So I live in my car. I mean not really, but it feels like it sometimes. It’s not unusual for me to spend 3-4 hours driving on a given day. And suffice to say it’s not my favorite activity.
Lately, though, my perspective on my mobile prison has been changing. I’m coming to appreciate this time. After all, usually it means I’ve got kids in the car-not just mine but others. I am privy to conversations they have with one another, about subjects I would otherwise not know. Other times it’s just me and my own kids, talking, laughing, observing, and just existing together. It might be the only time of the day I have their undivided attention, and they mine.
This driving time is also a forced time of solitude. I do some of my best thinking, blog post and book brainstorming, praying, and, naturally, just talking to myself, in the car. I can’t multi-task in here (truth be told, I am writing this post in my car. Yep, I’ve just given up trying to exist in my house). I have to slow down and just be.
Someday I won’t have to spend this much time driving. And I will miss that time with my kids, eavesdropping on their lives. I will miss the silence it affords me to actually hear myself think. I will have to carve out other time for prayer and pondering. I will need to find other ways to be unhurried.
So I could look at all these hours as wasted, or I could see how God is redeeming this time. I could write them off as an inconvenience or I could be thankful for what it brings to my life. It’s all in how I look at it.
This is true of so many aspects of my life. I despise cooking (is there a stronger word than despise? I would use it), but I’m thankful I have people for whom to cook. Cooking reminds me that I don’t have to be the best at something in order to still be a blessing.
I’m not a fan of how much work our house requires, but boy am I glad we have one. I wish there were a way I could clean my house and have it stay that way, but the cleaning humbles me and gives me an opportunity to bless the ones I love.
I would gladly never look another receipt, budget, or anything else related to our finances again. But when I do, I am reminded that we are so very blessed to have what we need, and more.
I wish I didn’t have the responsibility of feeding and walking a dog, but I know how much I would miss her company. She slows me down and forces me to get out into nature. She literally helps me stop and smell the flowers.
Working with people is hard, but what a blessing to have meaningful work. The problems that arise are an opportunity to move toward others with truth and love. The challenges keep me dependent on God.
I would love a struggle free life, but the trials are what keep me returning to Him. They highlight my humanity and His divinity, and remind me that I always have a place to go for what I need.
What’s the thing in your life you wish you didn’t have to do? What’s the activity that asks more than you feel like you can give? What road would you rather not walk?
Maybe it’s changing diapers or grocery shopping or homework or conflict management at work or driving all over kingdom come. Maybe it’s something much more wearying and painful.
Whatever it is, none of it is wasted. Someday we will look back and see the blessing in it, God’s hand at work, how it changed us for good.
So why wait? Why not look now for the blessing? Why not choose to see how it can be used for good? It might be a challenge, like panning for gold. But it’s there. God redeems it all. He uses it all. It’s all in how we look at it.