I have a friend who hates the paved roads in preserved wilderness areas. He hates the cleared parking lots with their convenient vending machines and clean bathrooms with running water. He can’t stand that you can drive your air conditioned car right into that parking lot and read a sign that encourages you to download an app that will guide you through that wilderness. Even if the app doesn’t work, there is a cleared trail ahead with so many signs on it that you can’t get lost, even if you tried. The parks themselves advertise on the internet and invite you to “experience” the last great frontier of wooded America. This friend has been backpacking and exploring American wilderness for over forty years. He purposely selects areas where there is NO assistance. Areas that he is NOT likely to be told where to go or what to do or be provided any comfort. To him, his way of exploring is really exploring. The other version is simply observing.
When I’m conflicted, thinking about my life’s journey ahead, my frustration is always that I can’t tell which way to go and that there is no clear guidance for what I should do next. If somehow I just had a clear sign from God what the course is, I’d get on it and stay on it. I am a hard worker, and, given the right instruction, I relish in performing a task to completion. But when I am left unguided, I fear I am going to only waste time wandering aimlessly.
Since it seems like I am always at some crossroads in life, I have become drawn to doing prep work. Drawn to self-help and how-to style information. I want to increase my odds of success by knowing ahead of time what I will do.
Maybe I should take a page out of my friends book. While he gathers a lot of information too, for him, moving forward without specific guidance is the essence of exploration. Following the traveled path is merely a cheat-sheet for the test. You’ll get from A to B, but the experience will not be wholly yours.
I complain that God doesn’t tell me what to do. He doesn’t provide clear instruction on what career change or relationship modifications I should make. I gripe because my performance is not up to my own expectations and blame the fact that God didn’t lead me to the best decision. He just let me flounder.
WHAT BODHI THINKS
Maybe, while standing at my next crossroads, I should consider exploring instead of floundering. Maybe I should venture out on my own with no signs, no comforts and no assurances. Walking ahead and exploring without any idea what the result will be. If you know, don’t tell me. This journey needs to be mine and mine alone.