Since I arrived at Mom’s last week, we have worked on finishing a quilt for my sister. Part of the time, we watch TV. HGTV and Food Network are my choices this week. On Food Network, I found a common theme among the competitive chefs — losing the way due to drugs and alcohol and then finding the way back from these addictive behaviors. It was the third chef sharing the same journey that I began to put this together with my hiking experience on Sunday.

Most people don’t set out to get lost and stuck in the mud. It happens one step at a time, missing one sign post, not listening closely, ignoring a warning. Until one day, the sun comes up and realization that life is a nightmare rather than a dream come true becomes glaringly clear. What does one do?

The overwhelming lesson I learned listening to the stories of these people is this: there is a way back. It isn’t easy. Scars incurred in the roughs stand as reminders of the past — not as signs of failure or shame, but as proof of overcoming. Paul says it like this in his letter to Rome…

12Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Romans 12:12-14

Simply put, changing who one listens to makes all the difference. If I continue to listen to my broken, sinful desires, I will stay in the mud. In order to rise above the chaos, I need to be led by God. But I don’t do it by myself. I am empowered by the Spirit of God.

Are you struggling to find your way? Sit and think for a second. Who has your ear? Do you need to change what you are listening to?

The other day as I walked in the early morning hours, a very old song ran through my mind. It went like this, “Listen to the Lord as he speaks softly. Listen to the words of a perfect man. Listen to the words of God Incarnate. Listen even when you don’t understand.” And it’s been my mantra all week. May it also become yours.

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