Wouldn’t it be nice if God gave us a roadmap for our lives? Or even better, gave us our very own GPS machine attached to our umbilical chord at birth? We would know exactly what to do at exactly the right time. Turn here now! Date this boy! Move to Chicago in three seconds!

The idea of a human GPS machine might be a bit hilarious, but I am sure most of us wished we had a little foreknowledge at one time in our life or another. That is why so many of us know the saying, “Hindsight is 20-20.” We’ve made mistakes we wish we hadn’t. We’ve passed up opportunities we wished we hadn’t. If only we had been able to listen to a voice saying, “In two days you will come to a…”

However, we don’t have a human GPS, and I am not sure we would listen to it if we did. More often than not it would probably be saying, “recalculating!” Yet, we do have a skill that can be trained that can act like a GPS machine: perception.

Perception is what I needed my senior year of college at the beginning of winter break. Over the summer I had bought my first car, using all my savings. It wasn’t just any car though, it was a black Saab turbo, and I loved driving it around. I liked gunning the turbo and speeding around other cars just like Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder. Like most young boys hope with their cars(and even a lot of men), I also liked the way it turned girls’ heads.

I wasn’t thinking about girls as I was driving home after my last final of the semester that winter though. I was thinking of just getting home. I had been driving eleven hours through a blizzard. It was after midnight and I was tired, but I only had an hour until I reached home. The interstate thruway was closed, but I was still driving on it. The Saab handled the snow decently well and I was pushing it, going nearly fifty-five miles per hour. But then I drove over a frozen bridge and the back end of my car decided it wanted to take the lead. My car went nose first into the concrete side rail, which thankfully held, or I might have been riding clouds from there on out.

I was safe, but my poor Saab was dead. And unfortunately, I wasn’t carrying the type of insurance that would cover a single car accident. There went my beautiful car. There went all my savings. There went all head turning, except for the head shaking the cop gave me.

If I had better perception, I would have realized that fifty-five was much too fast for the conditions. Or I would have realized that adding an extra half hour to the ride wasn’t so bad. Or I could have realized that a few extra dollars a year on insurance was a good investment to make on something I had spent all my money on.

You see, good perception is about seeing beyond the immediate conditions of a situation. Maybe it is future ramifications of a big purchase, or questioning the reasons for the purchase. Or maybe it is the real motives behind choosing to go out on a date with that girl who smokes and has always chosen really bad guys, but is exceptionally pretty. Maybe it is about choosing to say wise and positive things to coworkers, even those that are so hard to love, because it is the kind of person you want to be and the effect you want to have on people.

These are just tips of the perception iceberg. One thing to understand is that all of your decisions are based on your perception. And admit it, our perception is often limited or blinded by a number of things. Desire, lust, education (or knowledge), money, our upbringing, and our location to name a few.

This is why I love to travel. It gives me a different perspective. I get away from all the distractions and confines of “my world” and enter a larger, different world that challenges my perspectives. And I grow from it. I am excited to share my latest journey with you these next few weeks. I am calling it the Honduran Chronicles and know there will be some good truths for you take with you.

© Seth Crossman