Most people can recall at least one or two bad travel experiences. Delayed flights, lost luggage, etc. I, on the other hand, would have a hard time narrowing down my bad travel experiences to just a handful of examples. To give you just a glimpse of what traveling is like for me, I have been stuck in a city I had no intention of staying overnight in 5 times in the last year. Just this past week, I had my luggage not make it to my final destination for the 4th time in my life. Anyone that knows me, accepts the fact I have some of the worst travel luck around. In fact, I have started praying for the passengers that are traveling with me at the start of flights I am on. I pray that we arrive 'somewhere' safely and everyone has patience for whatever obstacle we are getting ready to experience. My many travel issues have taught me several lessons I hope others can vicariously learn rather than have to experience on their own. Here's my top 12 Unlucky Travel Lessons:
And although all of these lessons have been important, these particular lesson haven't been nearly as important as the more valuable "life" lessons God has taught me through my many unfortunate travel experiences.
The first lesson is one of control or lack thereof. Despite a Plan A, B, C, D or Z...God is in control and things will happen that you don't plan. In fact, things will happen that you didn't think were possible. How you react to the change in plans reflects who you are as a person. I have seen a grown man in tears, a woman throw a suitcase and people so angry on the flight that the Captain was waiting for them after they got off the plane. Having a calm manner and just taking bad experiences one moment at a time is the best way to get through it. And prayer. Lots of prayer.
I have also learned patience. I have learned to relinquish "my timing" to "His timing". There will be delays. There will be disappointments. You have to keep perspective and realize His timing is absolute. We don't want things according to our timing because frankly we would miss out. When I get delayed or my flight gets stuck somewhere, I try to think of all the bad things that might have happened if the timing were different -- the "what ifs" that didn't happen. I have learned to be patient and just trust His timing.
And finally, I have just recently learned perseverance. When the airline "misplaces" your luggage at a very inopportune time, you have to use your resources and do your best to pull something together in a short period of time. (Ever notice how luggage never seems to get lost on your return trip? It's always misplaced on the way "to" wherever you are going!) When you have a goal or something you want to accomplish and life gets tough, you have to push through it. Don't let the discouragement or a bump in the road, let you lose sight of the goal.
James 1:2-4, 12
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
Delayed flights, missed connections and lost luggage,
Steinhatchee, Florida...Never heard of it? Neither had I until yesterday when my boyfriend had me drive to an address in the middle of nowhere. It's a small scalloping town tucked away on the West coast of Florida...a hideaway from the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life.
He made me promise not to Google the location of our surprise weekend and I kept my word. So I literally popped an address into my navigation and set off. Set off to the middle of nowhere. In my head we were going to end up at some great little bed and breakfast to relax for the weekend. However, as I drove through rundown town and rundown town, two things occurred to me: first, I am extremely blessed to have it so good in life. I worry about money all the time but at the end of the day, I am one blessed girl and I need to get over myself. The second thing that occurred to me, was we might actually not be going to a B&B. There was one point in my drive I feared we might end up in a rundown motel or trailer park (Now let me explain one thing...there are worse places than a motel or trailer park and I understand how spoiled this makes me sound. However, I am all about transparency. Even if being transparent reveals flaws. This is one of those moments when my honest opinion reveals how spoiled and at times ungrateful I am. Hang with me...and forgive me.). So as I continued my drive, I was now trying to condition my mind to accept a weekend in a motel. I kept telling myself, if you end up at a rundown motel you are going to have to pull it together and be happy because a wonderful man planned a relaxing weekend for you. I literally told myself, stop being a spoiled brat and be grateful. So I continued my drive to the motel.
Except I didn't end up at a motel. I ended up at a great little spot that I would totally recommend to anyone looking for a quiet weekend getaway.
Check it out: http://www.steinhatcheelanding.com/
This place is what the 'good old days' were made of. Today we rode bikes to buy fresh picked peaches. Stopped at a BBQ shack open only 4 days a week. Took a walk down to the water. There is close to nothing here and yet there is so much life. We've enjoyed great conversation, lots of laughs and overall soaked up quality time together. As I sat and enjoyed a book this afternoon I got to thinking about how I rarely stop to enjoy the things that matter in life. I am on the go all of the time. I work way too many hours each week, even when I try to cut back. I always have a 'to do' list. And I rarely stop to smell the roses. Too often I miss out on things I think God wants me to enjoy because I am busy all of the time.
1 Kings 19:11-12
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
Today has reminded me the value in unplugging the phone, ignoring the 'to do' list and being still in order to enjoy the things that matter in life. The small whispers that remind you God is here.
Be still and know that I am God.
Bike rides, peaches and relaxing weekends,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.