Navigating Life 101


I always thought I was pretty navigationally proficient and then I left small-town USA. I left the towns of 200 and 500 and 1500 and even 200,000 that I had always known, and headed out onto the open highway.

I managed to make it over 1,000 miles from home before I got lost. And when I say “lost” I mean hopelessly. I pulled over and studied the map that my Dad had laboriously printed, highlighted and annotated for me before I left home, and I couldn’t figure out where I had gone wrong. Finally, out of desperation, I called him, and from in front of Bing Maps back in North Carolina, he talked me through Lincoln, Nebraska, one turn at a time.

If I thought the leap from never needing directions to following a map was a scary one, the leap from the paper map to using a navigation app on my phone was enough to make my knees shake. But it was a necessary change, and over time, I learned to really appreciate my little technological marvel. Today, I find it invaluable for getting me where I want to go – especially when I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before and have no idea how to get there.

Bob Sorge tells us that “God wants to re-train the way in which we hear from Him.”

Hearing from God is supposed to be easy, right? Especially for a kid like me who was raised in church. I know this place. I know all of the roads, the deer trails, and the puppy paths. I know the language and the liturgy. I know how to carry myself. How to smile and nod at all of the right times. I don’t need a map to walk the road of religion.

There’s just one problem with that. When you walk out the doors of the church, it’s a real world out there. It’s hard, it’s cold, and the roads are always under construction. They twist, they turn, and no matter how many times you travel them, they never look the same twice.

What you’ve known before will no longer work. The maps can’t keep up with the changes. And the navigation app can’t update itself fast enough.

Religion won’t tell you how to foster parent a drug addicted baby.

Religion doesn’t heal the beaten, molested, raped, and abused.

Religion doesn’t show you how to help a homeless man suffering from AIDS or figure out how to feed hungry children when the paycheck runs out days before payday.

It doesn’t find you hope to get up in the morning when depression has you so empty and weak that you can barely peel the covers back.

Only the voice of God can do these things.

How do you hear Him?

I wish I could give you a primer on how to hear God’s voice. Shoot, I wish I had one of those for me. I never know when or where or how He’s going to speak. I just know that He always does. Sometimes, it’s through a song. Sometimes, through the words of a friend. Sometimes, through one of a thousand little things I experience in the course of a day – a rainbow, a check in the mail, or a particularly wise blog post that I read.

He speaks, and when I’m listening, He tells me how to get where I’m going.

I just have to be listening.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Bob Sorge’s book, The Fire of Delayed Answers. You don’t have to read the book to take part in the discussion. But if you’ve written a response to this week’s chapter, make sure to run over to my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s place, and link it up at the widget. Make sure to check out the other posts from our contributors while you’re there. Next week, we’ll be back here with the second part of Chapter 5, and the widget will be back at my spot on the web.

(The picture above is by Sarah Bee Corente — aka @SarahBeeC on Twitter — thanks, Sarah!)

About Sarah Salter


  1. Amen..”nuff said”.. Good one Sarah.

  2. We have to listen? But that means we have to shut up!


  3. This speaks deeply to me. As always, your posts seem to have unique timing in pace with exactly what I need to hear at exactly the right time.
    For me, right now it is a quiet voice which repeats, “hold on”.
    I’m glad you could use the picture. Fits well!

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I know. I’m not good at that part, either. 😉

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    Bee, let me echo that quiet voice. Hold on.

    You are loved!

  6. God’s re-training my listening at the moment. Fresh Revelations are awakening me to new heights and struggles.
    You’re right, the road is often changing that’s why I’m so glad that God establishes my steps, even when I feel lost- I never really am because He is always with me.

    God bless you, I really enjoyed reading this.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, TC! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  8. Great analogy, Sarah. Religion doesn’t prepare us for those things, but His love and compassion do. When we are touched by that reality, we’ll never be the same. We’ll walk into the dark places with Him and we’ll go through the dark times with Him because as the psalmist declared, His lovingkindness is better than life. Thank you, Sarah.

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