When we first moved back East, I realized very quickly that I needed a GPS of some sort--either just a GPS or a smart-phone that had a GPS-app. I use my GPS-app on my phone on a daily basis, and I rely on it completely to help me get to the places I both want and need to be, and most importantly, it gets me home safely from those places.
As I've been driving around relying solely on this GPS function, I've often had the thought pop into my mind that my GPS is a good spiritual application.
Whenever I want to go somewhere, I always type in the address--or where I want to end up. I have no idea what route to take to get there, but my GPS does, so I have to trust that my GPS won't lead me astray. Likewise, I know that I eventually want to return home to my Heavenly Father. I knew that I wanted to get married and have a family, and I knew that I wanted to graduate from college. Those big life goals I knew I wanted, but Heavenly Father guided me through small steps (and sometimes I had to step into the darkness and trust Him completely), but then I successfully reached my end goal.
My GPS talks to me, giving me step by step directions and guiding me through each turn and light and on-ramp. There are sometimes where the GPS has enough distance to warn me of what's coming up ("Stay on this road for 2 miles and then take exit 64"), and other times where the next step jumps out of nowhere ("Now in 500 feet turn right"). The Holy Ghost will sometimes warn us when trials or temptations are coming our way, and other times, life just happens to us and we have to roll with the punches, but our spiritual GPS is still there telling us how to navigate through unknown roads.
If I am talking on the phone, my GPS will still talk to me through the phone and give me directions, but it is a very quiet voice. Whenever instructions come, I have to listen very intently and tune out of my conversation on the phone for a second while I listen to the instructions the GPS is telling me. Just like in life, we will have many conversations and many things to juggle, and the Holy Ghost speaks to us very quietly. We need to tune out those other voices in order to hear where we need to go.
There are other times when I miss a turn or take a wrong exit--most times on accident, but other times on purpose. Sometimes I think I know what route is best and ignore the route my GPS has given me--often times I'm wrong. Sometimes I think I know what is best for my life and what route is best for me to take, but Heavenly Father always knows what is best for me, and His timing is best for me. Other times I will miss a turn on accident, either because I forget what the GPS said, or I have the voice turned off, or it comes up to fast and I miss it. Sometimes in life, I forget to read my scriptures, I tune out the Holy Ghost because I'm too distracted with other things, or my life is so busy that I miss spiritual promptings. The thing I love most about my GPS, is whenever I get off-route, it simply says "rerouting" or "recalculating." I'm sure my GPS would really like to just say "You idiot! I've been telling you for the past 4 miles that you have to turn here! How could you miss it?! I gave you 3 warnings! Now we have to figure out a new route and it's going to take us longer to get to your destination! Listen up next time!" Now that I think about it that would actually be pretty funny if my phone started yelling at me ;) Heavenly Father doesn't scold us if we mess up--it's bound to happen. We're not perfect, and we don't get everything right the first time. Heavenly Father simply gives us another option to get to where we want to go. Sure, it might be harder, more of an inconvenience, or take us longer, but we will eventually get to where we are going as long as we listen to that still, small voice.
There are other times where I supposedly arrive at my destination (perhaps at a shopping center or a road that is under construction), and the GPS says "You have arrived at your destination." I look around, and think "Um, this is my destination? I don't see the store." Sometimes my GPS puts me in a huge shopping center, or within 1000 feet of my destination, and once I get there I have to look around a little bit to find the store. I think it's that way in life sometimes as well. Heavenly Father leads us down a particular path and we could say "Um, this is what you had planned for me?" It isn't until we open up our spiritual eyes and look for why Heavenly Father has placed us somewhere that we realize it was what we wanted all along, and then some.
I'm grateful for both my physical GPS and my spiritual GPS. Both guide me every step of the way and get me to where I want to go.