Be Strong and Bold

Courage to take the next step

by Tracy Hilts

“What do you do for a living?”

The question is almost guaranteed to come up in conversation with a new acquaintance. When I say I’m a hospice chaplain the usual response is something like, “That must be a really depressing job! I sure couldn’t do it!”

Actually, my job is not depressing. Of course there is sadness, sometimes very deep sadness. But there is also profound joy and celebration of life, love and relationships. I hear the stories of lifetime loves, of pride in works accomplished, of relationships lost and restored. I am witness to conversations seasoned with the knowledge of limited time and last words. People offer me a picture of their lives and what has been important to them. In the face of death I see healings every day—healings of spiritual connections, new or renewed, with God; healings of forgiveness sought and offered, sometimes words longed to be heard for decades. When it comes down to it, people facing death can teach us a lot about healthy living!

Before GPS and Google Maps, navigators used the North Star, the only fixed point in the night sky, to help them find their way. Identifying the direction of True North could help them get where they were going when they had no other familiar reference point about their current position. True North gave them courage to take the next step forward.

God knew humanity would need help navigating the big and the small places of our journeys. Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us to “Be strong and bold … because it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” God is our True North.

Every day I partner with the “enoughness” of God, and that allows me to know peace and joy where otherwise there would be only depression and devastation. When I look to God I orient myself to True North so I can find the courage to take the next step into the home where a mother needs someone to steady her as she prepares to say goodbye to her son. I stand there in the power of God who goes before us sets us free to celebrate life with tears, laughter, stories and stillness.

When we turn towards True North we orient the dimensions of our lives along a confident path towards healthy living. We can engage life with an intentionality of purpose that offers us courage, strength, wisdom, hope, healing and boldness for the journey.

Whether it be our work life, concerning our emotional well-being, addressing life relationships, caring for our bodies with movement and nutrition, advocating for our medical well-being, or embracing our spiritual nature, we have an opportunity to tap into God’s presence with us and for us. The path forward is not always easy and sometimes it’s even hard take the next step. But no matter which aspect of our lives needs attention at the moment, adjusting and readjusting our course toward True North keeps us on the healthiest path.

Maybe I will just tell people I’m a navigator to True North.

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