Last week, I traveled to Atlanta to meet with Wisdom Hunters, an organization I write for each week, to discuss their 2017 publishing plan. My day started out great. I got to my gate without a problem; I enjoyed chatting with the lady next to me in 5C, and best of all. . . the flight whizzed by! When I deplaned and rode the airport train to the baggage claim I had a silly thought (If you fly much, you know how crazy this sentiment actually was): “Traveling doesn’t have to be stressful. I wonder if I could inoculate myself from travel stress by planning well.” I rehearsed how I could start out early to avoid bad traffic and pack days in advance.
When I exited the train to walk toward the baggage claim, my silly thought of avoiding travel trouble was replaced by another scary one: “I think I have lost my driver’s license.”
Because I was traveling alone, having no license would create a big problem: no transportation. This meant no rental car. And, I had to get to an Atlanta suburb 30 minutes away for a meeting, dinner, and a sleepover at friends’.
I looked in my tiny wallet. No license. I looked again. Nada. I found a clear spot on the floor next to the wall near the baggage claim and took out every folder and shred of paper from my laptop bag. Still no license. I thought about where I could have misplaced it. I had it when I went through security in Illinois. A few more minutes of searching, and I came to the dreaded conclusion: Yep. It was lost.
I almost started to panic, but then I decided to talk to myself and tell myself the truth instead. “God’s got this. He’s going to take care of me. I am His daughter. He sees me.” I remained amazingly calm. I even joked with a friend on the phone. “Well, if this is the worst thing that happens to me today, I am doing great!”
I called my husband and he remained calm too, as he always does in a crisis (which I love), and he helped me think through what to do. He suggested I take a cab. After that, a few fantastic friends pulled together to help. I phoned one of my good buddies who agreed to pick me up at Starbucks after my cab ride and take me to dinner, and then drop me at my friends’ home where I was staying the night. Another back home willingly jumped in to overnight my passport for the return trip. And two more shuttled me to my meeting and back.
As I think about this experience, I am reminded of the obvious. . .no matter how hard you try or plan ahead in life, you can’t inoculate yourself from difficulty. Control is an illusion. This applies to taking a trip, taking wedding vows, or taking a risk for a new job. No matter how carefully you pack your bags of life for the unknown, bad stuff just happens, and when it does, you have a choice—you can panic or you can trust God.
And it truly is a choice.
What you choose to tell yourself during a crisis makes the difference between peace and panic, between experiencing torment and experiencing God’s rest.
I could have starting freaking out—and for 3.5 seconds, I almost did. Then, I thought about how God is always with me and that He has the whole world in His hands. This helped me so I could think through the solution with my husband.
This is key. When you go through trouble or experience an unexpected mess, do yourself a favor. . . don’t start telling yourself lies. Don’t start speaking doom into the situation or you won’t be able to rejoice in God’s faithfulness and you’ll miss turning your gaze toward the Answer. You’ll just be relying on yourself which leads to pain. Tell yourself the truth about God, who He is, and who you are to Him. Quote Scripture. Sing a song. Praise Him. Then you’ll remain in His peace. Praise always brings His presence with it.
In Psalm 131:2, David says, “. . . I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
Your soul is your mind, will, and emotions, and David was saying, “I have chosen to quiet mine.” His aim was contentment no matter the situation, even though he experienced things that He couldn’t understand that were “too marvelous” or “too great” for him. Perhaps for you, today, this means losing a job, losing love, losing confidence, or even losing your driver’s license. Choose to still and quiet your soul by telling yourself the truth. God loves you. He sees you. He’s got this.
Have a fantastic and blessed Thanksgiving! I am grateful for you.