Set Your Compass to God's Path

By following God's will and talking to him in prayer, we can avoid life's pitfalls...

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- Posted on Sep 10, 2013

Kelly Ann Riley, author of Unlocking the Truth

Kelly Ann Riley—under the pen name Emily Thomas—is the author of Unlocking the Truth, from the Secrets of Blue Hill Library series.

The day had finally come. I was so excited as I stood in line, dressed in a blue gown and cap, waiting to go onstage and receive my high school diploma. I looked around at the graduating class of our small Christian school and wondered how we had grown up so fast.

After that weekend we would go our separate ways. Many planned on attending colleges far away, as I did. Others had jobs lined up and a few were thinking about marriage.

Directly in front of me was a friend I'd known for six years; we'd been on many adventures together. He yawned and grinned, acting a little smug. He and a couple of buddies had decided to play one last prank before they graduated: The night before, they’d snuck over to the principal's home and used rolls of toilet paper to decorate his house and yard. I eyed the principal onstage. He'd given no indication that anything was amiss.

We moved slowly up in line. My friend walked across the stage and received his diploma. Then my name was called. I took a deep breath, nervously climbed the steps, crossed the stage under the hot lights and stopped in front of the principal. He gave me a big smile, shook my hand and handed me my diploma. I walked down the stairs on the other side. It was over. I had done it—what a feeling of accomplishment. I couldn’t wait to open the diploma case and find my name, certifying that I had graduated. My buddy opened his case and burst out laughing. Instead of a diploma, a single square of toilet paper was tucked inside.

The choices we make shape our lives. While I was working on Unlocking the Truth, I had a chance to reflect on those high school days and decisions I'd made. In the book, Anne Gibson and her friends are faced with a dilemma when Anne receives a mockup of a newspaper article implicating them in a crime committed when they were teenagers. It's up to Anne to discover the truth before one or all of their lives end up in ruins.

Our high school principal had a great sense of humor and took this opportunity to play a prank back on the boys. I think they were required to clean his house and yard, but they got off easy. They were allowed to graduate.

Sometimes we get lucky when we do something wrong. Sometimes we don’t. There were others in our high school who didn’t make it to graduation, and I often wonder what became of them. Did they overcome their challenges and find happiness?

We all have decisions to make throughout our lives. The surest way to stay out of trouble is to avoid it in the first place. Thankfully, by setting our compass to God’s path—by following his word and talking to him in prayer—we can avoid some of the pitfalls along the way. Even when we do inevitably stray, that compass will help us find our way back.

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