Friday, October 5, 2018

Devotion: How's Your Sense of Direction?

by Sherma Webbe Clarke | @sdwc8181 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NKJV) 

My daughter is blessed with a keen sense of direction. She remembers landmarks and learns her way around new places quickly. Even if she is a stranger to an area, she maneuvers on foot or on public transportation as if she lived there all her life. I was amazed that, on her first trip to London, she was able to guide me from place to place using the Underground and bus system after only a matter of hours. On several occasions during our time together in London, I relied on her to get us to our destinations without getting lost.

I am the opposite.

I arm myself with detailed, written instructions or a map to find my way around in unfamiliar places. Before starting any trip, I pour over the directions several times to create a mental map. Online maps are great for virtually “walking” the streets of an unfamiliar destination. When driving, I use GPS to guide me, although I have been known to argue with the mechanical voice. “Are you sure?” I ask.

Even with ample preparation, there is no guarantee I won’t lose my way while trying to find a hotel, locate a particular store, or drive to a certain town or city as a first-time visitor. I have a talent for getting lost. A street sign could be missing. Or I might get sidetracked by an unexpected event (or a bookstore). More than once, a detour has caused me to take a different route than anticipated, sending my anxiety level through the roof of my rental car. The airport of one particular city--that shall remain nameless--is constantly involved in or surrounded by construction. Construction means detours. Detours mean. . . well, let's just say I'd rather have someone pick me up than attempt to drive from that airport.

Sometimes self-doubt is the culprit. At the last minute, I turn right when I should have turned left at the grocery store on the corner or at the second intersection. These mistakes can result in frustration, not to mention in a loss of time and energy. Doubting clear directions can be particularly costly when making life choices. Some can be life changing.

Peer pressure may lead to addictive habits such as drug or alcohol abuse or lifelong struggles with nicotine. Hasty purchases can result in long-term financial debt. Life is full of detours and side roads. It provides more than anyone’s fair share of doubtful moments. As writers, we stare at the page and make no progress in finding the words we need. We compare the first draft of our WIP to another writer’s new release and question our talent. We think it would be wonderful if we could make all our plans work out according to our timing and desires. But when self-reliance or self-doubt creeps into our thinking, plans go awry.

God’s word reminds me that the most essential sense of direction I need comes from following Jesus. I can have confidence in Him because He already knows what is best for me (Jeremiah 29:11). He sets up divine appointments. If I follow and obey, I don’t need to depend on my own instructions, a carefully drawn map, or even the skill of others when traveling in unfamiliar territory. All I need to do is put my hand in His and allow Him to lead.

Do you have a testimony about claiming Proverbs 3:5-6? Please share in the comment section. It might encourage someone else.

About Sherma... 

Sherma Webbe Clarke is a contemporary fiction writer and a 2017 ACFW First Impressions Finalist. Her inspirational writing has been included in Christian devotional books: Grace Notes and Blessed. She loves to take her husband by the hand to explore nearby and far-flung areas of the globe. This wanderlust has its perks. She credits many of her story ideas to these adventures. Quiet, early-morning walks along the railroad trails on her home island of Bermuda provide inspiration when she is homebound.


  1. My life has had way too many detours. Sometimes I imagine what life would have been like if I had gotten it right the first time...
    But here I am at last, NOT leaning on my own understanding, trusting God with every area of my life. God has blessed every area of my life and now I have started fulfilling a life-long dream to begin writing. I am still on my first draft but learning lots! Thanks for the post Sherma.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comment. I think many of us have those 'what if' moments. I know I do! May God bless your writing journey. Just remember, everyone starts with a first draft. Keep at it!