I began skiing in my early twenties at the old Blue Ridge Ski area in SoCal, and then thought that our California Concrete—heavy, icy, and packed—was normal. Then I moved to Taos and discovered powder. Totally different than California Concrete: so dry you could hardly pack it into a snowball, so soft you’d sink a foot deep as your skis compressed the fluffy cotton. But I struggled with the transition from skiing on top of the snow to inside it. One night Taos got inundated with snow so I grabbed my ski gear and headed up the mountain.
A good four feet had fallen, maybe six, and untouched powder covered the Porcupine run. I exulted in unweighting and making S turns. Until I crossed my tips. Balance lost, I planted my face into the powder and buried myself. Pushing out with my skis, I felt no solid bottom. Pushing out with my poles in all directions, I found no pushback. Only complete disorientation, no idea of up or down. Weightless. Yeah, it scared me, thinking I might not be found until spring.
Obviously, I escaped, got better in powder, and grew to love it. But I still recall that sense of total disorientation.
Yet the disorientation we can feel in life far surpasses that from powder. I’ve faced it in marriage, when my wife and I separated for several months. Married but not together. Committed but unsure if we had a future together. God stepped in with some miraculous healing in both of us, and we celebrated 40 years of close companionship just last week, as I write this.
Job uncertainty can cause it, or the loss of those we love, losing our purpose in life. Even spiritually, we can lose direction. So how do we reorient?
We need a base line. Something solid, something always there, a firm foundation. How do we get that? A couple of principles might help in building a foundation that orients us.
First, lean on the reality of God. Honest, the evidence points that way. I’ve seen legal arguments, philosophical, fulfilled prophecy, astronomical, and more. Be convinced that the reality of God that transformed the lives of the apostles works for you. Do some research if you need it
Second, gain confidence in Jesus’s presence every moment of our days, “surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Even when he seems absent, hang onto this truth.
Third, recognize the care of God. His love for us comes from his core nature. The most popular verse affirms that, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16). You’ll see that echoed throughout the Bible.
Fourth, trust in his actions in our dark times. Not only does he exist, not only does he accompany us and care for us, but he acts. “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God” (Romans 8:28, NLT). In ways we often don’t see until later, God promises his activity.
Yes, we’ll face situations that threaten to disorient us. But unlike my face plant that day in Taos, we can find something solid to hang on to.
Kick Starting the Application
Think back to one of your disorientations. What caused it? How did you get out of it? Did one of those four steps help? What practical steps can you take now to prepare for the next one? Which of these four do you most need to develop?