So there I was, on the side of the highway. We had been called out for a grass fire that was in the median of the highway. These are the type of calls that I really hate. Calls on the highway that don’t slow traffic down. Cars, trucks, and 18 wheelers flying by only feet away from where we’re working and with not much protection. We had the engine and the truck out on this call. Both attempting to block traffic on either side of the median and give us some space. It never fails though that there are distracted drivers and this particular one failed to see the very large red truck with fluorescent chevrons on the back and the flashing red and blue lights until the very last second. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but it’s not an easy thing to miss in the road. The driver clipped the blinker as he swerved to miss the fire truck. As he did he over corrected in the other direction and ended up spinning out into the grass heading straight for where we were putting out the fire. Well I’m still here to write the story, so he didn’t hit us, but still there’s a little pucker factor when a 3000 pound car is spinning out of control into your personal space.
If we are not careful to set up personal roadblocks in our life we will end up distracted and either spinning out of control or crashing. And sometimes those involved don’t make it out alive. This is why it is so important to set up personal roadblocks. Now, this post isn’t really about distracted driving, though. It’s more about living (or not living) a distracted life.
In my experience I’ve noticed that, for the most part, people are not out to intentionally harm others because they have this evil desire to hurt them. Sometimes that is the case but, in my totally unscientific opinion, I am convinced that most of the pain experienced in this world is caused by neglect and distraction. Think about the last time you were really hurt by someone. Was it because they intentionally meant to harm you or was it something less sinister like, they neglected to realize the impact their actions would have on you or they were so distracted by the mess of their own life that they spun out into you and made a mess of yours?
It’s been a little while since Part 2 was put out, so let’s catch up.
In Part 1, we saw that it is important for us to set up personal roadblocks So We Don’t Lose Our Lives. That if we are not careful to set up a system to slow us down and establish a deep well from which we draw the core of who we are, that we will quite literally lose our identity to someone else’s agenda.
In Part 2, we saw that setting up personal roadblocks keeps us on the right path So We Don’t Lose Our Way and that when we establish life-giving routines those routines act as guides that help us navigate times of uncertainty when we feel like we’re losing our way.
The last reason in this series has to do with how our actions affect others.
We Need to Intentionally Set Up Personal Roadblocks:
3. So We Don’t Damage Others
We really need to take stock of our actions and how they affect others. I challenge you to do that. That roadblock in our governmental institution is called a system of checks and balances. Simply put, it’s purpose is to keep each of the three branches of our government in check and limit their power over the people or the other branches of government.
Here are some “checks and balances” questions I have to ask myself and you might ask yourself as well…
How does the way I use my time affect others? – Am I really engaging in something meaningful and purposeful or am I distracting myself so I can ignore the current reality? We have to set up roadblocks in our schedule that keep us moving toward goals that are rewarding. It’s like Jon Acuff has said, “Your willingness to discipline one part of your life creates freedom in another.”
What am I giving my best self to? – This is your energy and effort. You maybe logging many hours in a particular area but are you giving your best self to it? This one is particularly close to my heart as a father. I constantly have to challenge myself in this area because the idea of being close in proximity does not automatically translate into being emotionally present or mentally available and engaged with my boys. If I allow myself to substitute proximity for presence I will end up sacrificing my kids’ experience of what it means to have a father.
And, in a larger more global context…
How does what and where I purchase items affect others? – Remember that the price on the tag doesn’t always reflect the cost that was made. You might be getting a cheap deal, which is great for your pocket book, but did that “deal” serve you at the expense of someone else. It’s a legitimate question that we need to ask ourselves. We have to have a roadblock in our system of thinking so we don’t exploit others in the pursuit of our own happiness.
I guess these are some of the reasons I started dreaming about this trip we’re taking around the world. I wanted to challenge some of the thought processes that were starting to creep in and distract me from living the life that I really wanted. Travel is such a microcosm of life’s journey. It affords you the space and opportunity, in a very short amount of time, to really experience love, laughter, adventure, and challenges together. To look fear in the face and walk forward in courage. To express compassion to those who are broken. To be angry with one another and learn how to work through the conflict in love. To GROW.
We had really good things. A good house, a good yard, good schools for the kids, we had a good life going on. But, even good things can be a distraction and deterrent from obtaining the great things. But, only you can decide what those great things are.
So here you go…
Don’t let merely good things distract you from focusing on the great things you were meant for.
Tell us some of your story in the comments below. Do you find it difficult to focus on the important things in life? Have you noticed yourself drifting into the wrong lanes because you’ve been focusing on the wrong things? Add your voice to the conversation.
If you have found this post helpful, would you share it with someone you think could benefit from it too? We would greatly appreciate it!