I flew into College Station, PA over the weekend to speak to a parenting conference on Saturday. It was a very small airport next to Penn State University. I rented a car and drove 100+ miles to the place I was to speak. I spoke Friday night and all Saturday on the principles of parenting various stages of the family life cycle.
On Sunday morning I got up at 3:30 am and began my drive back to College Station for my 6:15 am airplane departure. On the drive back, I noticed something outside that I didn’t think a lot about, but it became heavier and heavier. FOG. Dense fog. Have you ever driven on windy roads in pitch darkness, having to make several turns and have never been on the roads you are traveling on? Added to this dilemma is the fact that on the country roads in middle Pennsylvania there is nothing open at 4:30 am in the morning. The further I drove the more lost I became. Had I had GPS with me, it would have been no problem, but there was not such thing ten years ago. Fog. Windy roads. All stores closed. Fog. Fog. I became hopelessly lost. The more I drove, the more anxious I became. The more anxious I became, the more depressed I felt because this was the only flight leaving this airport this day and if I missed the flight, I would have to stay another day.
It was only when I recognized that I would probably miss my flight that I saw an individual at 6:10am who was taking out the trash. I pulled along side and said, “I am lost and have no idea where I am?” He responded by saying, “If you just go back 1/2 mile, turn left, the airport is about a mile up the road. I feverishly turned the car around, followed his directions and pulled the car into the rental facility (not open) and ran for the airport door. As I ran to the agent, I heard, “Dr. Gorton, we have been waiting for you.” I went through security, ran to the plane and off we went.
I had to admit that I was lost in order to find where I needed to be. The first order of change is to admit that we are on the wrong path and need to make changes. Relational change. Job change. Focus change. Attitude change. Friend change. Emotional change. Whatever choices we have made that have caused us to go down a wrong road, we first need to admit we have made some bad choices.
As I was reading a story today, it reminded me of this principle. It is a story of a man named Jonah. God came to him and told him to go to Nineveh and tell them to repent of their destructive ways. Jonah didn’t want to do the right thing, so he boarded a ship headed in the opposite direction and make his own decisions for his life. Unfortunately for him, a huge storm hit the ocean where the ship was and was about to break up the ship. Jonah however was fast asleep in the bottom of the ship, so the crew woke him up. This small segment in Jonah 1 spells out what is happening. “This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)” Jonah 1:10 NIV
Jonah had admitted to them that he was running away from the Lord. He was admitting that he was on the wrong road. This is the first step in change happening. Now just because we admit we are on the wrong road doesn’t mean that things are going to be okay. Jonah was thrown over the side of the ship and was swallowed by a whale. Sometimes there are consequences for the wrong choices that we make, but not admitting we are on the wrong road stops change from happening. Rough roads will be apart of the change process but it is worth it when we are moving on the road that God wants us to move.
On this journey, be aware of signs that point to us getting off the path of health and vitality. Be willing to admit that we have made a wrong turn so that you can get back on the right road.