Are You Using A Broken Compass?

April 28, 2015

Compass 1In Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow, and at times others too, uses what initially appears to be a broken compass to achieve his goals. Turns out, the compass points to what the holder wants most and not to true north, which means the person holding it must actually know what he wants in order for the compass to be of use.

At one point, the compass spins without fixing in one direction because Jack doesn’t know what he wants. The compass follows the holder’s heart, after all, so if the heart is confused, so too is the compass.

When I lose focus, I feel like I’m trying to follow a compass that spins in circles too. My path gets confused with too many options, and I don’t know which direction to take. Like Jack, I become lost in a vast, unending sea, sort of floating around in aimless frustration.

Lost and Wandering?

Compass 2“People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” (Amos 8:12)

“Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when he acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.” (Job 23:8-9)

“The toil of a fool so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city.” (Ecclesiastes 10:15)

These Scriptures aptly describe life with a confused focus or “broken compass.” They also help us see why we remain unable to move forward in ways that matter for eternity when our compass spins uncontrollably.

  1. We never settle on God’s Word, and instead seek solutions elsewhere.
  2. We think God can’t see us just because we can’t see Him.
  3. We fail to fix our thoughts on Him and become increasingly confused.
  4. We get hung up on our ability to understand or figure God out.
  5. We become overwhelmed by the temporary cares of life this side of Heaven.

Though I stay in that wandering state less than I used too, it still happens way too often. Maybe you feel this same frustration too.

Only when we focus our hearts do we know the right direction to take. But how do we get that focus? Sometimes even more difficult, how do we keep that focus once we obtain it?

10 Responses to “Are You Using A Broken Compass?”

  1. cycleguy Says:

    Great application Kari. Love the illustration of the compass. Sort of been the story of my life from time to time.
    My recent post HandOff

  2. Mark Allman Says:

    I know I must at times be driven by a compass that points to that which I want. I must fight against that and follow the compass laid out in the Bible in order to find what truly gives life not that which I at times am convinced does.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      We're pretty good at convincing ourselves that what we want is what we should be pursuing, when often it's not. Being perfected means we are letting that part of ourselves die and are instead pursuing that which we know God desires for us. I'm in that place often too, Mark.

  3. jason1scott Says:

    I've felt the same call recently, reminding me to make room for Him. Life becomes crowded just as you said. He gives us opportunity to turn around before it turns painful. Great reminder here, Kari. Thank you.
    My recent post The (Anti)Gospel of Self-Effort

    • Kari Scare Says:

      It’s been an almost constant theme in my life for the past 5 years now. Always learning more. Trying to stay teachable and working through that with writing. Thanks, Jason.

  4. bettydraper1947 Says:

    Great points to remember when our compass spins, thanks Kari.

  5. Chris Says:

    I think the illustration of a compass perfectly describes how God has designed us to live. Interestingly enough, He doesn't give us a map with step-by-step directions of what to do minute-by-minute, day-by-day. Instead, through His word He has given us the parameters in which to live our lives and has instilled certain desires in us to pursue for His glory. So often we just have to take a step of faith and pursue a specific direction, not knowing how it will turn out. Sometimes we need to stop and look back at the story of our lives to see how He has woven it all together. This may give us an indication of the focus He is calling us toward.
    My recent post The Commitment Phobia

    • Kari Scare Says:

      It definitely does for me, Chris. The visual it gives really helps me to remember to continually check my focus and see where my heart is leading me. Stopping & looking back is a great point. All through the OT and even in the NT, God's people remembered what he did and what he promised and made this part of their continual recommitment and refocusing on him. We would do well to do the same remembering regularly today.

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