Saturday, April 21, 2018

Directionally Challenged?

I don't mind being directionally challenged when it comes to road travel, but I don't want to miss it when it comes to finding my way on the roads that really matter. On this week's podcast episode we did an exercise called spiritual mapping. 

"It's not what happens that determines your life future—it's what you DO about what happens. The same wind blows on us all—the difference in arrival is not the blowing of the wind but the set of the sail. If you wish to, it's possible to make the next three years better than the last three."— Jim Rohn

Spiritual mapping helps us correct the errors of the past and pick up new disciplines for the future.

I confess I'm directionally challenged. I sigh when my GPS tells me to head North West. I have no idea which way that is. I often still travel with a printed map. I have too much I want to accomplish to waste time getting off track.

Apparently, the armed forces take it rather seriously if you are directionally challenged. According to the Urban Dictionary, "One reason (aside from instilling discipline) that the armed forces emphasize close-order drill in the training of recruits is to weed out the directionally challenged as someone who is such will tend to do poorly on the battlefield and may even jeopardize the lives of his or her fellow soldiers, sailors, or fellow fliers."

How about you? 

Perhaps you're more like my husband who has a great sense of direction. When we're on our motorcycles I follow him because I trust him. However, one time he led us astray and to this day we aren't sure what happened. We ended up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania instead of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (about a 3-hour difference). Since he rarely ever leads us wrong we are still baffled as to what happened. If we could go back and figure out where we went wrong, I'm sure we would avoid that mistake the next time. Our first mistake was that we didn't have a printed map with us. 

So What is Spiritual Mapping?

Spiritual mapping involves listing significant events in your life that are of a spiritual nature. They can involve people, things, and places.  As you take note of pivotal moments, based on the various decades of your life; childhood, teens, college, 20's, 30's, 40's, etc., you can start to identify patterns. 

Why Does it Matter?

In my case, I can see some patterns that have become more distinct thanks to the mapping process. I knew they were there but they became even more apparent after further reflection.

For instance, I'm a perfectionist, but not in the typical sense. It shows up most in the way I think God should be intervening in my life. I think He should orchestrate a perfect life for me. The big Wizard of Oz in the sky. Just being honest! 

Since I've been learning that about myself, I have started to change my thinking about things that don't always go the way I hoped. My faith is based less and less on what I see that's visible and more in the One who seems invisible but is actually very present. I'm finding that as I grow older, I can look back and see where God really was working. 

That's the joy of mapping out the history of your life. It can improve your future because it keeps you from spinning your wheels by repeating the same mistakes over and over.

I live in a much better place these days as it relates to joy and peace. 
Less anxiety. 
Less fear. 
Deeper trust. 

I'm enjoying this new sense of direction and feel less directionally challenged spiritually.  

How about you? Here's an exercise to get you started:

1) Find a quiet place and carve out a couple of hours.
2) Take several blank sheets of paper.
3) Draw a timeline from 0 to your present age with space allowed for each decade.
4) Make notes in each decade listing significant events in your life as they come to mind.
5) Identify common denominators between the events.
6) If you want to, try it with a friend and let them help you observe patterns.
7) End with a time of prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to show you things you might be missing.

If you want to hear more, you can tune in to this week's podcast here. Episode # 42.