28. When In Doubt…..RUN!

WHEN IN DOUBT……RUN!! 

Flight delays are a part of my life.  Whether it’s weather, mechanical issues, the absence of the crew, or some other issue,  if you travel much at all you’re likely to share this frustrating experience.  Today just happens to be one of “those days”.

As I was packing up to leave a conference where I had served as an exhibitor I was notified that my flight scheduled 3 hours later was “cancelled”.  Since I have some status on the airline, they kindly offered me a number of other options, the best of which left the next morning at 6:00 AM.  I needed to get home no later than 2 PM the next day to drive to Eugene to join my family at the Oregon Ducks vs Stanford Cardinal football game.  Oregon Duck football has been a big deal in our family for the past 23 years…..and this was the game of the year.

I booked the early morning flight immediately but soon thereafter was on the phone to the airline help desk seeing if there were any options of getting home before that.  Unfortunately, there were just no options available so I reluctantly agreed to get a hotel and head to the airport early the next morning.

Upon arrival at the airport the next morning at 4:30 AM I was informed my morning flight had also been cancelled!  You’ve got to be kidding me!!  They had already booked me on a flight late that afternoon about the time the game was scheduled to start.  I needed them to find a way to get me home by 2 PM!!

Gratefully, the agent found one seat remaining on a competitor’s flight about 90 minutes later that would get me home by about noon.  It would require a fairly tight connection in Houston, but there was sufficient time to make the flight home to Portland if things went as scheduled.  Whew!!

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen!  The flight was “re-routed” once in the air and took an extra 35 minutes to arrive, virtually eliminating the time I had to make my connection. I got off the plane 6  minutes before the boarding doors were going to close……and I was two terminals away.  Doing my best OJ impression, I ran to see if by some reason the gate agent would take pity on me.  I arrived just as they were closing the door…… but sweet-talked my way on board!   It was definitely a relief, but overall the situation had created more stress than I needed!!  I must have looked a bit strange as I settled into my seat, exhausted and wide-eyed from another of life’s little trials.

Missing a flight is not the end of the world, but it’s a great demonstration of how everyday life can create an undue amount of stress in your life. When Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye who are weary and I’ll give your rest” I’m thinking He might have even had such a scenario in mind!!

All sorts of pressures can create stress in our lives.  Certainly the big issues are in that mix — job loss, sickness, financial setback,  grief,  relationship issues, etc…. I’m certain God will walk with us through all of those things.  In fact, many times in the midst of such major stressors we find ourselves closer to God than almost any other time in our lives.

But it’s the combined impact of the “little things” that usually lead to our truly getting “stressed out”.  Things like the “To Do” list that didn’t get done, the over-crowded schedules, a fight with our kids, a grumpy boss,  the dog misbehaving, a flat tire when your late for an appointment,  the unexpected  bill,  finding out that someone is gossiping behind your back, waking up on the “wrong side of the bed”,  the guy who cuts you off in traffic,  a loss by your favorite sports team, misplacing your keys or cel phone, burning your morning toast,  and a million other “little things” that leave you frustrated, angry, hurt, confused, exhausted, and “stressed”.

I don’t know about you, but when I get a bit “overwhelmed” by such a combination of little things,  I get somewhat embarrassed!   After all, I’m a person of faith.  I serve an eternal God who holds the whole world in His hands.  I know the issues at hand are not serious…..they are just inconveniences, disappointments, and distractions. But yet I get all worked up inside.  My heartbeat goes faster, my stomach churns, my outlook darkens, and my attitude deteriorates.  I haven’t lost my faith, but I’ve certainly lost my joy…….just like I did this morning!  And many times, like this morning, it actually works out in the end.  But the price is often steep!

I want to believe that God looks at us during such moments and gives a “concerned grin”.  A grin because He knows how it’s going to work out and it’s really not such a big obstacle in the larger view of things.  But “concerned” because  He sees that it doesn’t take much to get us off center.  A few bad circumstances and we all tend to revert into a desperate wreck rather than the confident follower He wants us to be.

Don’t let anyone fool you…..life can certainly be hard.  Whether they come in large, life-changing events or simple everyday problems, we will all face our share of difficulties.  We will all find ourselves running through an airport at some time trying to make a connection, or cleaning up the spilled milk in the kitchen, or forking out some precious dollars for an unexpected car repair. People will  mistreat us, take advantage of us, do things that make our life more complicated,  and create issues that we will have to address.  We will have to put on our “big boy panties” and deal with it!!

As I sit here on the airplane flying  home, I have a bundle of mixed emotions.  I’m grateful that I will get home in time to join my family for this big game…..it’s a 20+ year family tradition.  But I’m feeling the effects of spending several hours in the tension zone – a tighten neck, a tremendous headache, and a bruised ego.  I didn’t throw a fit or anything like that with the airline employees, but I was definitely boiling on the inside. It didn’t take much to move me from being excited about going home to getting “freaked out” by a cancelled flight.  I want to hope I’m better than that!!

Next time you find yourself in one of life’s little disasters, RUN!  Don’t run away,  or run into mess to take it out on someone else, and don’t run into some type of dark mood that makes you miserable to be around.   Run to the “Prince of Peace” who is right there in the midst of that situation with you.   You’ll still have to deal with all the issues and complications, but God has promised to walk with us through them.  He will bring a sense of balance and calm to a situation that may seem totally out of control.  He’ll help you relax and face whatever the issue is head-on then lead you back to a place of rest.  He’ll give you a better sense of perspective and open your eyes to His provision around you.  And, He might even help you make your flight on time!!

When in doubt……….RUN!  No problem is too small to bring to your Savior.  It’s the only way I know to get through “life” as we know it.

Your fellow weary  traveler!!