Have you ever gotten lost, thrown up your hands, and wondered aloud, “Where in the world am I?” Many people have discovered the wonders of a Global Positioning System, or GPS. Using a system of twenty-four satellites, the GPS triangulates a handheld device to this satellite system and shows you exactly where in the world you are. It’s pretty handy.
The GPS was initially set up for military use, but after the tragic downing of a commercial jetliner in 1983, President Ronald Reagan opened it up for public, commercial use. Now you can can buy a small device with a screen, or even download an app on your phone, that will give you precise directions to anywhere in the world. You can even link the device to your computer with Google Earth and have actual pictures as you drive of where you’re going.
In my line of work, it’s amazing how many people don’t know exactly where they are, metaphorically speaking. It’s impossible for them to get where they’re going, because they have no real inkling of where they are in the first place. They need, for their personal, emotional, and spiritual lives, a way to navigate. Now, a GPS is relatively new marvel; God has been providing this service to people for millennia. God, in some ways, is like a spiritual GPS. He knows how to help you get from where you are to where you should be. If you need help navigating your way to happiness, don’t leave home without your spiritual GPS. Oh, but be careful how you use it.
I’ve known of several people over the course of my professional career who wanted to treat God just like a GPS unit. If I’m honest, I have to admit that I’ve done so myself. I want God, like a GPS unit, to tell me how to get to my desired destination. I’ve gotten myself lost, in a mess, and realized I needed help to find my way out. So I called out to God — as my spiritual GPS — and asked Him to help me get to where I really wanted to go. Of course, I didn’t ask Him if my intended destination was any better than my current one.
I didn’t really want His opinion; I just wanted His help and divine power to get me out of my jam. I just wanted to be able to input my own data and with His help arrive at my chosen destination. It’s somewhat akin to the God-as-Santa-Claus syndrome. All I wanted to do was tell Him what I wanted and for Him to miraculously provide it. I wanted His provision, not His perspective. This is God as device not deity, as servant not sovereign. This puts me firmly in control, and then I wonder why things don’t turn out and I’m not very happy.
In the depths of my despair and need, I call out to God, delineating in detail the best way to solve my problem, and then I wonder why God and His (my) solutions don’t appear as a genie from a bottle. This isn’t spirituality; it’s fantasy. It’s not biblical; it’s delusional, to say nothing of disrespectful, disobedient, and rebellious. God is not really just a spiritual GPS device. It’s not His job to get my out of my messes. He can and will because He loves me, but He was not created for me. I was created for Him.
In the powerful words of Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life, it’s not about me. In the same way, it’s not about you. When God is truly your spiritual navigator, you may drive the car, but He is in charge of the direction you go. It’s your job to follow His lead, even if it’s a direction you’re not thrilled to be taking. With God as your spiritual navigator, it’s not about you. Instead, you need to give up control, listen to God, do what He tells you, and trust Him to make it all come out okay in the end.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.