So, I was driving up to Doncaster on Sunday afternoon. I knew exactly which way I'd planned to go, and I was pretty sure it was a relatively straight forward journey, really. A508, A14, M1, M18. Bam.
Halfway along the A508, however, I realised I needed to fill up my tank, and I also realised that the sat nav I'd put on, just for the last little bit of finding the house I was aiming for once I was off the M18, had taken me straight past the exit for the A14.
Never mind, I thought, I'll carry on into Harborough, fill up, then find the M1 after that.
The first half of this plan went perfectly - I filled up in Sainsbury's, then headed out of Harborough again.
I soon realised the sat nav was taking me straight through Leicester city, and not towards the M1 at all. Hmm... not ideal.
I went with it for a while, thinking it probably knows the roads better that I do.
That was before I went through a load of back streets, on and off the ring road in Leicester, then round a number of apparently non-existant roundabouts. I decided to bite the bullet and go my own way - I'd seen a sign for the M1, and I thought "screw you, sat nav (I was getting pretty angry), I'm going that way".
Turns out the M1 was shut.
After quite a few "Make a U-turn"s, I finally saw a sign to Doncaster. WOO HOO! I followed it, and followed it, despite my sat nav's angry objections, and then finally FINALLY was on the M18, with the next exit to Doncaster.
Sat nav coolly told me "You have arrived at your destination", which I had, and I switched it off with a massive sigh of relief, and melted into my best friend's house, for a couple of days of tea, chat, slippers and Little Miss Sunshine.
This morning, I sat on a street by their house, thinking, "right, sat nav, let's try this again". I had already got directions to the M18 from my friend, so followed what she had said until there were road signs peppered with (M18 M1).
I really don't know if the M1 actually exists, you know, because I sure as anything couldn't find it.
I followed the A1 and the signs and everything, and it never turned up!!
So by this point, my sat nav was taking me to Stamford and Peterborough, and all the other Easterly places. Now, I like Stamford. It's pretty. But Peterborough?! No thanks.
I actually shouted at this point "God - I don't know where I am! I just want to go home!"
Halfway (well, quite a lot more than halfway) down the A1 (the "Great North Road"), I pulled over, and got my map out. Quite clearly in front of me, was the route A1, A43, which took me straight home. Hm, turns out I was going in exactly the right direction.
I wrote "A1, A43" on my hand and resolutely decided to follow it.
Then Sat Nav told me to go a different way.
A little reckless rebellious person in me said "try it".
So I did.
I went through the narrowest country lanes, round the tightest corners, nearly collided with a lorry and through some of the tiniest villages. But then, suddenly right in front of me was the beautiful sign "A43 Kettering".
So I was on the home straight, and after that I turned the sat nav off.
But it made me think.
If I follow my own directions, apparently I often get it wrong, am easily persuaded off-track and it can be pretty frustrating.
If I rely entirely on the voice of the sat nav, I will probably get there eventually, but will most likely be taken round an entirely unnecessarily difficult and frustratingly complex route.
When I asked God, the route seemed really quite straight forward.
I didn't follow it exactly, (which perhaps I should have) and I know God's way is most definitely not always the easiest way, but it was the way that felt the safest, and certainly the most secure.
I know, I know that isn't always how it feels. Sometimes God's way feels terrifying and uncertain and unpredictable - and often that's when the best things happen.
But it was a lesson to me. I really should listen to God more. He knows what He's doing.