Monday, December 7, 2009


As you may (or may not) have guessed by the title of my blog, in transit, I was kind of hoping that I'd be able to tie some element of transition or transportation into all of my posts. To you it may seem lame, but I'm convinced that the successful blogs are the ones with themes. No one wants to read a blog that's about all kinds of random things that don't have anything to do with each other—unless of course, the theme of the blog is random things.

But my theme is transportation, not random stuff.

I chose transit for several reasons; mostly because I think I do my best contemplation when I'm travelingwhether I'm on the bus to school or in my car running errands around Raleigh. I like being mobile, going places, having a destination. No matter where I'm going, as I'm on my way there I frequently find myself mulling over many complexities of the universe—or sometimes I'm just praying that Nadine will get me where I'm trying to go. (Yes, I named my GPS after a character from Arthur; my car's name is D.W. the VW. If you've never seen Arthur, (a) you probably were one of those privileged children with cable growing up and (b) you missed out on all kinds of life-lessons like how to spell aardvark in a rap—A-A-R-D-VARK.)

I got Nadine from my parents for my birthday this year after several rather frightening instances in which I got very lost on my way up to Camp Willow Run in Littleton, NC. Not knowing where you are and being literally smack dab in the middle of nowhere is both humiliating and very scary. I don't think I've ever been so thankful for my cell phone. I guess my parents got tired of bailing me out of sketchy situations with MapQuested directions, so they bought me a Global Positioning System. Really it's probably one of the coolest inventions in the history of modern technology. I can hop into my car whenever I want, punch in an address and go there. I don't have the address? Not even an issue; I can type in the name of my destination and Nadine will find it for me. I want to know where the closest Starbucks is? I just ask Nadine, she'll tell me. I'm running low on gas? Nadine will find the closest gas station and tell me how to get there. With my handy little GPS, I have the freedom to go anywhere I want at any time I want. Honestly, I think one of the reasons I've spent so much money on gas this semester is because I have Nadine to rely on. If I want to go somewhere, I go.

Needless to say, I've started to depend on Nadine for everything. Last night I even used her to get to a friend's house in Cary that I've been to a million times—you know, just to make sure the way I've always gotten there is really the fastest way. (Surprise! It's not.)

There are times, however, that Nadine has failed me miserably. Most recently, I was supposed to pick up a few lovely young ladies from basketball practice and take them out to dinner. I told Nadine where they were practicing, New Community Church, and set off for a fun evening of hanging out and catching up. I arrived at the address Nadine gave me right on time, but there was a problem. There was nothing there. I mean, it wasn't like it was the wrong church or the church had moved; there wasn't even a turn off of Falls of Neuse Road where the church was supposed to be. I was lost and embarrassed, but after a few phone calls I managed to meet up with my girls.

Through this mini-ordeal that lasted a good 20 minutes, I realized something.
(I know you were wondering when I was going to make my point; I was too—I think I'll do it now.)

I can't depend on the outside world for guidance. I do it all the time, but no matter what or who I look to, I can never fully trust the direction I'm given. Gadgets and people are flawed—it's the curse of the fall (Romans 5:12). No one is perfect and anything that isn't God will fail you. When I look for help from other human beings crippled by sin, I have to expect that eventually I'll be misled, intentionally or not. The Lord is the only one I can always count on to guide my feet or, in this case, my tire treads.

Maybe even more importantly than telling me how to get where I'm headed, my Father will tell me where I need to go.

This semester I've found a new stress reliever; when I'm especially upset about something I get in my car and drive. I never thought that I'd ever admit to "going for a drive," but I've done it a couple of times since school started and it's a great way for me to compose myself, gather my thoughts, and talk to (and sometimes yell at) God without my roommates thinking I'm a crazy person.

About a month ago on the night of Leonid's meteor shower I had an "I'm going for a drive" moment. I pulled out of our parking lot with no idea where I was going. All I knew was that I was angry and hurting and that I had a few things to say to my God who claims to have a plan for my life. All of my plans had been turned upside down; why did He let this ending that I had been working towards disappear? I didn't understand it, so I drove. I thought that I might be able to find a place in Raleigh dark enough to watch some of the shower. I turned on Nadine, but she couldn't tell me how to get somewhere without knowing where I wanted to go. All she could do was take me home when I was ready to go back.

I had no clue where to go and Nadine was useless, so I drove around the greater Raleigh area for an hour without finding a single spot dark enough to pull over and look at the stars. I spent that whole hour wrestling with my anger and telling God what I was thinking. I cried and sang praises. I asked for wisdom that I don't deserve.

Much like the wrong direction situation, I realized something about the plan I have for my life.
(Yes, I'm about to make another point.)

I have no say in what my life will look like in 10 years, 5 years, or even tomorrow. God is providing my destination. I can plan all I want, but ultimately God will choose where he wants me to end up and he'll tell me how to get there. There are so many verses in the Bible that testify to the Lord's perfect plan for each of us and the fragility of my own plans, but the most fresh on my mind is James 4:13-17. Just like the terms and conditions of my phone bill, my plans are subject to change. If God gives me an opportunity to make much of Him, I must take it. If the Spirit leads me, I must follow. My life goals are dust if they are not saturated with the continual prayer that I am doing the will of God.

Ultimately it's Jesus who determines my destination because he began my journey. I was dead in my sin before his grace raised me to new life (Ephesians 2:1-5). That grace demands my allegiance, so my plan is to follow Jesus; He'll get me where I need to be.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.
Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
Psalm 119:105-112