Off Track

The last two years have really thrown us off track. Take a minute to think back to 2019; what were you doing, planning, dreaming of, working towards? Do those things feel like a pipe dream now? Everything has shifted and changed in the last two years, leaving us bewildered and in a cloud of anxiety and fear, wondering if we will ever get back to those goals from a year or two years ago.

Confusion is the work of the enemy. He clouds our vision, bringing a fog around our boats, turning us around and around on the water in a sea of hopelessness. The enemy does not need to be cunning or smart. Simple blindfolds are enough to send us into a chaotic loss of direction and focus.

I was speaking with a friend the other week, we seem to vent our frustrations of the world once a week or so. I always look forward to our quick chats because they are an opportunity to air the dirty laundry that is 2020 and 2021 without judging one another, while providing each other a lot of empathy. As we were speaking I got this picture of people leaving their desks and running into the streets, joining the chaos of riots and yelling. The riots were not about anything in particular, so don’t think I’m advocating for anything specific here. The picture was more about people abandoning their individual callings and running towards a tumultuous, joint confusion, believing this was their purpose and new identity. This unruly behaviour and mass distraction has become our fog, our blindfolds.

The picture I saw portrayed an abandoned desk, papers left half written, fluttering in the breeze. These desk were our hearts, our souls and our real purpose. We are now so distracted by the chaos and unsettled by our fear that to sit back down at the desk feels impossible. Our anxiety will not allow us to focus on the work we were doing prior to the crisis. However, returning to the individual and purposeful work God has placed in our hearts is the only way through any of this. Think back. What was your goal before all this? What was your purpose and what you were working towards? It’s so easy to get off track, but don’t let the disarray distract you any longer.

When I was a kid we used to spend a lot of time at the beach. Train tracks litter the valley and one prominent track follows a boardwalk bordering the beach. Sitting on the beach we would get excited when we heard the whistle of a train in the distance. My dad would dig in his pockets for coins and we would line the pennies and dimes along the train track rails, waiting for the train to come and squish them into thin patties. I would sometimes watch in horror wondering if the train would become derailed by my penny. I was quite a fearful and anxious kid. I thought the train would fly off the tracks and end up in the crowd of people. The police would surly know it was me and arrest me for such a careless act. I’d end up on the front page and my life would be ruined. The train approached in graceful speed and simply sped right along, sending our coins flying into the air. The game of finding our squished coins, and me realizing I would not be a convicted mass murder via train, was the best part of the whole event.

I want to be a writer, a full time writer, but I struggle with my author voice, as anytime chaos enters my life I feel my voice becomes less valuable. Who would listen to me when I’m going through such and such or this and that? I can’t even get my own life sorted out let alone speak into someone else’s. I realized the other day that I’m allowing a penny to derail me. I’m determined to be an author and have a voice regardless of the chaos that is going on in my life. I no longer want the fog to cloud the vision of the map. The map is still true and the compass is still pointing north. The fog exists around me, not in me.

2020 and 2021 has clouded your vision, you’ve been pulled into the pandemonium of the fog. It’s time to return to the good work you have abandoned at the desk. It’s time to return to your heart and soul work. It’s time to close the door to the study and refocus on your own life. Eventually, after some time maybe, you will look up from your desk and realize the fog has lifted. You won’t know when it happened or how it happend, but you will be surprised to see that it is suddenly gone. You will find your coin amidst the rocks and rail boards and realize the train did not derail, but the train actually changed the shape of the coin itself.

Do not be distracted by temporal things. Fogs lift, coins squish, but the boat and train are ultimately designed for a journey and a purpose, not permitting small things to redirect their path. It’s time to get back on track, it’s time to turn your attention back to the compass and it’s time to return to your desk of abandoned work. We do not have to be impressionable to the blindfolds anymore.

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