Sunday, May 31, 2009

Your State as a Traveler

My last blog talked about our family being on a journey. The truth is, we are all on a journey. The route we take and the final destination…that is about the only difference between us. Otherwise, we can pretty safely say that each of us has some road to take.

There is a lot that can be said about traveling. We could talk about the terrain—whether the journey is smooth or rocky. We could talk about whether we are walking this road alone or with others. We could also talk about how long of a trip we have ahead of us. Some trips are quick and easy, others are long and arduous.

But there is something else to consider when we are taking a journey. That is the state of the traveler. Have you ever taken a journey where you were so excited about the final destination, that nothing bothered you? It didn’t matter how cramped your legs got, how many hours had gone by, the number of bathroom stops you had made…all that was before you was the final, glorious end. Then there are journeys that are more difficult. The final destination, as wonderful as it may be, may not be in the forefront of your mind because you are so focused on how uncomfortable your seat is, how squished you feel, the driving or rocking sensation that is making you sick.

What state are you in with the current journey you are on? Are you feeling tired, overwhelmed and cranky? Or are you excited, full of joy and just feel so ready to burst with happiness? Sometimes the answer is in the circumstances around us. I find it difficult to be in a good mood when I take a long drive. I guess I’m just not that much into scenery. I prefer a quick trip via air travel, rather than driving long distance. Two summers ago we drove to Niagara Falls, Canada. It took us about 12 hours to get there. Although I knew we were going to see one of the most amazing sights in the world, it didn’t seem worth it as we traveled. Yet in the end, once I saw Niagara Falls, the drive was more than worth it.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and not consider the path we are on or even the final destination but what state are we in. It does no good, if you really think about it, to complain on the way to wherever you are going. It won’t change much. The only thing it really does is make you more miserable. How much fun is that? And if you are miserable enough, the final destination may be less enjoyable. Your discontentment can take away from the joy of it.

I say all this because I have recognized that as our family ventures on this current journey, I have to be careful about my state. It may not be easy (taking care of five children suddenly is not easy!), it may be filled with uncertainties (how will we do this?) and I may run into some bumpy spots along the way (just dealing with social services in itself is bumpy)… but will I focus on the difficulties? Will I focus on the uncertainties? Will I focus on the problems? They are going to be there. As much as this may be from God, the reality is that it will also be filled with difficulties and struggles. It does no good to pretend it won’t…to act as if this road will be smooth sailing. Yet at the same time, it does no good to complain. It won’t make things any easier. I will have to really guard my heart and my mind. You need to as well.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

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