Have you ever felt like the next step you take in life could be a land mine? Or, maybe just that one step where your foot slips and off the ledge you go?
I’ve found that having a slight sense of paranoia is not such a bad thing. It tends to keep me on my toes and ready for what life might throw at me. When I was young, life seemed to just ‘happen’ to me and I’m convinced that it had more to do with being overly naïve of the world than anything.
Some of you can probably relate to the Spring/Winter Break road trips back home from college. Being young and poor, we would carpool back to Michigan from Tulsa to save money. Having the classy Chevy Vega station wagon made me the primary driver most of the time.
One trip was more memorable for me, though. We were driving that old Vega home loaded with three other students. I was too tired to keep driving, so reluctantly, I let one of the girls drive, but I had a bad feeling about it.
It must have been 12:00 midnight outside of St. Louis where the roads go around a small range of rocky outcrops. I had slipped off to sleep in the passenger seat when, suddenly, I felt a jolt. I looked over and she had fallen asleep. The car had just gone off the road into the left side median (a slightly steep one at that).
Instincts took over and I reached for the wheel, grabbed it, and pulled hard to the right. The car turned and jumped back onto the freeway. On the other side was a rock wall. We spun a few times and stopped in the middle of the road. It was, literally, a miracle we weren’t killed. Needless to say, I took over the drive from there!
Life can happen in an instant. It can come without warning and when we aren’t expecting it (especially, if we aren’t prepared for it). One of my favorite comedians, Chris Farley, who’s sadly no longer with us, describes it well in a funny scene from the movie, Tommy Boy.
Walking that road of life, avoiding the needles, the pot holes, and the slippery spots, can be challenging. The key, for me at least, after having fallen off that ledge more than once, is to be prepared and put the rest in His hands.
Now, I don’t have a bunker under the house with a year’s supply of food & water (although, that doesn’t seem like too bad of an idea these days…) but, what I do have, is a sense of practicality the keeps me from overspending, keeping our home and cars in good shape, and taking care of my health, most of the time, which I've developed after the results of not having them.
Life is too short to live carelessly without regard for safety and finances. Too many people depend on me to do that anymore. Even with all the preparation in the world, life will still come knocking. In that event, I want to be ready in my heart.
Carrying all the burdens of unforgiveness, anger, fear, and the past will only cause us to slip off that ledge. They will weigh us down so we can’t climb to the next place in life. They will slow us to a point we may never cross that ledge to the other side.
Love and forgiveness are the only way to navigate the road ahead. They will carry us through any challenge and will allow us the strength to make it across those ledges when life's challenges come along. Not only love and forgiveness, but not taking ourselves too seriously will go a long way too...
If you’re having challenges and can’t seem to make it to the other side of that ledge, be encouraged my friend. There is One who can help carry you, or, catch you when your foo slips. He just asks that you trust Him and let go of those burdens that weigh you down, so you can get to the other side. Today, here’s to taking life on (instead of it shoving us off that ledge). You can do it! One step at a time...