Photo by Corey Amaro
Driving in Indonesia is incredibly fun. I still can’t believe the freedom that drivers have on the roads. You can throw away the “rules of the road” manual in Indonesia. Rules are usually suggestions and driving etiquettes are luxuries. Also, it is not the cars that you have to watch out for but the motorcycles. They are everywhere! I have been calling them “bogies” – yes, similar to what the Air Force pilots call enemy planes. You have to dodge them well.
In the midst of enjoying the driving in Indonesia, one down side is getting lost on a consistent basis. I realized that it takes some time to get familiar with roads and especially the traffic here. There have been many times when the team and I have gotten lost on our way to various meetings. We have on numerous occasions called or texted our Indonesians friends who know their way around to help us in our “lostness.”
By getting lost so often, I have made some connections to our spiritual lives. Here are some lessons:
2) Find someone who knows the way. When we are desperate, we end up pulling over a taxi. Then we have one of our team members to get it and then we follow the taxi. It has been a lifesaver for us. We always find our destination when a taxi driver leads us. But there are occasions when the taxi drivers don’t know how to get there right away nevertheless, they get us there eventually. In the same way, it is always helpful to find someone who knows the way. This is why mentoring and even discipleship are so important to our spiritual lives. When there are people who have “walked the walk” longer than us, then they will be able to help us as they guide us in our walk.
3) Learn from all the wrong turns. After getting lost a few times to the same specific destination, we start to get wiser. We start to remember which exits to avoid and which side streets led us astray in the past. We begin to gain wisdom, as well as familiarity so that we start to get the hang of things, albeit it is usually on our third or fourth try. In the same way, part of growing up spiritually is learning from the various decisions and turns that we have made in our lives. There are situations that start to look familiar and it reminds us of how it caused us to be lost. We have to learn from this or it will cause us to continue in our “lostness.”
4) Don’t forget the landmarks. Some people are good at memorizing names of streets, but I am one of those people that loves to remember landmarks. Whether it is a bank on the corner or a hotel on the main road, all these landmarks help us to know that we are headed in the right direction. These landmarks help lead the way. In the same way, we cannot lose sight of the spiritual landmarks in our lives. They usually come in the form of retreats, conferences or experiences that help mark out God’s faithfulness or some characteristics of God in our lives.
5) Discovery in the journey. As we are driving (and getting lost), there have been many times when we have discovered different things about that city or town. We discover new coffee shops or even restaurants that might be worth visiting in the future. We are also able to see different groups of people and culture that we would have never encountered before. We would have never visited these places, but I guess it is all part of the joy in the journey. In the same way, we have to remember that in our spiritual journey, life will not always be packaged in a neat and convenient way. But part of the joy is learning to discover something new about ourselves, people and even God.
Life in Indonesia is “dynamic.” We just don’t know what to expect because things change so rapidly here. But one thing that is constant is the challenge of navigating through the crazy streets of Jakarta. But I wouldn’t trade the lessons for anything!