Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Perfect Timing

I learned something last week. My mom had a total knee replacement last Monday, so I stayed at my parents’ house so that dad & I could go visit her in the hospital and I wouldn’t have to make the long commute from downtown Houston to the far north suburbs. I also arranged to work at a client site near the hospital to cut back on travel time even more.

Every day I made the drive from my parents’ house, to the hospital, then to the client site, then back to the hospital, then back to my parents’ house. Here is what I learned: the main road that I drove on has several traffic lights. Lots actually. The speed limit was 45mph; I don’t like to drive 45mph if I can help it, so I was going just a tad bit faster, but still keeping with the flow of traffic. And I was stopping at EVERY SINGLE TRAFFIC LIGHT. Uggh. That gets really frustrating considering that my normal commute to the office is only 3 miles and has only 3 stop lights. I thought I was just doomed to be in a commute funk for the rest of the week. Hurry hurry hurry hurry – STOP. Hurry hurry hurry hurry – STOP.

So I’m riding in the car with dad one day and he says, “I love this road because once you hit a green light, as long as you go the speed limit, you’ll hit all green lights after that”. WHAT?!?! I was causing this suffering and misery myself? The traffic lights were perfectly timed, as long as you went the speed limit. Ahhhh, a revelation (which I’m sure is true on many roads) that made my life much better, as long as I could stand to go only 45mph.

You see, I was getting to the next traffic light too fast and it hadn’t turned green yet. I was messing up the perfect timing of the traffic light system. I was speeding, and the traffic lights laughed in my face every time they made me stop; so did the old men driving 45mph behind me who pulled up to the lights just as they were turning green. I was not gaining the benefit of the perfectly timed traffic light system on that road. I was trying to speed to my destination.

What if life is set up with traffic lights and we’re supposed to go the speed limit so that we can get through it at a consistent pace? Is it meant to be that way? None of this stop and go, stop and go, that is so brutal on a car’s engine, and likely our bodies and minds as well. Do you think that sometimes we rush life and things stop us dead in our tracks until we’re ready to move on? And we get frustrated by it, but then when the timing is right, we move on to the next thing and hopefully learn to slow down the next time. I don’t know the answer. I just ponder the question.

I wish that I could slow down and enjoy the life that I am in now rather than thinking about what’s in the future and trying to get there as fast as I can. I think I’m actually pretty good at it some days. But then there are the many, many others where I get caught up in dealing with “stuff” and can’t wait to get through that “stuff” , so I speed along, and then BAM – I have to stop at a red light. It’s life’s funny way of making us slow down.

Like life is saying, “Lisa, it’s just not quite time for that yet. I’m not ready for you to move on to the next stage until you’ve enjoyed the view from where you are. Why are you always in such a hurry to move on to the next place?” I think that’s so true. I try to force life to happen and realize that I am messing with the perfect timing that God has created for me in my life. Do you do the same thing?

I’m not saying that we don’t learn things when we are forced to stop at traffic lights. Sometimes some of the detours are the most interesting spots along the way. But, eventually we all end up back on the main road of life.

So I learned something last week. And after that lesson, my drive along that road was relaxing and enjoyable. I wasn't stressed about getting to my destination, because I knew that the perfect timing of the traffic lights would get me there in time. So next time that you find yourself speeding along on a road (or in life) and you are being forced to stop at every traffic light, try talking yourself into being patient and going the speed limit. I will do the same. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find that the road of life that we’re on really does have perfect timing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So, you may think that I’m a bit of snob after reading this blog, but heck, I’m just being honest :-) And who doesn’t enjoy a little First Class Treatment.

Between Christmas and the New Year, I went on a trip over to Scotland to visit some dear friends that I had met while living in Australia. I try to see them as often as I can, but it never seems to be often enough. I miss those girls! Anyway, I used my frequent flier miles for my ticket (since this was the only way that I could justify going on a quasi-last minute trip), and decided that I would sacrifice the extra miles for the upgrade to First Class on the way over there. This is where my snobby factor comes in – I LOVE FIRST CLASS!!! Especially on an international flight where you really do get pampered and the length of the flight makes it totally worthwhile.

On the flight, I was sitting next to a young lady whose father is a pilot for the airline, and who gets to fly all over the world for free (albeit standby) and often gets upgraded to First Class. As we were chatting away, she was saying how most of her friends have never flown First Class and don’t understand just how different it is from coach. People, believe me, it’s different.

But then it got me thinking: when I’m NOT sitting in First Class, I always think that the people who ARE sitting in First Class are snobby. I think they are too good for their britches, act like they are elite, and have paid extortionate amounts of money to get there. When in reality, they are the same person whether they are sitting in First Class or coach; they only act elite because the flight attendants treat them that way. Besides, most of them probably used airline miles like me, or were automatically upgraded based on their status with the airline.

So does that make them better people than the rest of us? Does the fact that I get to fully recline in my chair, get a five-course meal that lasts 3 hours, and receive the cutest little travel kit with toiletries and an eye mask (neither of which I use, honestly) really make be more superior to anyone else in the back of the plane? Does the fact that I get to choose my meal from a menu and eat on china rather than from a plastic container or bag mean that I deserve it any more than the woman sitting on the other side of the curtain?

Then I started thinking: do I act like an “upgraded” person sometimes as a Christian? I would like to think that I get special treatment from my God that non-Christians have chosen to not have access to. But am I a snobby Christian? I don’t want to be one of those Christians who is too good for my britches, acts like I’m elite, or pays extortionate amounts of money to be one. But being a Christian: People, believe me, it’s different.

Then it hit me: the glory of being a believer is that I realize that I will never be good enough on my own to enter the kingdom of heaven (therefore, I’m not too good for my britches), I try to be humble and meek before my God and realize that He is sovereign above all (and therefore I don’t act elite), and I know that Jesus has already paid the ultimate price for me (and therefore the extortionate price has already been paid). But, I still get the benefits! How fantastic is that? I get to live in First Class all the time!

I get someone to help me carry my burdens. I get the grace of God.

I get someone who promises that He will always be there, through good times and bad, all I have to do is ask and welcome Him in.

I get someone who has such a perfect love for me that it’s almost unbelievable.

I get someone who has the perfect plan for my life.

I get someone who knows that I’m going to screw up in my life, and loves me in spite of that.

And I get someone who sacrificed His Son so that I can have all of that.

I feel like being a Christian gives me First Class Treatment. How does it compare to a five-course meal, served on the airlines finest china, with a reclining seat and that quaint little toiletry bag? That airline as NOTHING on my God :-) I’ve been upgraded for life!