Is your spiritual GPS in need of an update?

Is your spiritual GPS working right?
Is your spiritual GPS working right? MCT

A few weeks ago I entered the twilight zone. At least that's how it felt. I told a friend I would pick her up from the airport in Panama City Beach, Fla., an airport I had never visited before. I had a vague idea that it was somewhere not near the "beach" part of town, and planned to just program my GPS before I left. After entering the address and getting several "not found" results I realized my six-year-old Garmin did not know where this new airport was.

Not a problem. That's why God made Siri. Pulling out my iPhone, I asked, "Where is the airport?" to which Siri replied, "I found three airports. Two of them are a little ways from you." Yeah. And none of them was the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, where my friend was landing in 43 minutes.

Driving through the darkness in the general direction of where I thought the airport was, I started to feel the unfamiliar anxiety of not knowing where in the world I was supposed to be. I can't remember the last time I asked anyone for directions. I rely completely on my GPS with its reassuring British accent giving me turn-by-turn directions. (Sometimes we even chat when it's late and I'm trying to stay awake).

I had no choice. Pulling over at a gas station, I did the unthinkable for this day and age. I consulted an old-fashioned, written-down-on-paper map. It really cramped my style, too. I had to drive much slower and actually pay attention to the signs on the side of the road and the miles going by. I felt like Sacagawea navigating by way of the Missouri River when I finally saw a sign for the airport.

We give men grief about not wanting to consult directions when driving, but when it comes to life I think we can all be a little overconfident. Just like it never entered my mind to research directions before getting into the car, we can barrel along without consulting directions in life, not giving much thought to where our destination even is.

While consulting a priest for advice several years ago about a decision I was trying to make, he wisely stated, "You're thinking about the minor details when your real question should be, 'Will this action bring me closer to heaven?'" As obvious as this advice was, it hadn't occurred to me. As soon as the question was phrased with my end goal in mind, the decision was much easier to make.

How do we move forward with heaven in mind? Just like I had to pull over and consult a map, we can seek out direction in our lives when we feel that we may be driving around aimlessly. Where can we look? Scripture. Prayer. A church community. Pastors. Elders. Parents. Teachers. Support groups that offer specific answers for challenges we're facing.

Considering the decisions we have to face in regard to careers, marriage and family and how we use our time and resources (just to name a few), it can feel painstakingly slow to pray and take direction from God into consideration. We're so used to Googling answers that thinking and praying through decisions can feel laborious. However, just like it makes no sense to drive aimlessly through town hoping to bump into our final destination, seeking out direction in life will help us be happier, holier and most importantly, help us to reach our final destination of heaven.

Follow columnist Alison Griswold at Read her blog at