April 10, 2015 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"Recalculating Our Routes"I recently returned from a two-week vacation in Gruene, Texas, a small, quaint town located in a beautiful part of Texas known as the Hill Country, halfway between Austin and San Antonio. There are many things that make Greune special, including the Gruene Dance Hall, one of the most iconic places I have ever had the pleasure of listening to live music. Also special is the Guadalupe River, which flows through Gruene and is listed as at one of the top trout fishing rivers in America. The opportunity to fly fish on the Guadalupe River, and the nearby San Marcos River, and then be able to go out to listen to live music were two of the main reasons we traveled to Gruene.
My wife and I decided to turn this vacation into a road trip, choosing to drive the 2600 mile round trip rather than fly. When we have the time we enjoy driving as it allows us to take in some of the side roads along the way and to explore some lesser-known towns, which gives us the chance to experience the local flavor of different parts of our beautiful country. We also like to use our time in the car to listen to local radio stations, as well as audio books. This time we thoroughly enjoyed an audio version of Harvard Professor Robert Putnam's new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Watch for an column on this though provoking book in the near future.
We were grateful on this road trip for the navigational software on our phones that made exploring the side roads so much easier, remembering that the last time we took a major road trip we had used a map! The navigational software gave us the confidence to take "the road less traveled" on occasion, and prevented us from getting lost (most of the time). One of my favorite features of the navigational software is that whenever the driver makes a wrong turn, a voice speaks, reassuring the driver that it is "recalculating a new route." Moments later, order is restored and the software spells out an alternative route to get to the desired destination. This feature helped us on numerous occasions.
Every time I heard the calm voice from our navigational software tell us that it was "recalculating a new route" when it realized we were heading in the wrong direction, I could not help but think of what I frequently hear people say when I facilitate wellness groups for Living Compass. In our wellness groups, it is common to hear a participant say, "I feel like that in this particular aspect of my life, I am not heading in the right direction. It's like there's this voice in my head that is telling me to change directions, possibly even to make a complete U-turn." The particular area of their life that they are referring could be any area of wellness--spiritual, relational, vocational, physical, emotional, or financial.
In fact, one of the reasons we named our wellness program Living Compass is because we believe that there is a living compass, a living navigational system that operates within all of us. It is that voice, that whisper, that we hear when our lives are heading down a road that does lead us to our desired destination. . That voice lets us know that we are off track, and if we are willing to really listen, that same voice can help us to recalculate our route and help us to get where it is we really want to go.
I personally believe that this internal navigational system, that small whisper within us, is a gift from the Divine, guiding us toward an abundant life. I am practicing trusting that voice more and more in my life, and I find that one of the gifts of listening to and trusting that voice is that it gives me more freedom to explore some less traveled roads. It allows me to explore some new opportunities with the confidence that if I do make a wrong turn here or there, there will be a calm, reassuring voice that gently lets me know that it is busy recalculating my route and then offering me a new way forward, much as the software did for my wife and I on our journey recently.
I believe it is wise for all of us to keep our hearts and souls open to this small voice within us, which may be beckoning us to make new healthy, life-giving choices. As you listen carefully to your internal navigational system what new opportunities, created by a change in course, might it be suggesting for you?
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