Gilland: Learn to avoid missed turns

I recently read an account of a conversation between Scottish pastor Alistair Begg and his wife. They were having a nice talk as they drove on an interstate.

Suddenly, Alistair proclaimed, “Look—the sun is setting in the wrong direction!”

It took a moment for them to realize what he just said, but they quickly adjusted that possibility to another scenario that was much more likely. Sure enough, several miles back, they missed a turn, and it was they who were heading in the wrong direction.

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Sometimes such life events wake us up to things that are going on right in front of us…but like this couple, we are lost in another conversation and we miss a turn.

In some instances, we know it immediately, and we begin to look for an off-ramp that will take us to a U-turn. Other times, we are not so fortunate, and the time lost or price to be paid can be great.

It takes vigilance and care to ensure that we don’t drift in any aspect of our lives. Without that watchful eye, it happens much more easily than we want to admit.

How can we avoid such pitfalls and missed turns? I certainly don’t have the ability to avoid mistakes altogether, but I do believe that we can take steps to minimize these errors.

First, start every day off with acknowledging our need for God’s help for that new day. Our need for dependence upon the Lord is always greater than we imagine. Asking Him for guidance and thanking Him for a new day of opportunity will tune our hearts toward Him and His will.

I really appreciate what I heard to be a habit for Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher. He made it his aim to glance toward God first thing in the mornings, before he ever looked at another set of eyes. In this day and age, it is all too easy to grab our phones off the nightstand and start checking for emails or texts before we ever think to utter a prayer of thanks for a new day.

Second, make it a point to rehearse what your core values are, and whether or not your daily activities are lining up in your efforts toward your goals. Drifting off course can happen quickly if we take our eyes off the prize.

Next, ask God for grace to be humble when we do miss a turn. Since we are all human, we will miss a few. Humility is critical to a happy life. We should be much more amazed when we do something completely right than we are when we miss an important detail.

Finally, and so important during this Thanksgiving season, be grateful for the many blessings in our lives, and work to never take them for granted. Such thankfulness for daily provision will keep us smiling, and our eyes will be brighter, giving us that extra edge to better negotiate the turns that are coming that day.

How nice it is to have such structures in life that we can count on—the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west. Seasons will come, and they will go. And God will always be faithful. Always.

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