Follow the Guide

It’s easy to get lost in the endless rain forests of the Amazon basin.

Author Ben Patterson reports an experience that is common for visiting Westerners.

They will approach local villagers and ask for directions to a place they want to go.

“I have a compass, a map, and some coordinates, if you can just point the way.”

The villagers know exactly how to reach that spot.  But they will typically decline to give directions.

“Let me take you there myself,” one of the locals will insist.
“That’s nice,” says the visitor.  “But I don’t really need a guide.  Just tell me what landmarks to look for.”
“That’s no good,” says the villager.  “I must take you there myself.”
“But I have a map,” replies the outsider, perhaps becoming exasperated.  “And these coordinates.  And GPS.”
“It does not work that way.  I can get you there, but I must take you myself.  You must follow me.”

Modern world people love directions.

We love maps.  And compasses.  And bullet points, leadership principles, and strategic initiatives.

As Patterson observes, these items all have one thing in common:

They leave us in control.

If I’m holding the GPS indicator in my hand, I’m still in charge of the trip.

I can still turn left or right if I want to turn left or right.

But if I’m following a guide, then my job has radically changed.

Now my job is merely…to follow.

So what’s the best way through the jungle you’re facing this week?  Through that tangle of family relationships, or the project at work that seems to have become a depressing swamp?

You can do what you always do:  take charge and try not to get lost.

Or you can do something far wiser:

Stop right now and ask for a Guide.

— Authored by Glenn McDonald


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