If I’m honest when it comes to having a sense of direction, I am neither blessed with the innate ability of a homing pigeon nor cursed with a lack of geographical awareness that means a trip that should take thirty minutes often times end up taking an hour. I belong to that dangerous group of people with a vague sense of direction, who believe that once they are within the specific location it can’t be very hard locating where they are going. I have learnt with time that is not so true.
I went to visit some friends who had just moved into a new house and I made sure I kept my eyes on the road, 2nd turning right after the red building, go straight and turn left then right, then… this was easy, I told myself I could come back here on my own anytime. I had looked out for landmarks and all. So comes the fateful day when I was to take my husband to the house. He asked repeatedly, “are you sure of the way”? To which I confidently replied, “of course I am”.
Somewhere between the second turn right the streets began to look alike, where was the red building? I eventually had to swallow my pride and admit we were lost and called for directions. How did I miss the road again? I squirmed in my seat not wanting to look in my husband’s direction.
I felt like a failure, why could I not get directions right? Of course, I was silent the remainder of the journey. My husband is the exact opposite, if he’s been to a place just once he gets it all the time. Whenever we travel, he rents a car and can navigate his way easily. I wondered why I did not possess such a gift.
A lot of times, we see other people and want what they have and feel if only I had this gift or this possession my life would be a whole lot better. Peninnah was guilty of this, in the Bible she was the second wife of a man called Elkanah who had a first wife named Hannah. Hannah had no children but was greatly loved by their husband. Whenever it was time for them to offer sacrifices, Elkanah would give Peninnah and her children what they deserved but would give barren Hannah a worthy portion (more than she deserved). Go figure, the barren woman was loved and the woman with children tolerated. What a strange twist of events. Having children doesn’t guarantee that your spouse will see you or hear you or better still be intimate with you, ask Leah, she had first-hand experience with her husband Jacob. Peninnah’s jealously drove her to taunting and making Hannah’s life miserable. That definitely did not help her situation because of people around her. If you ask Peninnah she would blame it all on Hannah but the real culprit was herself.
What do you do when your boss bypasses you for that promotion? What do you do when your father loves your sister more than you? What do you do when everything you’ve tried has absolutely no influence on the person you love? Switch gears! I say. It is time for you to say I don’t need your attention to make me whole. I don’t have to have your listening ear in order to feel valued.
There’s tremendous freedom from anxiety and inner emotional turmoil when you turn from seeking the attention of others and focus your heart, mind and soul on praising God. The more you praise the Lord, the less concerned you become about whether another person sees you or listens to you. Because when you praise the Lord you restore your true identity. You begin to see God for who He is. The more you see who God is, the more you see who He is to you and the more you see how valuable you are to Him. He is the one that created you to be somebody, not a nobody. Unfortunately, Peninnah never learnt this lesson. Eventually, Hannah had children, one of whom was the greatest prophet that ever lived; Prophet Samuel. Somehow Peninnah fizzled out of the picture; her jealousy had driven her to oblivion.
When we discover God’s love, we discover we are His workmanship “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you” (Jer 1:5). People who don’t know they are God’s workmanship spend a lot of time trying to be what they were not created to be. God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). Wonderfully means that you are unique. Your uniqueness makes you special and distinctive. Nobody can do what you can do exactly the way you do it.
So instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on the things you do have and be thankful. I might not have a great sense of direction, but I have an innate gift of knowing the best route to pass and not end up in traffic.