Ben and I have an ongoing debate about the usefulness of traffic navigation apps. He swears by them, and I do not like them in most circumstances. His favorite is Waze, and he will plug his destination into that app almost every time he gets in the car, even daily when he goes to or from home and work. He drives from our home in Frisco to downtown Dallas, which is about a forty-minute trip with no traffic. Every morning and evening, however, the lanes become virtual parking lots. Ben will travel a different route every day if the app says there is an accident or construction and that a faster, easier way exists. He doesn’t mind driving through neighborhoods or side streets. He says he has not followed the app’s directions in the past and has regretted ignoring its suggestions, so now he does not doubt Waze’s wisdom.
I, on the other hand, only use navigation devices if I actually do not know where I am going. If I know how to get to my destination, I do not bother with an app. Now, I usually do not leave Frisco for days, but when I go to downtown Dallas or somewhere else farther away, I still don’t use an app if I know where I am headed. I like to go straight to my intended location. Even if I have to sit in some traffic, I prefer to go the way I know without variation. I hate going through neighborhoods and side streets. I think Waze has figured out that I don’t like it because now whenever I try to use it, it says “oops, something went wrong – try again.”
On a recent road trip, I was driving when Ben’s app said I should get off the interstate to save a half hour. I didn’t argue with him because I could see up ahead that traffic was stopped. That didn’t mean I liked getting off the interstate though. I didn’t enjoy driving down a two-lane highway or going 35 miles per hour through a small town. Nor did I care for the fact that there were about seven other cars driving this same route in caravan style because they were apparently following along with the same app.
I started wondering why I am so opposed to using these apps. They are supposed to save time, and I admire efficiency in most respects. But these apps just bother me. Then, it occurred to me that perhaps the bottom line is I don’t want to get lost and I don’t trust the apps to prevent that from happening. Ben is perfectly content to take a detour. He believes he will get to his destination eventually, faster even than if he stayed the known course, and he trusts the app to get him there. He is not worried about getting so off track that he can’t find his way back.
My take on the navigation apps is similar to my approach to life. I would prefer a straight shot to get to where I’m going, reach my goals, check all the boxes. I think I know the best way to reach the end point, and I don’t want to take a route that differs from my plan. I don’t want to admit that the other road may end up being better than my original one.
And, if I’m being honest, I have a tough time trusting God to help with the navigation. I remain stubborn and focused on what I want to accomplish in the exact way I want to do it instead of realizing God may have another plan or a very different way of meeting the goals I have. I don’t fully believe that there might be amazing discoveries along the side roads or that this alternate journey could be better than the one I had mapped out. God’s path may be more circuitous than I like, but I could save myself a lot of angst and anxiety if I better believed that God will get me to the place I need to be eventually, on his schedule.
God only has my best interest at heart. He is not going to lead me down a road that is not good for me or will leave me irretrievably lost. He is not a cold computer app telling me what to do and where to turn. I still may not love the navigation apps, but I understand that I need to work on having greater trust for God who loves me and will not lead me astray.