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  • Writer's pictureMonica Walton

GPS in the Wilderness


I read a reflection last week in Sacred Space: The Prayer Book that stated,

"Jesus emerged from the wilderness filled with the Spirit of God."

That sentence set my heart in motion for several days which led to this post. I think I have mostly equated the wilderness with darkness -- a space where I feel lost and sad and afraid. But, now I see the difference.


In Darkness, we can't see a way ahead.

In Wilderness, we see many options but no clear path.

Both are challenging. Both can be very frightening.

Both require our patience, faith, and humility because we cannot find our way on our own.

We need GPS !!!

G=GOD First, we seek His purpose in our movement. Where does He want me to go?

P=PEACE When we are discerning, we feel Peace when we go the way He is leading.

S=STEP Then, we take the next step. One step, one movement at a time.


Do you remember what we did before traditional GPS (Global Positioning System) -- it's hard to imagine going back to having to pull out a paper map and chart your course for a trip. Maps are filled with so many options, so many possibilities, so many ways to go.... just like the Wilderness.... just like life. Even if we have the advantage of an aerial view, it isn't necessarily easier when we aren't sure where we are supposed to land.


The Bible is filled with stories showing uniqueness in the journey of Faith. A history of the Saints and Faithful who have gone before us holds countless unique journeys of Faith. There are many different paths taken to find our way to the One God. The Daily Mass Readings this week recount Abram's bewildering journey through his Wilderness. (read Genesis) We celebrate Saints Peter and Paul this week -- they were both passionate apostles seeking Truth and communion with God. But, their paths couldn't have been more different! (read Acts)


Life is a series of seeking, discerning, and taking next steps. Sometimes I want my journey to be like someone else's whom I admire. We all get caught in the trap of comparison at some point. We compare ourselves to the way other people look, the way other people act, even the way other people pray. But, we have to pull ourselves back to the fact that God made each of us different, and He has a unique plan for every one of us.


We are not supposed to look the same!

We are not supposed to do the same things in the same exact way!


So, I see the Wilderness differently now. It can be exciting or it can be frightening. When we rely on our own volition, our view is so very limited. God has a much better plan than we can design! Look at the picture at the top of this post and imagine standing there. Notice all the possible ways to go. There's light in the distance, but there isn't one, clear, best path to get there.


God is calling each of us to Him in unique ways. We each have different things to learn, to face, to endure, to overcome, to celebrate. One way is better for you, another is better for me. Every day we see and hear opinions from all around us trying to convince us that their way is the best choice. Many are good ways. Many are inviting and compelling. Few are obvious bad choices. It can be very difficult to navigate!


When we stand in our Wilderness and listen with our hearts, we can find our way to Him using our holy GPS!

GPS

Beginning with GOD is always the right choice.

Being in communion with God always brings PEACE.

Taking the next STEP is receiving the daily bread God offers.


It may take a little longer than we anticipate to get to that place where we stand in the light and know we are on the path He has planned for us. It won't always be easy. At times it will undoubtedly be challenging, and sometimes even downright frightening. We may miss a turn here and there, unknowingly straying from our unique path. There will be many options and possible directions to go. His way definitely takes patience, faith, and humility because it's not a one-and-done deal! We take it one step, one movement at a time. It's seeking and trusting He will give us our daily bread -- the daily bread we ask Him to give us when we pray the Lord's Prayer.


We cannot find our way on our own.


I have many exciting things happening in my life right now and so many opportunities! Invitations that are all filled with life and love and goodness. But, I can't do them all. This week, my very special Writing Group is gathered in Nazareth, KY for a reunion retreat. I wanted so desperately to go! This group is a VERY GOOD THING in my life! We first gathered together there five years ago. I happened to see an ad in a magazine for a writer's retreat and my heart just knew that I needed to be there. It cost me money, time off of work, and time away from family. It was quite a distance from my home. I had never met anyone who would be there. I drove there alone, and when I arrived I wasn't even sure which door to go in. Talk about Wilderness! Talk about being challenged and a little frightened! But, that Retreat fostered friendships that are life-giving and lasting, and it was the beginning of my discovering the path of writing which the Lord has called me to follow! Praise and Thanks be to God!


It just wasn't meant for me to be with them this time. I had to choose between all the good paths set before me. Just because we have opportunity and capability doesn't mean we have been assigned to what seems to be a good fit. Skills doesn't necessarily mean a calling, and desire doesn't always mean the right choice. So I prayed, asking God which activities were the right next steps. I felt peace when I selected the Birthright Conference last week. I feel blessed that I am able to witness my son's consecration to Religious Life as an Oblate next week. I feel peace and blessings from the Nazareth Retreat Center, even though I'm not there. All of these places are filled with unique Wilderness experiences!


When we find ourselves in the wilderness,

let's remember to rely on our holy GPS !

We will emerge from the wilderness filled with the Spirit of God!

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Guest
Jun 30, 2023

The line about missing a turn or two is something I have wondered many many times. It made me feel frustrated at those times. Now, I have learned that even though I may have missed the markers laid out for me, I have not missed out on God’s blessings and love. Also, the line ‘skill doesn’t necessarily mean a calling & desire doesn’t always mean the right choice’ has given me confir at ion and peace in recent decisions I have made. Thsnk you!

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
Jul 06, 2023
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That is so wonderful! Thank tot for sharing. The path is ours. A wrong turn doesn’t mean the end. It’s an opportunity to say “Yes” to Hum once again and begin anew!

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sadolsky
Jun 29, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So deeply wise and thoughtful. Such a gift to witness and walk with you on this journey of life. Your faith and sharing are authentic and inspire me in my own walk. Thank you for showing up Monica. I will never think of the wilderness and the darkness in the same light!

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
Jul 06, 2023
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Beautiful! Glad we are companions on the journey!

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Guest
Jun 29, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Your writings are very thought provoking and enjoyable.

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
Jul 06, 2023
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Thank you!

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Guest
Jun 29, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great article 😊

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
Jun 30, 2023
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Thanks so much!

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