I am directionally challenged. If you ask me how to get somewhere I will say, “I don’t know, ask the GPS because that’s how I got here.” If it wasn’t for GPS I would not travel too far from home, especially since home is Atlanta.
My GPS and I are good buds. I depend a lot on my app to get me around traffic and to get me to places I’ve never been or don’t go to often. My kids got pretty nervous recently when the phone was dying and we had to go home a different way due to some flooding. We got home just fine, thank you very much, (I was slightly concerned) but apparently my oldest mentioned to my husband that he had been worried.
It is possible that I rely on the GPS too much. It tells me to turn right and so I do. It says a route is the best way and so that is the way I go. I have trusted it to take me on hours long journeys – to the beach, to a speaking engagement, and around stopped traffic. I don’t question it too much. I just do what it says, follow the path it lays out.
My app has started guessing where I am going which is kind of cool/weird! I got in the car after a lunch with a friend and looked at my phone and a pop-up says 23 minutes until you are home. It has the directions up and ready to go for me. It assumes it knows where I am going. I laughed and said, “That’s not where I am going!”
One day I got in the car and had to tell my phone, once again, that I wasn’t going where it thought I was. I fell back into my seat when I realized that there’s a part of me that acts like a GPS. It’s the part that is quick to make assumptions, quick to decide the next logical step. This was said, this was done and so your response is _____. My child was disrespectful to me and that puts me on a well-established route – it’s an automatic thing – it’s just where I go. My husband said something that upset me and so I know where I am going. I am mad. I am not talking to him – my internal GPS knows where we are headed. “Two rights and you will arrive at silent treatment.” But what if I want a different route? What if I don’t want to go that way? How do I outsmart the GPS in my head?
I think maybe the key is sitting still. Don’t put it in drive. Once I start on a route it is hard for me to detour. Once I am in drive it is sometimes hard to control what comes out of my mouth. I think the key is to pause and consider the routes or options before me. There are routes that I know because I drive them all. the. time. I don’t even need the GPS to tell me how to get there. I also know where those routes end up and I am tired of that destination. I need routes that put us further down the road instead of the empty parking lot with weeds and abandoned cars. I want to further relationship, whether that is with a friend, family, my children, or my husband.
So before I blindly follow my internal GPS, I need to stop and ask myself, “Where do you want to go?” When I arrive at my destination do I want relationship to be strengthened or fractured? This is what determines how I respond, the route I take, and it is only possible if I pause.
A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Proverbs 15:1