Lost and Found
I can't stand it when I am driving or walking in a new city, and I have no idea where I am supposed to go.
I know what you might be thinking, "Well, Leon--why don't you just use your iPhone and tap into Google Maps or something? What are you a barbarian?"
See, here's the thing... sometimes even when you are using your smartphone to direct you, the smartphone could very well send you to a spot that is absolutely not where you wanted to go. Or if you are like me, you can't actually read the directions all that well, and you miss a turn or get turned around.
And then you're lost.
The key to becoming not lost is to first admit that you are lost. To do otherwise will almost assuredly result in you becoming more lost. Trust me on this, I have extensive experience in the latter.
Sometimes being able to stop, and acknowledge where you are, even if it means giving up your need for control, or your need to solve it all on your own is what we need most in order to find our way again.
I read this amazing (long) quote from the poet Padraig O'Tuama the other day, and it absolutely blew me away. He was connecting this idea of acknowledging where you are in the midst of your lostness in the midst of prayer:
In prayer, to begin where you are not is a poor beginning. To begin where you are may take courage, or compromise, or painful truth-telling. Whatever it takes, it’s wise to begin there. The only place to begin is where I am, and whether by desire or disaster, I am here. My being here is not dependent on my recognition of the fact. I am here anyway. But it might help if I could turn to look around.
There have been more than a few moments recently when I have begun my prayers to God with an internal struggle against the admission of where I am, as opposed to where I want to be.
The words, "Give me," "Direct me," or "Show me," fall off of my lips in prayer far easier than "I'm lost." And even those first words come far less easy than the voice in my head, which oscillates between, "You can figure this out," to "See, I told you couldn't figure this out."
I know that there are people reading this who resonate with what I am saying. And even if you aren't resonating right this second, you might remember a time when you would have.
If you find yourself dizzied by the truth of your lostness, and you have been trying with all of your might to become not lost on your own, maybe it's time to just stand still for a moment and look around.
And then let your next words be the beginning of prayer--a prayer that starts like this, "I don't know where I am, and I don't really know for sure how I got here, but I'm here. And I need you to find me."
At some point, the truth will fall upon you that God doesn't need to come and find you because God was never far away from you---no matter how lost you got. When this truth falls upon you (and it will), it will change everything.
May this be true for you today and every day forward and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.