Recently, I found myself sitting idle in traffic on the drive to work. Glancing briefly into the windows of the vehicles surrounding me, I noticed variations in activities taking place while the commute had paused. I saw the animated facial and body expressions from cell phone conversations underway, bobbing heads and mouthed words (hopefully in sync with a music source), some using the unexpected downtime to catch up using their mobile device … and then I noticed those who appeared to be in some form of deep thought.
I realized that I could relate to each of these observations at some point in my life. The one that truly caught my attention were those submersed in deep thoughts as they sat alone in their vehicles. I wondered the source of each thought underway. Were they trying to work through a complex situation, focused around prayer/meditation, or facing some form of pain/struggle? While the true source wasn’t for me to know, observing these fellow travelers did make me recognize the collection of stories that surround us on a daily basis … most of the time without us ever realizing it.
The solitude of a long drive can be an ideal conduit to face challenges racing inside our mind. However, if not handled properly, these challenges are more likely to increase rather than subside. The key is to face the source of each struggle and deal with it head on. Because, nothing we avoid emotionally ever goes away … no matter how long we try to wait it out.
I recently heard the phrase avoidance creates the pain of absence. This falls right into line with dealing with our challenges at the source. So, if you find yourself struggling to complete a task – perhaps due to past memories that trigger some linked emotion – the key is to face that situation head on. Because, the more times you complete that task, the easier it will be … and eventually any associated triggers will drift away. Conversely, avoiding the trigger doesn’t resolve the situation – it only creates the pain of absence.
As a part of my walk in life, I have been focusing on keeping my eyes above the waves. At the same time, I am looking beyond the waves to see what God has in store for me. This approach requires being able to recognize any emotional triggers and deal with them at the source. I realize this isn’t full-proof or flaw-free and I expect there will be days when I find myself being knocked down when an unexpected storm arrives. However, after the storm passes, we should always …
- realize we have fallen and get back up
- regain our focus to look beyond the waves
- remember to keep our emphasis on what matters to God
Years ago, I had the pleasure to write a song called “Safe In His Arms” with a good friend of mine – which continues to be a favorite. The chorus of the song relates to what I have been talking about:
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
There’s a calm at the end of every storm
There is no better feeling, feeling now I know
Because I’m safe
Safe in His Arms
I decided to use the “waves” metaphor because of the similarity to how our emotions can span from high and low – often transforming from one state to the other very quickly and often without warning. With this in mind, I think it is important to appreciate the waves – floating with them (as if we were on an inner tube) and trying not to fight the direction the waves take us. Always remembering that God has his plan for us and he is using those very waves to guide us toward His intended destination.
Have a really great day!!!