I do a lot of activities outdoors. I love the outdoors! I live for the outdoors!
I use apps on my cell phone to help me when I ride and hike. The apps share with me milestones of distance, time and pacing. When I am hiking, it shows me where I am on the map, where I am on a trail and where I need to go to complete the hike. The apps are super handy and they work great.
I feel safe when I use these apps hiking. The key word though, is “when.” Sometimes the apps do not work. This typically happens when I am in deep into the mountains. The technology may not work...but sometimes it is due to my choosing. Sometimes I choose to get off the trail and explore. If I do that for too long or for too far, I can get disoriented.
With this disorientation comes the need for help getting back on track. If my app is working, I can usually use it to directionally find my way back on to the trail. But if the deadly duo happens, if my app is not working and I stray too far and, as a result, get disoriented, then I am in big trouble. Because even though I may have a map, if I don't know where I am, the map is not going to be much help.
When I am lost, I need help. If am lost but have an idea of where I could be, the map is not the first thing I need. The first thing I need is to have a very good understanding of where I am.
For instance, imagine I pick you up in a helicopter, blindfold you and fly you out to the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Before leaving you, I give you a map of the state. I fly away and leave you on your own. How useful is that map going to be? The answer is NOT AT ALL USEFUL. Why? Because you have to know where you are on the map to plot the course to where you want to go. You can see Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau on the map, but you will not have any clue where to take your first step.
You have likely seen this symbol on maps in shopping malls or when you seek online directions. It is usually accompanied with the words “You Are Here.”
The concept of knowing where you are in crucial in just about every component of our everyday lives. It’s true at work, at home, at play and in our spiritual journeys.
In business, this is important because if you want your business to grow, to achieve success for you and those associated with your business. You have to have a very good understanding, a fact-based understanding, of where your business is. I mentioned fact-based because when considering where we are, we do not need to include how we FEEL about where we are. It is also not about where we THINK we should be. It is about the observable facts that exist. Things that others would be able see and know without question.
People in successful businesses ask lots of questions about where they are: What conditions exist? What challenges you have and will have? Are you truly successful and performing? What do you do well and what do you need to do better? Where do you stand in the marketplace? Do I have the right talent? Do I have the right employees? How do I stack up against the competition and market conditions?
In our personal lives the same types of questions hold true. Relationships are a good example. We can assess where we are in our marriage and our other familial relationships. It is going to be hard to work for what you think your ideal marriage should be if you have no idea of the true FACTUAL conditions that exist today.
In our walk with God, again, the same holds true. We can attend church, give tithes and offerings, and even participate in a service project or two, but if we do not have a clear understanding of who we are and where we are in our journey, then those things can merely be activities without meaning.
The Bible has some clear counsel:
1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself.”
Romans 12:3 “Think we sober judgment.”
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”
When we understand ourselves, our current foibles, challenges, shortcomings, strengths, and opportunities for growth, then we can also better map out our daily lives that taken those conditions into account. By so doing with thought and spiritual guidance, we can then begin our own personal journey to better align ourselves with our spiritual beliefs.
So, here is a fact: YOU ARE HERE.
Yep, as you are reading this, YOU ARE HERE.
Remember, God sees you. He knows you. So there is no need to lie to yourself.
Look around you. Look inside you. Take stock. Take notes. Be honest. If possible, seek feedback from trusted advisers. I find it helpful to associate with people who are themselves strong in their relationship with God.
When you have that clear and honest self-picture. You can put yourself into the right spiritual frame of mind, conditions and surroundings. Equally important, is that you can also take yourself OUT of conditions and surroundings that are contrary to where you want to be.
When you create that strong understanding of where you are, regardless of whether you like the answer or not, you can truly start mapping your next steps and begin to map your journey closer to God.
Below is a video version of this post.
And here is the blooper reel of footage I attempted while on the side of the mountain in the rain. Let's just say #EpicFail.