Okay, you can think bad of me if you want but this is just the way it is. Doris drives everywhere we go. And I sleep. Some of you see the time imprint on these blogs I write, 2:30am, 4am, and you ask, “When do you sleep?” Well, there’s the answer. I sleep in the car while Doris is driving.
Before you get too critical you need to know that she likes to drive, and I like to sleep, so I see that as a good partnership. Also, my friends that have had the privilege of riding with me while I drive will understand, she likes to live, and that doesn’t always seem likely when I am driving. So, we have this forty year arrangement, she drives wherever we go and I sleep.
It is a good plan but it is not entirely without fault. Sometimes on long trips, Doris will get tired. In that case I usually drive AND sleep. Which takes us back to the previous paragraph. Another issue is that while she likes to drive she is somewhat directionally challenged. For Doris, the compass is a spaghetti plate of squiggly lines, and Siri is just a voice, droning in the background that tries to interrupt her music, which she does not let happen. The end result is that I get good rest and we have seen some interesting places that are pretty much in the opposite direction from where we are headed.
This afternoon was a case in point. We spoke this weekend at a wonderful church in Sevierville, TN, the Sevierville Christian Center. After the morning service we went to lunch with Pastor James and Paula Spicer. They are really neat people. The food was incredible. The conversation was fun. About 2pm they dropped us off at the church, Doris and I got in the car, her in the driver’s seat and me in the sleeper’s seat, and we headed back to Murfreesboro. Now, just a word for you who do not know Tennessee geography, Sevierville is in the Smoky Mountains, about as far east as you can go and still be in the Volunteer State. We live in Murfreesboro which is, you guessed it, WEST of Sevierville. To go east is to head for North Carolina, a state different from Tennessee.
Doris starts driving. I stay awake long enough to see the I-40 Interstate sign, and to helpfully say, “We get on I-40 to go home.” In her defense, I did not specify east or west. Needless to say, after a nice, albeit, brief nap. I awoke to hear Doris say, “Well, Asheville. I don’t remember coming through here on the way to Sevierville.” It was a great six-hour, (should have been three-hour,) nap and I am awake at 2:30am wondering what this has to do with What Jesus Said! Here’s what Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Three thoughts at 3am. (See what I did there.)
First, it is easy to get sidetracked. Let’s face it. There is enough stuff going on around us that it only takes a moment to get our minds off what God wants for us and begin heading down a wrong path. Worry, fear, hurt, anger, selfishness, loneliness, discouragement; all of those road signs are calling us away from the path that God has laid out for us. Those feelings and thoughts are real and understandable, but spend too much time looking at them and you’ll end up in North Carolina, or worse.
Which leads to the second thing, staying on the right road can be hard work. Jesus says it is a small gate and a narrow way and we have to “find it.” I usually don’t just stumble into a good relationship with the Father, and close walk with Christ. I have to focus on that, to think about it, to be intentional. My prayer time, my daily devotional, my quiet time with Him keeps me going the right direction but it doesn’t come naturally. I focus on the road.
Finally, there is help along the way. Big green highway signs that say things like, ASHEVILLE, NC BAD. MURFREESBORO, TN GOOD. Directional signs that say EAST WRONG, WEST RIGHT. (I’m not angry at Doris!) There is the still small voice of Siri in the background. There is even your snoring husband in the seat beside you. There is help. At the first hint that you are going the wrong way, stop and get help. Jesus also said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) If you will stop and listen, you will hear Him say, “This is the way. Walk this way.”
My pastor does as good a job as anyone I know teaching me how to protect my thought life and not get on the wrong road. This morning, while Doris and I were wandering the backroads of North Carolina, Pastor Eddie was speaking on that very thing. Here is a link to that. Take the time to listen to it sometime today. It is powerful. And it will get you back on the right road. http://familywc.com/sermons/help-me-i-am-thinking-crazy-stuff/?player=audio
And by the way, this Friday night at 6:30pm Simply Free begins. Pastor Eddie will be telling his story of God setting him free from depression and getting him back on the right path. I hope you will find your way here.