Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.
—Dr. Wayne W. Dryer
It's always a little harrowing to drive into a city that you're unfamiliar with. As I am the navigator or the directions person in our vehicle and my hubby the driver, invariably that can lead to high tension.
I hadn't been to Pittsburgh in over twenty years. Besides that, whenever we did go we always drove down with my aunt and uncle, who knew the city like the back of their hand.
But, Pittsburgh was precisely where the American Cheese Society Conference was being held this year.
As we approached the city and crossed over Veteran's Bridge, we desperately searched for our exit into downtown. It wasn't until we passed the exit that we realized it went by another name. And it was the only entrance into the downtown area from our direction.
Immediately tensions flared. Arguments ensued. The blame game commenced. Anyone else out there experience this?
Instead of heading to our hotel downtown, we found ourselves heading away from the city and over the Allegheny river.
Thanks to my fast-acting Google map, I found a way for us to turn around. But, it meant climbing up a cliff-clinging road to the top of a hill, circling a neighborhood, heading back down that road and crossing back over the bridge that we were just on.
When we got to the top of the hill I noticed there was an overlook. I asked if we could stop. The immediate answer was an abrupt, "No!" But, I insisted that we stop so I could take a picture. It was such a beautiful view. Of the city. Of the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny rivers converging together. And of Heinz Field (where my Steelers play).
Fortunately, we did stop. Allowing us a chance to talk down the tension that had been building in the car. And it was the perfect spot to take in the views and to remember…
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
And to also realize…
At some point, you just must let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.
I don't understand where we got the notion that everything should go according to plan. That missed turns should never happen. That life should go smoothly from point A to point B.
Somehow, somewhere, we have grown conditioned to think this way. And when it doesn't, we get really upset. And that's when tension builds. And stress levels climb.
Wasn't it Jesus who reminded us that in this world you will have trouble? (John 16:33)
So why is it that we get so impatient, so stressed out when troubles, even insignificant things like missed turns, come our way?
In that same verse, Jesus goes on to say, I have told you these things so that you may have peace.
But, peace can be so elusive. We humans are prone to worry, stress and tension when things change on a dime or don't happen the way we had hoped they would.
That's why I love the French word, respirez. It means just breathe. We'd do well to remember this little word.
Breathing and being present to the moment at hand can help us to beat back tension and learn to accept what is. To remember that every moment, even the missed turns of life or struggles of any sort, can be turned into a blessing in disguise.
The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one.
Missed turns. Delayed flights. Bills piling up. Stress on overload. Tensions running high.
Remember to breathe in the peace of Christ. Don't let those problems rob you of the joy of the little things you've been given. Learn to be present to God's presence.
And God's peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.