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Do you sometimes feel lost and confused about what direction to take in your life?
Some years ago, I was facing a lot of changes and adjustments, as well as new opportunities and possibilities (including a new job). Naturally, I was feeling excited yet stressed, encouraged yet confused. I was praying about all of it, of course, but still felt somewhat overwhelmed. I asked for a sign to help me know what direction to take with some of my goals. One night, I had the following dream:
Dream: “The Unknown Road”
As the dream begins, I am driving my car along a beautiful but unfamiliar country road. I am alone, with no particular destination in mind – just going for a ride on a beautiful summer day. I am driving carefully, especially at intersections, although there is little traffic in that rural area. The scenery is gorgeous, with gentle, rolling green hills in the distance, and the sky is a lovely blue with some puffy cumulus clouds. But then I notice some wisps of black in the sky and become frightened, thinking a storm is approaching. Then I see some men fixing the road up ahead and realize that it had not been black clouds that I had seen, but smoke rising from a machine that is mixing hot asphalt.
The road then ends at a “T”-type intersection. I don’t know whether to turn left or right. I pull over to the side, stop the car and get out, looking for a street or destination sign, but see none. The scenery here is breathtaking, because up ahead I see beautiful mountains and an enormous cathedral, bigger than any building I’ve ever seen, with the ornate, beautiful architecture common in old cathedrals. As I scan the panorama, I’m dismayed to see some ugly industrial buildings to the right and left in the distance. I think what a shame it is that they’re spoiling the beautiful landscape. The sight of them lends an eerie, desolate aspect to the scenery, giving me a creepy feeling. I wonder if I should ask someone where I am, so that I can figure out how to get back home. At first I resist, because I really had wanted to figure it out for myself, but with no signs to guide me, it doesn’t seem possible.
As the dream ends, I realize that I’ll have to ask someone for directions.
When I awoke, I realized how perfectly symbolic this dream was of my current situation. Roads, of course, symbolize the path we are taking in life. The road I was on, though beautiful, was rather narrow, which brought to mind “the narrow way” mentioned in the Gospels, and it was long and winding, showing that I still have far to go. The black clouds that I saw, which turned out to be harmless smoke from a truck doing street repairs, seemed to mean that some of my fears were groundless, and that my attempts to “repair” the things that are wrong in my life might be scary and upsetting sometimes, but necessary.
The T-intersection symbolized the fact that I can’t travel in the same direction forever; eventually I will come to a crossroads and have to make a decision and choose a new direction. I believed that the great cathedral in the distance represented my spiritual aspirations, and its huge size showed that it was an extremely important aspect of my life. The industrial buildings felt “creepy” and also made me angry with the way they ruined the beautiful landscape. Since industry is another word for work, I felt that they symbolized my fear of being overwhelmed with mundane work to the point where I’d be unable to fulfill my higher ambitions and spiritual goals.
The dream was inconclusive, because it ended with my still being at the crossroads. To get more insight into this dream and what it might be trying to tell me, I put my mind into a passive, receptive state and used my personal method to connect with my inner guidance. Through the process of inspirational writing, I received the following message about my dream:
“Become as a traveler who is not totally sure of the way, so he asks Someone who knows the area well to guide him. From the traveler’s viewpoint, sometimes the road will be deceptive. He might think one direction will lead him where he wants to go, only to find that it winds around and around, and he ends up back where he started. The wise traveler will admit his ignorance of the way and seek help. He will follow the direction of a knowledgeable person, even though sometimes the road that is pointed out seems like it could not possibly be the right one. The shortest path is sometimes the wrong one, and the experienced guide will know this, but the traveler, who is unfamiliar with the territory, will not.
“If sometimes the road ahead looks deceptively easy and you are fooled into thinking it is the right one, you might get lost. But if you seek the help of God, Who knows the way, you will never go wrong. You still might have to travel a great distance, go over many obstacles and follow a very tortuous road, but in the end you will reach your goal.
“The traveler who goes nowhere is the one who is too proud to ask directions, who goes his own way no matter what the circumstances. Do not be like this traveler, but like the one who is humble enough to know when he needs guidance.
“Ignore those who will tell you that sometimes you must hurt others to get ahead. If you aspire to this sort of success, you are on the wrong path. ‘Getting ahead’ this way is only a euphemism for selfishly grasping at things that are only temporary. This will give you nothing but grief. You will ponder what you achieved and find it empty. Honor first what God has asked of you — to use your gifts and talents for the benefit of others and to glorify God. If you do this, you will achieve your goals, find true contentment, and overcome the obstacles which hinder your growth. This will give you a freedom that no earthly success can ever give. Do not heed the discordant voices that try to lead you astray. They are only empty noise in a space that is devoid of any true peace or happiness.”
I have shared this dream and message to encourage you, if you are feeling lost and confused about what direction to take in your own life. After you consider all the known choices you can make and paths you can take, surrender it to Higher Power. Ask to be shown the way, through your own inner guidance. Do not depend only on your intellect; leave room for your intuition and inner knowing. Open your mind to possibilities and opportunities you may have not considered yet, and try not to cling stubbornly to ideas that clearly are not working out and need to be revised or discarded.
It’s funny how we usually trust a GPS system to tell us how to get to a destination. If we make a wrong turn and find ourselves being corrected by the GPS, would we sit in our car and argue with it, insisting that the road we took, which is clearly in the opposite direction, is the right one and that the GPS is wrong? No, most of the time we will follow the GPS directions without question. Yet, when our inner guidance, directed by Higher Power, is emphatically showing us that we need to take a detour, we question and resist it. A GPS system can sometimes be wrong; but God is never wrong. So, let’s give God at least as much trust as we put into our modern-day, man-made technology!
Several years ago, I started saying this prayer every morning, adding it at the end of my daily prayer to the Holy Spirit. It is based on Psalm 25:4-5: “Show me the path where I should go, O Lord; teach me the right road to walk. Lead me in Your truth and teach me Your ways, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”
Here are some additional Scripture verses about God’s guidance. I hope they will inspire you in your own life’s journey:
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
- “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” ~ Psalm 32:8
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” ~ James 1:5
- “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” ~ Isaiah 30:21
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” ~ Psalm 119:105
- And finally, take comfort in the promise of Isaiah 42:16: “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.”