How to Get Back on Track

When was the last time you found yourself lost in a certain place? Getting lost in unfamiliar territory is both a scary and challenging thought. Scary because you’ll never know what lies ahead, and nothing is more frightening than the unknown. Moreover, challenging because you’ll discover more of yourself and more of the world around you. It is like opening a new door of opportunity of learning and maturing in life.

But what if getting lost leaves you in a desperate state of helplessness and you can’t seem to find yourself out? What if after all the good intentions to get to your destination you ended up lost in the middle of nowhere?

As you journey towards your purpose in life, there will be times when you find yourself losing focus and losing your way. You are not getting any nearer towards your goal. When this happens, consider these as your spiritual guide to get you back on track:

Evaluate your situation

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23

Acknowledge your situation. Be honest about yourself and to yourself. Personally, there are times when it is obvious that I need help from people around me but I choose to remain silent because I don’t want to be seen as helpless and vulnerable. Obviously, this is pride. When you are lost, you are lost; when you need help, you need help. It doesn’t make you less of a person.

Personally, there are times when it is obvious that I need help from people around me but I choose to remain silent because I don’t want to be seen as helpless and vulnerable. Obviously, this is pride. When you are lost, you are lost; when you need help, you need help. It doesn’t make you less of a person.

When you find yourself lost and in utter helplessness, look within yourself. Evaluate your situation in a truthful manner. Don’t allow pride to lead the way or else you will be left without help. There will be people around who are willing to help and guide you for you to get back on track – don’t hesitate to receive help. Fulfilling your life’s purposes doesn’t have to be a one-man journey, it can be a community project.

Moreover, as you evaluate your situation, allow God to search your heart and deepest emotions. Allow Him to check where did all went wrong and which of the decisions you made in the past led you into the wrong path you are taking now. Let Him make you halt for a moment, evaluate your thoughts and decisions, rest for a while and be your compass to lead you right.

Go back to the Source

“It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect”. Psalm 18:32

Sometimes, it is easier to go back to where you started than to continue walking towards uncertainty. Never hesitate to go back from where you started. It will spare you from lots of wasted opportunities and resources.

Likewise, as soon as you have acknowledged your situation and have made a complete stop, find strength in the Lord. Go back to the ultimate source of your passion and purpose. Remember that our purpose in life comes from Him and him alone, so the timing and the strength and wisdom to carry through will come from Him. He is the power source so plug yourself in Him. He is the power source so go back to Him to recharge yourself with determination to be energized in your life’s journey.

Some people, as they go through life, often forget that God is and must be involved in their life’s journey. God is left in the sidelines and the will to move forward becomes centered only towards self-fulfillment and self-glory. This is the reason why purposes are derailed, people lose focus and determinations are sapped.

Go back to the Source.

Take one step at a time

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

As you get pumped up with your renewed energy, don’t rush in! Learn from your past mistakes and be careful in making your decisions. Remember that life is not a race you need to compete with, but a journey to enjoy and learn from. Take little steps if needed. Take strides when necessary – what matters is you take life seriously and by faith. You don’t have to test the depths of the water with both feet.

Remember that life is not a race you need to compete with, but a journey to enjoy and learn from. Take little steps if needed. Take strides when necessary – what matters is you take life seriously and by faith. You don’t have to test the depths of the water with both feet.

Allow the Lord to direct your steps. Allow the Lord to direct your decisions. Your purposes life has to be shaped and directed by His pacing and by His timing. He wants the best for you, He wants you to learn from Him. So trust His timing, take one step at a time.

When things go wrong, you don’t have to be discouraged. Our life’s purpose remains and is not dependent upon our present circumstances, but about God himself – the author and our purpose-giver. So when you can’t find yourself in the middle of your journey, take a pause: evaluate your situation, go back to the Source and take one step at a time.

Photo by Austris Augusts on Unsplash

What Does It Mean to be Gentle

I had a classmate who talks very gently. Her voice is soothing and sounds like a lullaby. Whenever she talks in front of the class, everyone seems to be attentive because of the manner of her speaking. Not to sound stereotypical but she is an Ilongga, and Filipino culture say it is one of the reasons for her sweet-soft voice.  

Some of the instances we use the word gentleness is when we refer to a person’s manner of speaking, or the way one moves. Men of culture are expected to be gentlemen. But in derogatory circles, those who are effeminate are regarded as unmanly. Harsh words and rash actions are considered ungentle responses.  

But what does it really mean to be gentle?  

Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit 

Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, as mentioned in Galatians 5. As Christians, we must exhibit gentleness in the way we speak and act. Brutality and harshness has no room in the Body of Christ. But just like a real fruit, it might take time to develop.  

I personally know many who struggles with being gentle. Their words offend people, albeit unintentional. They hide under the guise of being frank and truthful. But harsh words, when spoken, can never be taken back. It cuts like a blade. It pierces the emotions.  

Paul reminds the Philippians, “let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5). It has an imperative tone because not many of us are naturally gentle. Also, our forms of gentleness are not always evident to people. We claim to be kind and nice but sometimes it doesn’t show. Thus the instruction.  

Though this is a fruit and it might take us some time to fully learn the habit of being gentle, let us all remember that a mark of maturity is when our gentleness develops in an increasing measure. If you know you struggle with being gentle, learn to be one, not just for the sake of those around you but more so for yourself.  

Gentleness is not weakness 

In a misogynistic culture, being gentle is considered weak. Men are taught to display bravado and try to intimidate others to rule over them. Gentleness has no place when you want to outdo others. But the only time we should outdo others is when we express our brotherly love to them. Paul reminds us to “love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).  

The most common illustration of gentleness is a smiling Jesus carrying a little lamb on his arms. It exudes a warm and comfortable feeling of compassion, care and love. It pictures Jesus as soft and tender, ready to embrace us as he sings for us. But this same Jesus once overturned the merchant tables within the temple courts’ premises when he got angry for the desecration of the supposed house of worship. Jesus is both referred to as a lamb and a lion, meek and strong. 

Gentleness is not a weakness. The meek is not weak! If this is so, then Moses is not qualified to lead, and so is Jesus. Gentleness is strength under control. Rather than angrily overreact or passively underreact in any given situation, the gentle person chooses to do what is right – assess the situation, calmly respond with a well-thought of solution. It takes emotion to react without thinking. It takes strength to stay calm and be gentle even when things get out of control.  

Gentleness is commendable 

Who would you like to be with, a person who offends you with truth or a sweet-talker who spews lies? Of course I’d rather be with someone who speaks the truth, always. But let me propose a better option: how about a person who knows how to speak the truth in love but also knows how to be gentle?  

Proverbs 15: 1 says “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. I always believe that everything we say must be true, but not all truth has to be said. Sometimes we need to “hold our horses” and time our rebuke. It takes wisdom to speak the right words at the right time. What does it benefit us if we prove ourselves right but we lose the confidence of a person?  

If Jesus is not gentle with his words, I am sure no one will choose to stay by his side. Day in and day out, people flock towards him, listening to the words he speak. Yes, he offends the priests of his day. His words pierces the hearts of those who listens to him. But more often than not, he is gentle and compassionate, and his love soothes the wounds caused by sin of his hearers.  

To the lady caught in adultery, his words brought restoration and hope. 

To the Samaritan woman, his words brought acceptance and joy. 

To Zaccheus, his words prompted repentance and dignity. 

If Jesus is known to be a harsh-talking person hiding under the guise of being frank and “real”, these people would not even bother to talk nor listen to Jesus. But Jesus is approachable. He is not intimidating. In fact, even the little children loves to be around him! 

Gentleness is an outward display of our changed life. If we remain to be sulky, irritable, harsh and easily-angered, people will doubt whether we really are Christians. Worse, we misrepresent Jesus with our ungentle countenance.  

HOW DO WE SHOW GENTLENESS 

If you are struggling to be gentle in the way you speak or act towards others, let me suggest the following practical action plans: 

  1. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. This is James’ instruction to the readers of his gospel. We should listen more than we should speak. Doing the opposite is considered rude. 
  2. Be more emphatic. Whenever you feel tempted to comment about something or someone, try wearing their shoes first. If you know where people are coming from, you will be more considerate next time. 
  3. Be intentionally gentle. Before you spew those words or give unsolicited comments, remind yourself that it is more important to win the person more than winning an argument. Practice gentleness on a regular basis, and be more intentional. 
  4. Be ready to overlook an offense. The reason why people become harsh towards others is because either they easily get offended or they don’t want their rights to be stepped on. Learn to surrender your rights and privileges from time to time. As Proverbs 19:11 says, “good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” 

We may have different personalities and temperaments but let us remember that the world does not revolve around us. Instead of expecting people to adjust to us, let us win their affection by being gentle towards them.  

Photo by Liz Sloweiser on Unsplash