did I even ask? If I had to ask, that means I didn't already know. 

Pride got me lost. 

Humility got me home.

That's how it works with God too.

Don't wait until you're lost to call out for help. But just in case you do, always carry your phone in your pocket and His Word in your heart.

Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

You make known to me the path of life;
at your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Blessings Along the Path,


I apolgize for the wacky fonts all over the place in this blog. I was completely unable to change font size and style. It did what it wanted. It looks horrible and I can't change it. So sorry if it was difficult to read. As a recovering perfectionist, it really irritates me.

Sharing this blog with some of these lovelies  


  1. As usual, it's a joy to visit your place, Mary! I loved meandering with you on this "wild goose chase" because it teaches us all so much about the human condition. In fact, I love your bottom line - "Pride got me lost. Humility got me home." So true in all areas of our lives--not just in the properties next to ours. ;) Love your insight my friend, but I don't ever want to follow you to a new destination! Lol!

    1. I'm actually pretty good not getting lost---typically! It's pride. One time I even said that I prided myself on my sense of direction and I got so lost coming home from a place I frequented--I really should have known the way, but got all discombobulated---and I had to laugh--I said, "Ok, God, I get the lesson. Can you please help me get home now?" (This was before gps and cell phones).

  2. What is it about golf course paths? I've had an experience finding them bewildering as well! Praise the Lord that He is only a prayer away and that He knows our path even when we don't. Happy to be visiting you today from Coffee for Your Heart. <3

    1. I guess because people generally go to golf courses to golf, not hike or jog. Thanks for visiting, Lisa.

  3. I think I'm like that in a way. I don't sometimes remember the direction when it's just dictated to me. :P

    That looks like a good place to get lost in though.

    Beautiful reflections as always.

    1. Thank you Lux. As always, Thanks for visiting

    2. Always my pleasure reading your posts.

  4. Mary, I totally get you. Been there, done that. I look to others for direction before calling out to God but I'm learning and God is good to show me mercy. Loved your post here today, just shared it on Twitter. Have a beautiful weekend.

  5. Oh, how that pride has gotten me so very lost more than once! Thank the Lord, humility has returned me to home ... more than once as well. I was right with you all the way as I have done things in my own strength, my own will, my own...EVERYTHING! Thanks for being so open and honest, Mary. And for bringing me back to the Lord.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  6. Amen! What a great analogy, Mary! We sort of listen and sort of do our own thing and end up lost. I can't tell you many times I would like to take back the sort of doing my own thing part of the equation. Thanks for the bless of this word of wisdom! Blessings my friend!

  7. Great advice. I'm so good at not listening fully to God's directions (or verbal directions). Always take my phone and always have prayer so I can call out and know he will answer.

  8. "We sort of listen to God and sort of listen to our own desires." - true, isn't it? We think we know better than God! What a crazy thought! And then we wonder why we are 'lost'...
    Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.