I flew on a company plane while working for a corporate security firm. During this time I learned a little about the inner workings of aviation. VFR (Visual Flight Rules) and IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) were two terms I heard every time we flew. VFR means a pilot has good weather and can generally see where the plane is going. IFR occurs when visibility is very limited and the pilot must use the planes instruments to fly. Pilots who fly IFR are trained to ignore their own senses and instincts and rely on the aircrafts instruments to navigate safely. There are documented cases of accidents being caused when a pilot flying IFR ignored the instruments because their own senses contradicted the information the plane was relaying. Resulting in the pilot flying into the ground. (See JFK Jr Plane Crash Investigation).
When this loss of positioning occurs it’s called, ‘Spatial disorientation’ which means: a condition in which an aircraft pilot’s perception of direction does not agree with reality.
I’ve never piloted a plane before; but I know this feeling!
I admit to going thru life using my senses to orientate myself. As you might expect this has resulted in more than one spectacular crash. As a society we may not have bad weather to blame for our poor navigational skills. But our surroundings are absolutely cluttered with an overwhelming amount of distractions which clouds our judgement and keeps us from reaching our true destination.
I believe Christians are especially vulnerable to a ‘spiritual spatial disorientation’. If we rely on what God teaches us in His Word a path can be charted thru any storm. God shows us how to act towards unbelievers, how to treat each other and how to be light in this dark world. But we struggle against what we are taught, relying on instincts when our own perception of direction does not agree with reality, God’s reality. And when we end up in a nose dive, we respond by what we see and feel. So, instead of pulling up, we accelerate, convinced we’re about to stall as the ground is racing to meet us.
Here are three ways I found which helped me trust what I’ve been instructed, rather than what I see.
Talk Dangerously. A few years ago I began a mens group. In the initial invitation to friends I warned this group wouldn’t be a typical Bible study. We would be discussing everything most people say we shouldn’t in public; politics, race relations, sexuality, political correctness, religion, marriage and fatherhood. We met every week for three years, it was by far the most rewarding group I ever attended. By talking dangerously we lifted the vail on many shared struggles which built strong relationships which last to this day.
Find A Cause. Our most valuable asset is not money, but time. We can give a long list of reasons why we don’t have the time to get involved with the many needs in our communities. But getting involved gives us perspective or ‘orientation’ to the reality of others. Here are some worthy causes to consider: Big Brother, Big Sisters, Gospel Mission, Reclaiming Futures and The Victory Project
Go To The Source. There’s no better way to prepare for the tests in life than to read God’s Word. No serious person looking to pass an important exam for a work promotion or doctoral dissertation, for example, we would never consider winging it. When it’s really important to us we prepare by studying, seeking council and practicing. If you truly want help, go to the Source, it all starts and ends there. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you”. – Matthew 7:7.
Finally, look for opportunities to put these ideas into action. I am convinced by trusting God, you will find a joy which passes understanding. For we live by faith, not by sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7.
You are now cleared for take-off my friend.