I had a preconceived idea this morning.  I believed if I made a right turn while driving I could later make a left turn to head me back in the right direction.  But, I learned my preconceived idea was wrong.  I also pushed out of my head a true fact: I have no sense of direction.  I will, if at an intersection where I don’t know which way to turn, always turn in the opposite direction I should go. 

This morning I gave my son a ride to work because the car he drives is in the shop for a few repairs.  After dropping him off I decided to take some side streets home rather than battle any potential traffic jam ups.  I meandered along enjoying the scenic view of landscaped yards with pretty spring flowers.  I turned onto the street which would take me home.  As luck would have it a few blocks later I arrived at an intersection where a road sign clearly stated,”Right Turn Only”.  I needed to continue straight and would have ignored the signs instructions, but the traffic I had previously tried to avoid whizzed passed me in both directions.  I made a right turn per the instructions of the road sign.  I then made a left turn to make up for the right turn.  I continued my spring flower sight-seeing so I didn’t mind this little detour.  The little road twisted and turned and when I came to the end of it I  wasn’t sure of my location, but relying on my intuition, I made another left turn.  When the road ended I turned again based in my intuition.  I was a little lost but pretty sure I was going in a direction which would take me home and hoped I would soon recognize a landmark.  I did recognize a landmark, but I was going in the exact opposite direction of home.  I’m not sure why, but it surprised me to discover I was going in the wrong direction.   I made a U-turn, secure in the idea I now knew where I was going.  But another road sign popped up in front of me, “Road Closed”.  I made a quick left, but another road sign loomed ahead of me which clearly stated “No Outlet”.  I decided I really was lost and couldn’t get home on my own.  I pulled over to the side of the road, right in front of a road sign that said, “No Parking At Anytime”.  I picked up my phone, clicked on the map app and typed in my home address.

Preconceived ideas and ignoring the truth can cause us more trouble than we would like to think about.  We have preconceived ideas about where our lives should go, about what career directions our kids should take, and about how our friends should treat us.  We have more pre-conceived ideas about what the teacher should be teaching in his class or how the pastor should be running the church or how people should be treating us with more respect.   Then there is the truth we like to ignore: God’s pre-conceived ideas are better than our own.  “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” (1Corinthians 2:9).  “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us…” (Ephesians 3:20). “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5) and “For I know the plans I have for you….” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Preconceived ideas have a bad connotation, but we are all preconceived ideas.  God preconceived us to walk in His paths of righteousness.   Just like I pushed the truth that I have no sense of direction out of my head and continued with my plan to take the back roads home rather than staying on the main roads, we like our own preconceived ideas and push on to accomplish them.  We think we can clearly see our own way little realizing the troubles we are creating for ourselves.  We find it scary to go on the path God has created for us.  It requires believing in something we can’t see.   “We live by faith, not by sight”  (2Corinthians 5:7).  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Here is a short parable to illustrate;  I’m sitting on a small hill out in nature enjoying the beautiful view.  Jesus walks up to me and asks me to join Him in a climb up the tall mountain in the distance.  I hesitate, the view is really nice right where I’m sitting and I was just daydreaming plans to build a house on the very hill I’m sitting on when Jesus walked up to me and interrupted my reverie.  I look at that tall mountain in the distance…..Jesus wants me to climb that?  I don’t really care for exercise and I can just imagine the aching muscles I’ll have at the end of the day.  But Jesus counteracts my thoughts as if He can read my mind.  He says, “You can sit on this little hilltop and see for miles around, but if you climb this mountain with Me, your view will be greatly increased.  The higher we go the more you can see and the more I can point out to you.  There is joy in knowing Me more deeply, but you will also experience a deeper sadness at some of what you will see.  The more time you spend with Me the more your heart will become like mine and your love and compassion for others will grow.  At the top of the mountain I have already prepared a home for you.  A home far more beautiful than the one you are planning on building for yourself here.”  He reaches out his hand and asks, “Will you give up your preconceived ideas about life and follow Me?”