When I’m leading a team building group, I may say, “Now we’re going to do the hard part.”  I get looks like they’re pretty sure they’ve just done the hard part.

And then I say, “We’re going to think about what we’ve done.  And since we’re good Americans, we don’t do that very often.  We more often move from one thing to the next without giving much thought to where we are or where came from or what we’re doing.  We just move to the next thing.”

I watch people’s heads move up and down in agreement.

Delving into a recent challenging event can be helpful.  Having a better idea of where we are at that known point can be a rich gift.

When using a map and compass for navigation, it’s really helpful to know where you are before trying to get where you’re going.  If I know exactly where I am then I really can better determine the direction in which I need to move.

And though it’s really helpful to know where I am, sometimes I just kinda know where I am…and that’s kinda helpful.  Kinda knowing is far better than not knowing at all.

In a world of unending unexpected turns, maybe the best we can hope for is to kinda have an idea of where we are.  And though life delivers rich gifts for us to learn where we are, if we don’t pay attention…we’ll miss it.

Maybe it’s that daily drive to work that gives a clue or the time taken to craft those 140 characters for all the world to see.  Or the amount of time I spend on Facebook, or watching YouTube videos or television or exploring the news.  Maybe it’s undesired loneliness or a relationship that’s gone ugly and you’re not quite sure why.  What I gravitate to when it’s too quiet or when I’m hurt or when I’m lonely or when I’m happy, can give me indications of where I am…that known point.

It might be the vocational, spiritual, intellectual, physical, familial, relational aspects of life or the overlapping influence of several.  But when the circumstances of life pile up and we get clarity…that is golden.

That known point could be a place of joy, of celebration, of gladness.  It could be a place of fear, of doubt, of shame, of depression.  Or maybe a point when I see more clearly my anger, my wavering self-worth and that the broken relationships of the past affect the teetering relationships of the present.

We fear it will never change in this life.  That WE will never change in this life.  That evil and haters and snippiness will overcome goodness.  That God is not enough to be able to use this sin affected life.  That my relationships are just too messed up.  That the events of the past will weigh me down and I’ll crash into my own uselessness.

It’s that gut check that reminds me how weak my faith is and how much I need to put my trust in God.

Perhaps it’s because hurt so much more quickly rises to the surface.  But that is telling too.  And helpful.  And not fun.

And as hard as these known points can be…they are gifts…that I’m often slow to appreciate.

Sometimes, trying to get somewhere can help us better understand where we were and then where we need to go.

In a world of unending unexpected turns, maybe the best we can hope for is to have a really sharp clarity for just a fleeting moment.  And if we don’t pay attention…we’ll miss it.  Why is that important, a known point, this better understanding of where we are?  It can put us at the very spot we need to be in order to….change.  That place is holy…and hard too.

But sometimes we just don’t know where we are.  And when you don’t, what do you do?

Nineteenth century English author Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  So before stepping off, take some time to pay attention to what’s going on in your head and your heart right now.

And if we know where we are, or at least have a clearer idea…that very next step is telling.

A known point can be very helpful.  A kinda known point can be helpful too. Instead of just moving to the next thing, there can be great value in getting an idea of where we are.

What’s going on in your world that is helping you to better know where you are? What’s your next step?

Would you tell me about it?