Once again I write about traveling. Some of my best muses (I believe) come from driving. I have heard it said that the last part of your body to be “saved” is your right foot. I would go on to say that the last place, in at least my life, to be sanctified is my car. But, I digress. Driving back from a splendid vacation I got hung up in heavy traffic. All of a sudden my best laid plans and schedule went out the window (excuse the pun.) I was stuck behind a line of tractor-trailer trucks for an hour and a half, going a grand total of 3 miles. After which I promptly followed the traffic in a direction I did not want to go. As I groused and growled my way through the line my best friend, who was traveling with me, commented, “well you have your next blog.” Got to love best friends, God’s gift to remind us of HIM. As we sat in traffic on a back road in Pennsylvania we talked about how we made the wrong turn. We reversed direction and ended up missing our turn again, but thankfully realized our mistake after 5 miles. When we were finally headed in the direction we wanted to go, we were able to reflect on the spiritual aspect of our journey.
Lesson 1: It is easy to become impatient when we are moving slower than we want. The statement “Man proposes, God disposes” is very apropos when sitting in traffic on a super highway. I had my plans, my schedule to meet. I had places to go, people to see and this slow down was interfering. How often is this true of our lives in general and how often do we become impatient because we are being stalled by others? Who owns my schedule and my plans?
Lesson 2: When I am impatient and pushed, I often do not take the time needed to follow the correct path, I follow the obvious to what I believe will be a quick solution. I had difficulties seeing what was ahead of me when I was behind the truck and was very cognizant of the fact that there was another 2 – 3 miles of traffic behind me. The most obvious and quick solution is not always the best for that is what sheep do; they follow the sheep in front.
Lesson 3: Trust the road map, not the man waving his hands. Part of what got us into the situation was that we believed the DOT man had our best interest in mind. He didn’t, he just wanted the traffic to move. The Bible is our road map and that is often contrary to the general public waving their hands, directing traffic. I learned after going past the same man three times to be bold and turn on my signal light indicating that I wanted to turn a different direction than the general mass of metal. It takes boldness to stand up for what you know to be the direction God has for you.
Lesson 4: Sometimes the road signs are missing; it’s okay to be lost for a moment. For a few hours after the experience I chastised myself and ruminated about the lost time driving around and sitting in traffic. I had wanted to be somewhere at a certain time and my error, coupled with the seeming incompetence of others hindered that goal. In hindsight, yes I followed the pack and got stuck, yes I missed the turn again and got lost for a minute, but when we turned on the right road we discovered there was no route marker to tell us where to go. That happens in life, but the reason we did not get horribly lost was because my best friend knew how to look at the sun and tell the direction. It was okay to be lost for the moment because we knew how to look at the map, read the natural signs and return to the last point we knew we were right.
To sum this all up, perfectionism is not something to be sought after, but is attained through quiet patience and learning from your mistakes. It comes from knowing when the path you are following is not the best route to take. Oh, sometimes following the pack is the best thing and sometimes we are forced to go where we don’t want to, but living in the moment, recognizing where you are and being bold enough to go where you need to go is important. Don’t be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of your mind. Life is a journey with twists, turns, missing road signs; traffic jams and DOT people waving for you to follow the traffic. Be blessed in your journey, follow the map and don’t beat yourself up for wrong turns, just turn around and go the right way. And remember, this and $2.50 will get you a beverage of your choice!