The navigation apps on our phones that take us here and there have become a lifeline to many of us who do not inherently have the gift of direction. Thanks to these little devices I can arrive miraculously in places of which I truly have never heard. Kid's ball game in the backside of beyond, no problem. Sleepover in foreign corner of the city, I can drive everyone! Type in the address, and voila!
The problem comes when I haven't heard the Australian navigator's voice in a while and my surroundings grow increasingly nebulous, especially if it is dark or rainy and I am running late. In this scenario, I use my fingers to frantically zoom in, zoom in, zoom in. This causes me to lose all perspective. Hyper-zoomed in, the little map only shows ME and my very immediate circumstances, with no view of where I am going. Panic! To balance this, my fingers frantically zoom out, zoom out, zoom out until I see myself as a blue dot and my destination as a red dot just an inch away, which is obviously a misrepresentation of truth. Meanwhile, radio silence from the Australian navigator. My fingers over zoom in all directions. Ahhh! Panic! Lost!
This is true of real life too. On a normal day, I can be cruising right along - reading my devotion, tidying house, driving carpool, going for a walk, tending to business - a girl on the ball. Then something will get my mind reeling - a comment from a friend, finding out that my child is in a tough spot, a spat with my hubby, the news. Whatever it is, I go from cruising happily to hyper zooming. I can zoom so far in on the "thing", psycho-analyzing every aspect, that I lose all perspective. The child's suffering blocks out any hope, the hubby's hurt drowns out all love, the friend's wound darkens my heart to any light that could heal. I zoom in, zoom in, zoom in, fixating on the thing, and just like that - though I started the day a girl on the ball - I am lost.
On the flip side, on a different normal day, my list of things to do, things to think about, things to talk about leave me spinning in a different fashion. I start the day off feeling solid, secure - a steady woman of character and purpose with a list that I intend to execute. But then, just as I leave the school carpool loop, I read a text reminding me of something my man-child forgot. Can I bring it to him? Yes, but that will make me late to doctor appointment. As I wait at doctor's, I see a post about a girls' night that I wasn't included in... then I get a reminder about a dentist appointment for child #2, then my brother calls and I am snippy, and I feel guilty, but I am late for volunteering, then... All these things are not-so-big-a-deal, but they leave me spinning. So many things to think about, so many things to do. On the map of my life, I zoom out, zoom out, zoom out trying to make sense of so many details. And just like that - though I started the day steady and ready - I am lost.
On my phone app, when I have over zoomed in either direction and lost all perspective of where I am and where I need to be, there is a little RECENTER button in the corner of the screen. When I press this button, the screen adjusts and instantly I have a healthy view of where I am and where I am going. Exhale. Found.
In real life, in our heart lostness, we also have this RECENTER button. Enter Jesus. Contrary to the way I sometimes live, Jesus is not merely an idea or an out-of-reach kind of god; He is a savior and a finder of lost people, and we can call out His name/press the heart recenter button to be saved, to be found. To me, this means simply shifting my gaze from my circumstances to Him, it's about focus. This pressing the heart button and turning to Jesus is not reserved to the one time you asked Jesus into your heart when you are 8, and it is not limited to church visits on Sundays or when you sit dutifully in your devotion chair. It is for Tuesday morning when you are crying in carpool behind your sunglasses when it is barely light outside because your feelings are hurt, and you feel fat, and you don't know how to parent a teenager. Because Jesus is a real life rescuer, we can press the RECENTER buttons in our heart, and say Jesus, I am so lost right now. I know it is crazy, but I can't see my way out of the hurt and the fear and the frustration. My heart is spinning. Help!
I wish I could say that He would answer with an audible Australian accent. That would be very cool, but that is not my experience. There are, however, two questions that we can ask ourselves in our lostness that adjust our heart maps back to center.
Where am I?
To whom do I belong?
The reason these questions do the hard work of reorienting us is because they are questions that scripture asks of us. Scripture is how Jesus shows up in our todays. In scripture, God asked of the first two lost people in the history of the world, "Where are you?" He asked this not because He needed to find them (He knows exactly where we are in our bodies and in our hearts and minds), but because they needed to take account of where they were in relation to Him. They had strayed from Him in the yearnings of their minds, and that straying created distance from God. They were lost people, distanced from God, just like me and you, . By asking this question, we take stock of where we are and where God is; it recenters our hearts because it makes us proximate to Him.
Then, we ask ourselves, "To whom do I belong?" This is not about enslavement, rather it is a question that liberates us. We all want to belong somewhere, and it is the lack of belonging that makes us feel most lost. When we ask this question of our hearts and remember that we belong to Jesus, that we are completely seen and loved by Him, that He looks at us and says "that's My girl", we re-establish the connection between us and Him. That little blue line on our phones that is the "way" - it is reaffirmed in our hearts as we answer these questions. No matter how far we have strayed, with our gaze back on Him, we are found once again.
Blessed are the lost girls, because Jesus is the savior of the lost. He knew we would wander in thought, word and deed by things done and left undone. He knew we would all get lost. So, He came down from heaven and walked the streets of human hearts and minds to find us all, to save us all, to rescue every one of us. He became the way out of the lost place. And while heaven may be our ultimate destination where we will see Him face to face, in the meantime, we have the great privilege of living found, and on our way. And to that, this lost girl says Amen.