I recently had the pleasure of driving 13 hours with two children and a geriatric pug as my travel companions. To be fair, the kids were deep in the wild world of Fortnight and barely made a peep. Gidgit, the pug, with no opposable thumbs with which to build digital shelters and pelt enemies, was stranded in reality up in the front of the car with me.
For the first 12 years of her life Gidgit would happily snooze in the car for hours on end. But something has changed. There’s no longer the gentle hum of pug snores coming from her bed—instead she’s a jumble of anxiety, panting, repositioning, straining, eye-bulging, whimpering, yelping, and mass shedding.
It’s loud. It’s stressful. Everything in the front of the car is covered in dog hair. It’s my own private 13-hour nightmare.
I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to calmly drive 80 miles an hour with a dog having a nervous breakdown in the next seat. I try comforting her. I try being serious. I try to distract her. Nothing helps. I try to ignore it and I just feel guilty—I mean, this poor dog is edging toward a stroke, a heart attack, deaths door.
I want her to know that we’re on our way, we’re not turning back, and that if she’d just CHILL OUT she’d arrive feeling refreshed instead of exhausted.
I want her to know she can relax and let me drive, or she can freak out and makes herself sick (yes, I’m talking actual dog bile dripping on my tote bag). But either way, we’re headed to the same place.
Unfortunately, I’m prone to this same behavior. I see a hard season coming, or I’m halfway through a tough climb in a project or relationships, and I just start to lose my mind. I’m panicky, I keep looking for the exits, and I wouldn’t dare to relax.
You’ve found yourself there, too, right?
We know we’re on a journey. We know God is at work. Deep down we know we can trust him. Yet we doubt, we let fear in, and we become a jumble of anxiety.
But God is going to take us where he’s taking us. Even in the midst of a tough journey he wants good for us—he wants to expose the shadows, break down the barriers, clean out the clutter. He’s looking to take us deeper, further, to a place where we rest in and rely upon his Spirit. He’s in the driver seat—but we choose how we’ll handle the journey.
Will we trust, rest? Will we embrace the peace and assurances he gives? Or will we panic, hyperventilate, and frantically search for the exits?
Will we arrive frazzled, nerves shot, even more exhausted and fearful? Or will we arrive well-rested, stronger, more sure?
Miraculously, at the tail end of our trip Gidgit finally, mercifully, fell asleep. I’d glance over at her in the passenger seat—the picture of peace.
That’s what I want.I thought.
In fact, I think it’s what we all want deep down.
Let’s drop the worry and stop letting fear have unchecked influence over our lives. Let’s trust that God won’t let his people be shaken. (Psalm 55:22). And let’s find deep rest for our souls even when we’re not so sure about where all this journey will take us—as it turns out, we can sleep pretty soundly in the passenger seat.