One thing I’ve noticed about journeys…you’re bound to encounter some turbulence along the way. Just in case you’re wondering, journeys, real journeys are not going to be entirely smooth sailing. Somewhere along the way the ride will get bumpy and it’ll be time to fasten your seat belts.
Turbulence can come in any number of ways; surprises, breakdowns, mishaps, wrong turns–anything out of the ordinary that throws you off balance; shaking your confidence and eroding your faith; getting you to second guess your decision to embark on this journey in the first place.
Believe me. I know.
When an airliner is about to encounter some turbulence the captain informs the crew and passengers that it’s time to return to your seats and buckle up. I think that’s one way of saying it’s going to get a little rough up ahead folks, it’s time to get grounded.
There are at least three ways you can fasten your seat belts, get grounded and prepare for the turbulence ahead.
- First of all, ground yourself in scripture. If your upcoming journey or the current journey you’re on has no basis or confirmation in scripture, you don’t stand a chance. There is no seat belt made that will hold you securely in that scenario. In other words, a plan to rip people off isn’t well-grounded in scripture and won’t have the backing of God. (no duh) Absolutes, a few anyway, are important to us. Absolutes, like the ones you find in scripture, provide bumpers and rails for us. They protect us, hem us in and provide direction. It may not be popular right now to admit to believing in absolutes. In fact, except at the fringes, there fewer and fewer people believing in absolutes of any kind. But at some point in your life, no matter how open minded you think you are you’ll need to be able to drive a stake in the ground and exclaim, “THIS IS TRUTH!” And the absolute truths we find in scripture ground us in a way nothing else can.
- The next way to fasten your seat belt and prepare for turbulence is to get close to friends. I’m talking about the friends who don’t put up with your B.S.; your charm, your gift of pulling the wool over eyes. I’m talking about the friends who know you best and love you most. These are the folks who ground us; who keep us from wandering too far into our own heads. Get close to them. Give them permission to speak to you in the way you need to be spoken to. When the turbulence hits, you need friends you can count on to tell you what you need to hear.
- Thirdly, embrace routine and tradition. Certainly tradition can confine and limit. Yes routines can seem stifling and empty and dead and irrelevant. But the right kind of traditions can also remind us of what’s important. When so much in our lives is uncertain, traditions anchor us. The simple discipline of sticking to a routine has a way of grounding us and keeping our head in a good place; it feels good to do a good job and see something through. Committing to a routine keeps us moving forward instead of languishing in the doldrums.
Seat belts by definition hold us down. They restrict our freedom and keep us in one place. Certainly there are times and places when we want to be free and loose and unrestricted.
But not when we’re heading into turbulence.
It’s going to get a little bumpy up ahead, better buckle up.