The other week I was driving through an area in which my GSP wasn't working well. The area was unfamiliar, so I was not confident in navigating on my own without clear direction. Yet, I had no choice but to keep driving and hope that eventually my decisions would result in a correct  path to my desired designation. Then, all of a sudden the GSP, either in a fit of protest or a simple glitch, began to call out the same response repeatedly.
It sounded something like this...
Recalculating (long pause)
Recalculating (long pause)
Recalculating (long pause)
Recalculating (long pause)
Recalculating (long pause)
Recalculating (long pause)
After about a half dozen times, I burst into laughter and turned the GPS completely off. However, for the rest of the drive, (yes, I was able to figure out the correct traveling directions) I thought about that message.
When using my GPS, I set it to my specific destination. Each time I make a decision that is not aligned with the route that the GPS has planned for me, there is a moment when it needs to recalculate accordingly to continue to get me where I want to go. I suppose as a way to inform me that I will need to wait for a few seconds for the next set of instructions, the voice command announces, "recalculating."
I have to confess that there have been times, when frustrated by a wrong turn, I almost felt the voice command was essentially saying, "Hey, you messed up, try again." I projected a tone and judgment, which could not have been possible, other than in my own head. This particular time, I heard the message and tone very differently. This time, I noticed the calm, consistent tone, which simply stated the fact. The operating system needed a moment to reboot and catch up.
The truth is there are many times in our lives when we need to do just that.
Perhaps we have been moving too quickly through our days.
Perhaps we have made choices that do not align with our core values.
Perhaps we have made decisions that will not lead us to our desired destination.
Or perhaps we have simply gotten distracted by too many things in life and have not been attentive and responsive to the signs of the Spirit calling to our attention.
The truth is there are times when we need to take a breath.
Times when we need to pause and be patient with ourselves.
Times when we need to listen to the inner workings of God's Spirit within instead of the workings of our inner critic.
Times when we need to receive the grace God affords us to reevaluate, redirect and reposition our time, our energies and our resources to better follow the plans and purposes God has in mind for us.
Listen to the Spirit speaking.
Pay attention to the signs.
And ponder what this simple message might mean for you...

Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, Conference Minister