Friday, July 16, 2010
“The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” –Proverbs 16:9
I have a Garmin GPS that I got for Christmas a few years ago and I absolutely love it. It really bothers me if I don't have it in my car when I’m traveling. It tells me how fast I’m going, it tells me the speed limit (I have no idea how it knows), it shows me the course to take to my destination and it even has a built in wireless system that let's me watch Internet TV while I’m driving (just kidding).
Of course, we used to just take a map and figure out what the GPS calculates for us. But it’s so convenient to let the Garmin do the work. But there is one major problem with Mr. Garmin: it doesn't always pick the best route to the destination.
Now, the GPS itself is fully convinced that it’s route is the best one. For that reason, I turned the voice feature off on my device. I got tired of hearing it get upset with my resistance to its choices. The annoying “recalculating” drove me nuts. I know the Garmin simply calculates all the factors and suggests the best possible route. But I was driving when my Garmin was still scrap metal at a junkyard somewhere. When traveling routes I’ve been driving for a long time, I know short cuts that aren't programmed in the GPS.
But the Garmin seems so reliable and every time I choose differently than the GPS, it makes me nervous. I’m a little concerned that some spy satellite is going to zap my car for disobedience or something.
Driving to Nashville last weekend from Branson, the route across northern Arkansas was crazy. Highway 412 meanders through the Ozarks hills with multiple routes and bypasses. My Garmin was in a frenzy. My friend said to “stay on 412” but Garmin kept leading me on all kinds of smaller roads. I stayed on 412 and Garmin was upset. But I went with the word of a friend and not the calculations of a toy.
As a parent, decision-making can be difficult. Knowing when to set firm boundaries, knowing when to say “no,” knowing when to say “yes,” discerning when and how to discipline. The list goes on and on. As our kids grow into teenagers, the decisions become more and more complicated. No longer am I deciding which cartoon to let my son watch. Now, I’m helping set curfews for my son on his first date.
Parents go to multiple sources of wisdom in their decision-making. Some go to the way they were raised. Some go to the library to use other’s wisdom. Some read blogs (really?). Some ask other parents. All of those are good resources. But there is one that beats any GPS on direction finding.
The device is called prayer. I don’t really understand it but I’m so thankful for it. I’m not talking about the “lay me down to sleep” kind of prayer. I’m suggesting that true conversation with the loving God of the Universe through His Son Jesus beats any electronic device for providing clear and relevant direction. I’ve seen it play out time and time again in my life. I bet you have too.
As you are determined to be the best parent possible to your teen, keep the prayer GPS turned on and let it guide you in your role as mom or dad. When you encounter tough situations with your teen, pray. Before you spend time with your teen, pray. When you’re anxious about your teen, pray. In other words, pray without ceasing.
And don’t turn off the voice feature- the words of direction will help lead you in the journey with your teen.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©