Have you ever stood in front of a large map at an outlet mall, amusement park, airport or other location? Most of the time, these kind of maps help you find your bearings with some type of marking to indicate your present location: YOU ARE HERE! As a matter of fact, unless these kind of maps have some type of “YOU ARE HERE” indicator, they can be less than helpful. You might be able to identify where you want to go (Under Armor, the roller coaster or Gate 27), but unless you know where you are, you may not know whether to go to your left or to your right. Knowing your present location is pretty important.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about our upcoming General Conference Sessions in July and our theme of Uncharted. We’re going to spend a fair amount of time this year looking forward, focusing on where we’re going and how we’re going to get there in a world where no maps exist. As I was reflecting on this recently, the image of the YOU ARE HERE mark came to mind. A critical piece of knowing where you’re going is understanding your present location.
In the coming weeks I intend to share a little more around this idea of where we are as a body of churches at this moment of our history. I think there are some important pieces to fully understand where we are right now.
This is the time of year when lots of folks assess their present reality as well as their plans for the year. Some determine that they weigh too much and commit to hit the gym again (at least for the first three weeks of the year). Others conclude that it’s time to deal with their debt and cut up the credit cards or declare a household spending freeze. Others may determine to get off their favorite drink and drain the bottles in the house. In all of these scenarios, there’s a sense of acknowledging the present reality and why it needs to change moving forward.
Where are you? Are you more spiritually healthy now than a year ago? Are you quicker to offer forgiveness? Are you more loving? Are you more able to extend grace? Are you more obedient to God’s Word? Are you more apt to recognize the voice of God and respond to Him? Do you have more redemptive relationships where God is using your life to share His love with someone else? Who’s investing in you and your walk with Jesus and in whom are you investing? Are you more prone to act justly, love mercy and walk humility?
It might be worth some of your time (and my time) to take a moment in the early stages of 2019 to take a look at things to find the marker that says YOU ARE HERE. Knowing where you are is a huge piece of knowing how to get to where you are supposed to go.
I believe that God wants to take each of us on a journey. Where are you? How does it help you understand the next step Jesus is asking you to take as you follow Him?