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True North

Some days I am not sure where I am. Let me come back to that in a second.

Right now let’s talk about what unbelievably trying times we are living in. These ongoing moments of struggle tied with technology systems managing the flow of communication like never before has created an unprecedented situation. We wake up each day to an unplanned and uncertain journey, day after day, with no end in sight. Hours that can change by the minute with one call, directions swayed off course by one piece of news and no assured guarantee if your course correction is—well—correct.

It reminds me of a lost ship in high seas with no compass. We don’t exactly know what to do. We don’t know which direction is the way to security. We are constantly left weighing the right choice versus the wrong one. We know we can’t just ignore it all and do nothing, but each forward step is on such shaky ground.

Never before can I remember a time that we have had to live so unsure for so long. It is one thing to experience the stress of uncertainty in personal decisions for short periods of time, it is quite another to live with unbalanced and unsteady steps as a daily normal. No wonder everyone is on edge. No wonder everyone has forgotten.

Including me.

It is so easy when my day is bombarded by information from every angle to lose sight of the shore. It is inevitable when constant opinion is forced as fact that my directions become confused. It is understandable that the pressure of making the right decisions threatens to break you like old wood in a strong wind as the constant input of conflicting information splinters the heart. It is just too easy to lose my way in rough seas without a compass to guide me.

I have to have a compass. When I can’t tell the sky from the sea anymore everything looks deceivingly the same. All storm. If I am navigating only using what is in the world around me, those markers and cues change and suddenly I am disoriented. Lost. And I feel very alone on this big ship by myself. But when I have my compass, true north is steady and unchangeable.

No matter what comes my way, I can fix my eyes on the direction I need to go without relying on what is always changing in order to stay the course.  I know all of this in my mind, yet some days I forget to look at the compass. I forget to use the tools I have been given and the gifts I have been blessed with. In my panic, I forget. Then I look around and I don’t know where I am anymore.

I am going to guess the same might be true for some of you.

Suddenly instead of knowing truth about how we should treat others, we are swayed by the best social media argument of the day. Now instead of standing firm on our personal faith, we cower in fear of offense and judgment of what others think. Out of the blue, instead of basing our decisions on a mission we were called for, we allow fear to move us from mission to following the crowd. That is dangerous territory when the crowd is divided into twenty thousand different directions.

The ship starts turning and we don’t know where we are. We have to do something before we crash into the rocks.

It may be time for us to base our decisions on our purpose on this earth more than on our neighbor’s opinion. It may be time for us to consider our why in our statements and arguments more than who wins the right to be right right now. It may be time for us to check our compass for truth before we believe the deception of the lies.

Knowing where we are combats the lie that we are not enough. The deception that we are all the same when we are all created so beautifully unique. The untruth that we cannot be friends if we don’t agree. Being firm in where we are right now crushes the false story that who we are to each other cannot survive a storm.

But to do so we have to know where we are. And the only way to know for sure is to use the compass we have been given. Hold on to your guidance friend. Hold on.

These times may feel impossible to navigate but we can get through this. We can get through this together. Alone will be so much harder.

Hopefully, the skies will clear, and the stars will once again light our way. Until then my friend, batten down the hatches, and grab your compass, for we are all caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. We should abandon no one.


Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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