Two flat tires.
It all started as a fun family excursion on Memorial Day. We had piled into two vehicles to travel to the top of a remote hill in order to shoot some targets. For several minutes it was man against wilderness, as we battled steep, jagged inclines to get to our destination. Now, here we sat—six adults and a baby—in the middle of nowhere—and our Subaru had not one, but two flat tires.
In that moment, each one of us (besides my sweet grandson) was faced with a decision. How would we respond to this unfortunate turn of events? What was supposed to be an enjoyable bonding activity had quickly turned into a disaster.
I confess that my past is riddled with reactions of anger or mild (and sometimes not so mild) hysteria. Just ask my kids. They all have memories of their mother’s outbursts of tears and prolong ranting. I really like predictability, stability, and security. When that is disrupted…Watch out!
Thankfully over time the Lord in His abundant grace has taught me to practice a simple strategy when facing life’s unexpected twists and turns. It’s called “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” No, this isn’t a lesson on what to do if your clothing catches on fire. But, in the same way, our immediate response is critical to the outcome.
Don’t do anything. Take a deep breath. The ability to think before you act is a marker of maturity. It requires creating a momentary pause to ensure that you don’t cause more damage by a rash response. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
It’s time to be humble and acknowledge your need for God. Fall to your knees (literally or figuratively) and pray. In my line of work, even with all my training and experience, I often encounter situations that are beyond my ability to address. I send up a silent prayer and ask for God’s wisdom, and He gives me what I need. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10).
Let go of your need to be in control. Be flexible and roll with the punches. Remind yourself (as often as needed) that God is in charge. Creative and hopeful solutions come when you are open to functioning outside of your preconceived ideas. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Don’t allow circumstances to overwhelm you. Practicing the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” strategy will empower you to face unexpected situations as a victor rather than a victim. And that, my friend, is a topic for another time…
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness. I confess that I get upset when situations don’t go my way. Help me to walk with You by faith, believing that You are working all things together for my good and Your glory. Teach me to “Stop, Drop, and Roll” when I encounter the fiery trials of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.