Finding your own true north

Published 3:59 pm Saturday, February 24, 2024

By R.A. Mathews

Finding your own “true north” is perhaps the be all and end all of life. It changes who you are, how you think, the choices you make. Your true north can bring joy or unhappiness.

The saying comes from the North Star, Polaris, which would guide mariners in ancient times. While other stars seemed to move across the sky throughout the night, Polaris would essentially “stay put,” traveling in a tight circle over the North Pole, always there to pilot sailors home.

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Everyone has a true north, whether they realize it or not. As I said, it’s what guides your life. Think of someone you know well, and you can probably state their true north. Their creed. Mine is four words: Stay close to God. 

Even so, within my true north is another true north. What do I also believe? 

It’s all about Jesus. 

Jesus broke the back of Evil. It’s Jesus who restores you and me to God the Father. It’s all about Jesus. 

And I thought that was it—everything I needed to see me through life: “Stay close to God” and “It’s all about Jesus.” But then there was this year’s Super Bowl with a 24-year-old. And, in the past few weeks, my true north shifted. 

On Feb. 11, the two best quarterbacks in the world stood opposite one another in Las Vegas, Nevada. Patrick Mahomes, called a child prodigy, had been chosen 10th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Brock Purdy had been chosen 262nd in the 2022 draft and labeled “irrelevant.” 

Even with their different paths, each man echoes the words of the other, as if they were reading from an identical playbook. 

And they are.

Mahomes believes it’s not about winning or losing, but glorifying God. Likewise, Brock Purdy recently told reporters, “… win or lose, I’m going to glorify You — that’s my peace. That’s the joy. That’s the steadfastness. That’s where I get it from…”

Jesus is his true north. His lane, so to speak.

It isn’t enough to know where you stand. Brock Purdy meets with others on his team for Bible study. This is important to him. Every Christian needs to be with Christians who live their creed. Those in your lane strengthen you or weaken you. Scripture says, “As iron sharpens iron, So one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

Yet many reared in the church have found themselves with the wrong people, drawn away from their true north, slipping into lifestyles that did real damage. 

Brock Purdy does something more. He starts his day with his faith. Purdy understands what Scripture teaches: You are transformed by renewing your mind every day. 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Right now, Purdy told reporters his focus is the 23rd Psalm. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” he said. “…It’s what I start off with every single day.” 

Psalm 23 reads, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

“He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Purdy says his needs are met by the Good Shepherd. He says football does not define him. Jesus does. And it’s the Holy Spirit who takes over in the chaos and allows him to think clearly. Indeed, the 49ers coach says Purdy has an unexpected “poise.”

I believe all of this, and it forms my true north: Stay close to God; It’s all about Jesus. But Brock Purdy showed me one more thing, which deepened my creed.

He said, “It’s not about you.”

Those were four words I needed to hear. There’s a humility that has escaped me, and God knew the time had come to address it.

Find your own true north and don’t be embarrassed to share it. You may change a life. 

The Rev. Mathews (BA, MDiv, JD) is a faith columnist and the author of Emerald Coast: The Vendetta. 

Copyright © 2024 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.