Have you ever visited someplace and awakened in the middle of the night, when it was very dark, and wondered “Where am I?” I have slept many places and I usually do ok but if I am overtired or stressed I have been known to get disoriented. I usually lie there a long time blinking my eyes with my mind racing to put together the place and the circumstances that led to where I am. And then I remember how it is I got there.
Have you ever lived a period of your life making some crazy selfish choices and then, one day, you “wake up” to the consequences of your actions and wonder “Where am I and how did I get here?”
Sometimes it is plain ugly to come face to face with the destruction of our situation and even uglier to remember it was done by our own hand! How can this possibly be redeemed?
There are several ways to respond. Here are a few options with varying degrees of success:
- Abruptly change course and run as fast as you can. Occasionally there are still some things that might hang onto you but breaking free and high-tailing it out of there are actually pretty good moves depending on the situation.
- Accept your penalties and wallow in self-pity and self-deprecation. This is an easy way to drive people away from you. If you want to be lonely, chart this course.
- Try to hide your past so that no one knows how stupid or misled you were. Spend a lifetime hiding your embarrassing actions. Pretend you have never done them. Criticize others who have made the same mistake so others wouldn’t ever suspect you yourself have done such a thing. Not recommended.
- Study your past ad nauseum (to a ridiculous degree) so you cannot see anything past yesterday. In theory, this plan has some merit. It is a wise move to avoid making the same mistake twice. But if you keep looking in the rearview mirror you can’t see where you are going if you are trying to move forward!
- Take an honest assessment. Admit your failures. Ask God for forgiveness. Ask God for His help in putting the pieces back together. There may be a difficult lifetime of consequences for a single selfish act but it is an important and God-sized work that something begun in selfishness be transformed and redeemed into a blessing. Only God can do that. He has done it for me and He can do it for you!
As we all grow toward maturity in Christ we are hopefully less impulsive and much more attuned to following God’s lead the first time. Then when we wake up and wonder “Where am I?” We can remember “Oh yes, I am right where He wants me to be!”