Online shopping has virtually killed off a cultural icon of my childhood – the mall. Once upon a time, the mall was the place to be and be seen. We played video games in the arcade, we ate at the food court, and we annoyed the mall cops. In Nashville, where I was born and raised, we had several malls to choose from, each with their own character and clientele. But what every mall had in common then, and even now, is the directory sign. You know what I’m talking about; that three-sided kiosk with advertising on two sides and a giant map of the mall on the third. To figure out where you need to go, you stand in front of that glowing panel and begin looking for the most important part, the “You Are Here” dot. Instead, you could start by looking for your destination, but seeing that Yankee Candle is on the second floor next to Sunglass Hut doesn’t help you until you know where you’re standing. What is true in the mall, is also true in life; the key to getting where we need to go is first understanding where we are.
I spend a fair amount of time in counseling conversations. Most often these are with adults, but whether the conversation is with someone young or old, I can predict whether it will be successful or not based on one thing – that person’s ability to accept the “you are here” dot on the map of their life. When we’ve done or said something we regret, when someone has let us down, when we’ve lost a job or a friendship or a marriage, the hardest thing is often just acknowledging, “this is my life right now.” Instead, we blame others, deny our circumstances, or get angry with God. Blame and denial waste time and being angry with God will never help us get from where we are to where we want to be. The key to changing our circumstance begins with an honest view of reality – coming to grips with that “you are here” dot. Until we’ve done that, we can’t move forward with faith that a new circumstance is possible.
Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world (John 16:33), but he also said that He came so that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). Regardless of age or circumstance, we all have the power to change our life for the better with God’s simple three-step plan: acknowledge where we are, believe that He has something better, and take a faithful step in that direction. The problem is that most of us stop after step two and then become frustrated when nothing seems to change. God is waiting to lift us out of frustration and into freedom, but we have to begin moving in that direction. Let’s find our “dot” this week and get moving toward a new life in Him. The kingdom of God is at hand!
Jim R. Callis
Head of School