"Anyone who keeps learning stays young." ~~Henry Ford
We often impose schedules on our road trips through life, mandatory departure windows and estimated times of arrival. We barrel down the highway, watching the speedometer, eager to reach our destination where the real fun will begin. Our goal is to put miles behind us, covering ground while keeping our eyes on the road ahead; but if we don’t take time to pause and consider our expectations and reasons for traveling, we may miss many important sights along the way. The following are a few reasons we should slow down and make time to for periodic stops along our journeys.
Stop to . . .
Listen to your spirit and decide which move forward is right for you.
Ask yourself if the time is right for this particular journey and what you hope to discover at the end of the road.
Calculate the cost of your new adventure and prepare all you will need to take with you on your way.
Think about your reasons for embarking on your travels and know that your motivations remain true to your heart.
When you have decided set out on the trip you have planned, make sure to take time along the way to . . .
Look around and get your bearings before proceeding on your path.
Evaluate your progress and make any needed course corrections, right wrongs, reverse wrong turns, and reconsider your next steps.
Enjoy the breathtaking views along your route, the unbelievable beauty of the world, and the unexpected ways God provides for all our needs.
Explore your new level of understanding as you encounter new experience and grow into new wisdom.
Once you have reached your final goal and celebrated your success, remember to . . .
Pause again to recognize how far you’ve come.
Appreciate all you have gained and give thanks for the courage, spirit, and determination you found to complete your journey.
Realize that success is not in achieving a goal but in learning a lesson and sharing what you have learned with others you meet.
Nurture a relationship and know that our most important blessings are the people who travel with us throughout our lives.
Finally, stop to pray in gratitude for all the twists and turns on your road and how all have contributed to the person you have become. Be happy that your journey is unique and special to you.
I wish you many blessed discoveries on your journey!
Where are you planning to travel this summer? Where do you expect to pause along the road ahead?
I love a road trip. I love planning it, studying maps and guidebooks, reading about travelers who have gone before me, looking for the fastest routes to the most intriguing views. I love the anticipation phase, packing suitcases, trying to calculate every situation that may arise and every change of clothing I may need when I get there. I love hitting the road with excitement and hopefulness, watching the scenery shift and expand outside the car windows, asking “Are we there yet?” at every crossroads, and the rewarding moment when the road signs finally respond, “Only one more mile.”
My first books were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. I loved following the Ingalls family on the adventures of their permanent road trip. I envied their family togetherness and their willingness to encounter miles of totally unexplored countryside.
A road trip is a good metaphor for life, I think. We have to have faith that whatever lies beyond our current field of vision is worth the effort and the risk it takes to get there. It is only when we venture beyond the places that are comfortable and constricting that we learn more about the world and grow from our experience. When we have the courage to step away from the stories we have been told, we return home with new wisdom and insights worth sharing.
This spring I have been traveling. I have spent many hours seated in a car to finally walk through ocean waves. So far I have learned that God is able to take us anywhere; but we have to be prepared to take many rest stops along the way, adjust routes and schedules around unforeseen detours, and appreciate that our companions through life are what make the road worth traveling.
Today my bookshelves hold many volumes that inspire me. The book She Explores by Gale Straub reminds me that women are brave travelers who are free to follow their individual paths to adventure. (You may order it from Amazon here, though I’m not affiliated, just sharing a book I enjoy and value.)
This summer I will be writing more about the roads I have traveled and the lessons I have gathered on the way. I have another road trip to take in July. My route is planned, my bags are already, partially packed, and I’m looking forward to bringing back new insights to share with the people who travel the road with me. I pray you embark on many journeys and find many new and exciting stories of your own. Where are your travels taking you this summer? What do you anticipate learning on the road?
Snow fell again this week. The wind drove drifts across the driveway and formed sheets of ice across the patio. For weeks I have felt frozen in place, waiting for a gentle thawing to release me to move again. While I wait, I have considered how often feeling stuck takes over our experiences, and I have been exploring the strategies that help us escape the clutches of stuckness.
This video for a TED talk by Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko describes a few ways we can get out of a stuck state of being and back on the road again.
Turn. Instead of focusing on the problem that keeps you in place, turn to look in the direction of your goal. Name what you want and focus on that instead of the circumstances that are holding you back.
Learn. View bumps in the road as opportunities to learn, and recognize that even large bumps can be overcome and lead to future growth.
Persist. Keep trying until you achieve your goal. With each step along the path, you will grow closer to being the person you were meant to be.
This winter I will be working to focus on the spring sun and leave the bitter cold behind. I pray your road leads you to a bright new season of growth.
How do you get out of a stuck situation? How do you turn to focus on the path that lies ahead?
Every New Year celebration means I’ve grown another year older and wiser. Here are a few thoughts I wish I could share with my younger self.
Everything is going to be okay. No situation lasts forever, and many problems resolve themselves in time. Life does get better.
You deserve good things. No one deserves bad treatment, and you don’t have to tolerate abuse. Believe you should receive better and expect more from your life.
Trust your gut. When you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about a person or a situation, God is telling you to be careful. Listen to your spirit and know God is speaking to your heart.
When it’s time to go, move on. Too often we waste time clinging to roles or relationships that no longer serve our spirits or contribute to our growth. When you feel you’ve outgrown a station or a season, God may be prompting you to make a change and begin a new path.
Everyone has their own problems. In our current culture, we often see only the surface of others’ lives, and everyone seems to be having more fun than we are. The truth is that everyone has experienced pain, and everyone needs compassion and understanding for whatever they are going through.
Never “go along to get along.” Too many of us were taught to compromise our hearts and sacrifice our values in order to make others happy. If you are grimly tolerating a situation you know is wrong, either work to change it or accept it is not the right place for you.
Good relationships are built. The best relationships, friendships, and marriages don’t just happen. They require investments of commitment, work, time, and effort to make them successful.
Each person is responsible for his or her choices. We can’t blame others for our mistakes or bad behavior. We choose our actions and the people we want to become.
Reconsider your spending. All the material possessions we buy can’t really bring happiness. All the clothes, shoes, jewelry, and books we purchase eventually became outgrown or outdated and get thrown away. Think carefully about how you spend your resources.
Invest in experience. The real reward of life is meaningful time shared with people who care. Don’t waste your time and money on things or people that don’t bring joy and value to your life. Focus on the positive and share your experience with people who strengthen and encourage you.
This New Year, I’m looking forward to a time of phenomenal productivity and change. I’m continuing to learn every day, and I’m excited about the lessons that wait in the days ahead.
What advice would you give a younger you? What are you looking forward to learning in 2019?