My journey to work has several elements:
- It starts with a bus that takes me to the train station. I spend this time hoping that the traffic isn’t worse than usual, so I don’t miss my train.
- Then as I get closer to the train station, I begin to worry about whether the train delays are worse than usual. Notice that I said, “worse than usual”. If you know TFL Rail, you’ll know that there are delays 4 out of 5 days of the working week.
- After surviving TFL Rail, then the prayers for the Central Line begins. “Lord, let the central line not be delayed” and “Father please, let no one pull the emergency alarm on any of the trains so I’m not stuck in a dark tunnel trying not to breathe through my nose because my face is in someone else’s armpits”.
- Then my journey ends with the mostly reliable Victoria Line. Though sometimes it can surprise you with delays. Unfortunately, when the Victoria line goes down it’s down for the count.
Why have I made you read the above story? Firstly, because I wanted to share my frustration with someone and you were readily available. Thank you.
Secondly, because I wanted to give you a picture of what my morning feels like. I start the early hours of my Mondays to Fridays bouncing between a constant state of hope and worry. Even when the journey seems to be going smoothly, I spend my time waiting for the ominous announcement of the ever mysterious “signal failure”. It’s an hour and a half of anxiety that gets so bad at times that I get palpitations.
While starting my morning this way is less than ideal, it gets even worse. I have noticed that this habit of swinging between hope and anxiety has seeped into other areas of my life. I’ve decided that I’m done with this. The thing about making a decision like this is that it’s easier said than done, but I am blessed to have a God who teaches me His ways and this wonderful Teacher of mine used my journey into work to teach me a lesson.
In the mornings there is a bus route I avoid because it has more traffic heavy spots. One morning, I got on this bus and the worry began. I considered getting off the bus to take my second slightly more reliable option, but then the Holy Spirit encouraged me to stay on the bus and this time I obeyed. I stayed on the bus, though by the time we had hit the third patch off traffic, I had refreshed my train schedule app about 20 times. I considered getting off the bus and just running to the station, but again the Spirit of God encouraged me to stay on the bus. So I stayed, but I also continued to worry as the bus got stuck in even more traffic. Long story short, the good news is at the end of my journey, I made it to the station with enough time to catch my train.
And here’s the lesson, despite the traffic I was always going to make that train. My panicking did nothing to ease the traffic. By working myself up into a frenzy, all I did was stop myself from enjoying the journey.
In the journey of life, we can be so focused on our destination that we miss out on the joy of the journey. We can easily spend all our time calculating and worrying about how to reach the destination according to our schedule. Whether it's our career and financial goals or even marital hopes, the truth is that we will most likely see the realisation of our hopes. The question is whether the journey will be one of worry and anxiety or one of peace and joy? Many things are outside of our control, but the decision to trust God (relying on His grace) is completely within our control.
As I write this I’m reminded of the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 6: 33 as He tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and all our needs, goals, hopes, literally everything will be given to us. If you’re going to focus (I said focus, not worry!) on any goal, focus on your eternal destination because heaven is real and hell is real.