Looking for a sign

April 24, 2008 — Leave a comment

Last night my family and I had the pleasure of dining at an upscale restaurant, a special treat by my mother-in-law to celebrate a recent personal achievement. The food was delicious, and the service was superb. Our server was knowledgeable about the menu and featured items, and she took great care to keep our water glasses filled. That is definitely one of my benchmarks for quality service.

Toward the end of the meal, my son expressed a certain urgency to find a restroom. Of course, our server was nowhere in sight at that time, so I went on a little expedition to scout out the restrooms. Being the man that I am, I thought I could do fine without stopping for directions. I looked in a couple different seemingly logical places but to no avail. Finally, in an act of sheer desperation, I went to the hostess desk and asked.

The hostess guided us into a dimly-lit bar area that was bustling with activity. As I looked around the room, I could see no sign of a restroom. Then she took us around another corner into a hallway. . . still no sign. I had almost decided that she too was lost. Finally, the hostess directed us to take a left turn, where we finally found the restrooms, clearly marked by the familiar silhouettes of a man and a woman. By that point, I was really glad that my son’s urgency wasn’t TOO urgent, if you know what I mean.

How many times in life do we do this? We know the problem. We know what we need. We just don’t know how to get there.

I find that is frequently the case for those who come to a counseling session for the first time. Usually they have some indication of what the problem is. They frequently have some idea what they need. They simply struggle to know how to get from where they are to where they want to be.

Maybe you find yourself feeling that way from time to time. Like me in the restaurant, you look around in all the logical places only to find yourself increasingly frustrated by a growing sense of urgency and a still-unmet need. The good news is that you don’t have to walk circles in the dark. Have the courage to lay aside your pride and ask someone for help. As hard as that may be, particularly for men, it is one of the quickest ways to take care of yourself so that you can get to the things that bring joy and fulfillment in life.

The journey may be longer than you had hoped. The path may be darker than you’d like. But getting to where you want to be is an incredible accomplishment.

If you’re struggling today to find your way — through loss, through change, or through personal or relational chaos — I encourage you to seek out the help of a capable pastor or counselor.

Ignoring the problem will not make it go away; it will only make your journey longer, your mind more confused, and your spirit more anxious.

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