Part 1

A month ago I used my phone’s GPS for just the second time.

The daughter of my dearest friend was getting married and out of complete necessity, I was driving myself.  It was my first and only real ‘outing’ on my own in over two months, but one of those things I was going to push the limits on and get myself to – no matter what! Especially after my health had already meant missing the bridal shower.

I had used MapQuest the night before and printed out the directions.  As I headed out, I realized plugging the address in my GPS would probably be safer so each turn was dictated to me and I wasn’t glancing at my printed directions.

Since I used the same google account to look up the address both on my computer and on my phone, it pulled up the saved destination as soon as I began typing in the wedding venue.  I clicked on it and selected navigate.

I looked briefly at the first few steps, and thought it was a bit odd that they weren’t the same as my MapQuest directions, but chalked it up to having my starting point as my “current location,” which was actually the pharmacy down the street, not my home nearby.

My gut made me pause and wonder if that was a bad assumption, but knowing they both used the same ultimate destination, I figured it must just be taking me a different way.  I continued on, glad I once again knew the general area, as the GPS lady made appalling attempts at pronunciations of freeway exits and street names, wondering again how someone completely unfamiliar with the area would ever arrive at their intended destination.

Getting closer to the coast, I realized that where I was headed was not where it seemed the destination actually was when I had looked at the directions on the computer the night before.  When the GPS gave one last set of directions: “make a u-turn in 100 feet, and your destination will be on the right,” I knew something was wrong.

Pulling over to the first place I could safely stop, I compared my printed MapQuest directions with the phone GPS instructions.  Both showed the same end point, but they clearly were not in the same place.  How was that even possible?

Being wary after the earlier fiasco, I wasn’t about to trust it to navigate me to the wedding venue on a second attempt! Thankfully I had left ridiculously early and was able to call someone who knew the area well to help me figure out the best way to get back to a main road so I could pick up with my printed directions and hope to still make it to the wedding in time.

Having chosen to trust what seemed to be the more reliable adviser, the more trustworthy voice, I was steered in the wrong direction.

We are constantly bombarded by voices – those of people in our lives, the internal voices that play in our minds, and the voice of God.

When things are too crazy, the only voices I hear are the voices of fear and shame.  I stop being able to hear the voice of God, the voice of rest, the voice of hope and healing and restoration, the voice that gives new life to dry old bones.  And instead I hear the old song I’ve heard all my life: You’re not good enough.  You’re not good enough.

But that voice is a lie.  And it’s a terrible guide.  When I listen to it, I burn the candle at both ends and try to light the middle while I’m at it.  The voice of God invites us to full, whole living – to rest, to abundance, to enough.  To say no.  To say no more. To say I’m going to choose to live wholly and completely in the present, even though this ragged, run-down person I am right now is so far from perfect.

Bread & Wine, 169-170
Shauna Niequist

It can be so easy to listen to voices that lead us astray.  Sometimes those voices are well-intentioned and other times they disguise themselves as well-intentioned but operate with malicious intent.

Sometimes we’re thrown off course when we listen to or depend on an unreliable voice – whether that’s as a result of their speaking being unclear, or us simply following an inaccurate voice.

There are times we sense that the voice we’re about to follow or that we are hearing is misguiding us, yet we justify our decision to listen to it because the source is one we believe to be reliable.

Other times we are so bombarded with voices that it’s hard to discern the source of any voice and we unintentionally follow a voice leading us astray.

When there are voices screaming at us from every direction, noise cluttering our ability to hear, and voices misguiding us and steering us the wrong direction, it becomes even more important to stop, find a quiet place, and seek out the voice of our Shepherd.

We need to be still and listen to the Voice of Truth, gain our identity and direction from Him.

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of Truth says, “This is for My glory.”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
the Voice of Truth