Column: Course corrections

I was going to write a column about how important it is to be on time in the new year but decided that would be a bad idea given I’m late on this column! Okay, not really, but I am late. Even when you factor Parker Time into the equation I’m still late. There’s a very good reason for that – it’s called looking for a topic to write about!

Let’s face it, most what could be said about new years has already been said many times over. Worse yet is the fact I’m confident it’s also been said far better than I am capable of doing. Never-the-less I’m a columnist so onward I go!

Do you think that maybe I ought to do a little planning ahead here? Maybe. Which brings me to the real topic this month – course correction. I was surprised to find that if you google that term you get all kind of hits. There are books, courses and videos on course correction. I guess I should have known but until I checked I hadn’t thought about the term all that much.

That’s because I usually hear it used politically. This office holder is making a course correction in his policies, that one in her position on a certain issue, etc. I don’t know about you but when I hear a term like that thrown around by lots of talking heads on TV I tend to discount it as just more jibber jabber from the crowd in DC.

But of course the term doesn’t come from politics. It comes from those who travel, whether that’s on the ground or the sea or in the air. Course correction is an absolute necessity if you are going long distances with few if any landmarks to help guide you on your way. It used to be a fairly complex undertaking using maps, compasses, lots of math that I could probably never do, star gazing, and so on. Whew! Intimidates me just writing about it.

So a ship or a plane regularly checks its position and, if they find they are off course, they adjust their speed and heading to get back on the right course. Traveling is great but it’s really helpful if you get to where you are going, otherwise it’s not so great. And, believe it or not, in this age of GPS and computers, that still happens every once in a while.

Of course that’s exactly the kind of thing we tend to think about around the beginning of each new year. I know, I know. You’ve heard this a million times and have quit making new year’s resolutions because they don’t work. I couldn’t agree more, usually they don’t work.

A resolution, however, isn’t a course correction. To correct your course, you have to have a course – to actually have a fairly clear idea of where you’re going – in the first place. People just out for a walk or a Sunday drive don’t have to make course corrections because they don’t have a course; they are just wandering around. Wandering around can be a lot of fun, but it’s not recommended if you want to get to a specific place at a particular time.

So you see the analogy, right? Apply this to your life and then ask yourself, “Do I have a course to correct?” If not, do you want to just wander through your life, or would you rather fix a course and start moving in that direction?

The choice is completely up to you. That’s the great thing about life. We are given a life to live and are completely free to choose how we are going to live it. This freedom isn’t without consequences, of course. If you choose to wander around then don’t be surprised if you end up nowhere. And if you choose to set a course in a particular direction, then don’t complain when you go there and not a whole lot of other places.

You see, that’s the thing about course correcting, you have to choose a direction to move in, which means you go in that direction, not in the thousands of others you could have chosen. In the end you’ll go where you have chosen to move. And you don’t go elsewhere.

So, it behooves us to choose wisely.

Right now I’m in the middle of some course corrections in my life. I’m not quite ready to unveil what form that will take, but when it’s ready I will. This is a small correction as things go, but I’m excited about what could result from it. It’s a great feeling to know you are in the right place, doing the right thing for yourself and others. That sets you free to sharpen your focus and do what you do even better. That’s the goal of correcting a course and that’s what I hope will happen for me.

One last thought. Don’t wait for or worry about what the date on the calendar is. Check your course regularly and when you see an opportunity to hew more closely to your course, take it. In the end you’ll be glad you did.

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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

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