It’s been one week since I moved — a twenty-minute commute from old to new, but a move nonetheless. A majority of the seven days I’ve made the decision to go back and forth between both towns. Kent to Stow. Stow to Kent. Kent to Stow. Stow to Kent. Surely after living in northeast Ohio for four years of school, this rhythm should have been a piece of cake by now. Not especially — not when the left side of the road is littered with construction vehicles, police cars and the like at 10:30 p.m., causing my heart to become dissonant to that rhythm. Up ahead, I saw two officers waving red glow sticks in front of the right lane, but that’s as far as my depth perception wanted to go. What I didn’t see, until the last second, was the un-illuminated stop sign the second officer was holding up. As I came to an abrupt halt, I knew something was wrong.
One of the men gestured for me to roll down my window, so I complied. Suddenly everything seemed like it could get me in trouble — my music reached new decibels, my water became a suspicious liquid — as the officer barked at me, asking what the matter with me was. Some version of “I’m so sorry; I was having trouble fully seeing what was up ahead” was met with a forceful version of “if you see commotion up ahead, slow down! Stop thinking you can blaze through everything without us stopping you. What is wrong with you?” It was jarring, shocking to me how a 30-second incident held power over how my day would be summarized. As I fought back tears, scared to drive over 20 miles an hour the rest of the way home, I thought about the breakdown I knew would happen when I stepped foot in my apartment.
And there they were: the tears I wasn’t sure how to handle. Water that started off in drops and ended up in streams. I wished there were buckets underneath my face to collect the outpouring of emotion, but instead, the saltwater fell on my cheeks, my arms, my legs. God knew the tears had to do with more than my incident on the road, but He knew even more how the event highlighted so many insecurities in such a short period of time — the power authority has over me, the desire in me to be responsible, the pull in me to be liked and the fear of my actions wounding another.
Even though it was a negative moment to punctuate my night, it baffled me to think about the significance it had in my day, and it took me into a deeper place of thinking: one where God uses every incident in our lives with intention. My miniature event revealed to me the insecurities in me, but do we think often about positive times that reveal the security we have in Christ? In Psalm 121:3-5, the Psalmist writes, He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. Instead, the Protector of Israel does not slumber and sleep. The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. It dawned on me that I need to start thinking about the mundane moments as teaching times, too — you know? The times when I get to work scot-free, the times when I have a simple day at work, the times when I sit eating the same breakfast I’ve eaten for the past year — again. The intention of these seemingly purposeless hours? His peace.
In a Bible study I’ve been in this summer, Lysa Terkeurst spends a full week touching on the idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. One of His seven “I am” statements, the concept of Him looking over us like a flock is the most comforting to me. John 10:14-15 puts it this way: I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know Me, as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. I lay down my life for my sheep. After reading this, it drives me crazy that I trouble myself so intensely with my insecurities but refuse to delight so intently with my Father. If we retreat to Him, He will draw us in with truth, not push us out with lies. Thank you, Lord!
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