Marriage

ARE YOU DRIFTING?

Lake landscape with dead tree

My wife told me of an experience she and her sister had way back in their teen years. They had gone to the salon to fix their hair on a rainy day. On their way back, they came across a flash flood and had to wade through it to get back home. They knew their way home and thought they could just walk through the water in a straight line. But they soon found out that the force of the water was gently pushing them off course. The flood had prevented cars from moving and several of them had formed a single file along the road, all parked and waiting for the flood waters to recede. People observing the situation advised pedestrians caught in the flood to walk alongside the cars. Following this instruction, my wife and my sister-in-law tried to keep in line with the cars as they waded through the water. They then discovered that when they took their eyes off the cars for as much as two seconds, they would have drifted off their set course, almost being swept away by the flood! That line of cars was their saving grace and by staying close to the line of cars, they were able to maintain the right course and get out of the flash flood.

A drift along our life’s course is something we tend to experience once and again. It takes a lot of focus and deliberate action to stay on course and fulfil our goals and purpose. The year is still relatively new and we have begun the race as it were, pursuing the goals we set at the beginning of the year or continuing with the plans we have been working with over the years. Once and again, we are buffeted by various forces of life tugging at us and pushing us in different directions. Over time, we might discover that we have veered off course in certain aspects of our lives and then we strive to get back on track. It is always good to prevent the drift if possible or spot it early and make the necessary amendments. Some drifts happen quickly but most happen rather slowly. You don’t realize how far off you’ve gone until you are checked by someone or an event. At times, we even begin to feel so comfortable on our new course that we don’t really believe we have drifted.

There are certain key areas we must watch out for drifts and ensure we remain on course.

Drifts can occur in one’s marriage. You discover that you guys no longer do the things you used to do together with so much excitement. The mojo is gone. Life happened and other things have taken the place of the investments you could have made in your marriage. There always has to be a deliberate effort to hold unto the reins of your marriage otherwise you would find out that other things take hold of those reins, push you out of the chariot and run you over before you know it. God forbid!

Drifts can occur in one’s career or business. You get carried away by little pecks and freebies that come with your current position or success and fail to move to achieve those business and career goals you set. You suddenly find out that you have put in ten years in the same place doing the same thing when you actually could have accomplished much more based on your original plans.

Drifts could occur in one’s spiritual life. Personally, this is the most dangerous drift we are exposed to. This drift could cost us eternity. Paul, in Ephesians 4:14, talked about the possibility of being carried away by different winds of doctrine. We must stay focused on the undiluted word of God and watch out for dilutions and inconspicuous corruptions of the Word of God around us.

You could have a drift in your life’s overall purpose. You could get into someone else’s course or race. You could begin to follow the wrong star or get mesmerized by the charisma of someone going in the opposite direction.

The good news is that we can avoid the drift or even get out of one in case that is the situation.

Have a plan for your day, your week, your month and your year. Your daily plan should ultimately fit into your plan for the year. That is, your plan for the day must align with your plan for the week, your plan for the week must align with your plan for the month and your plan for the month must dovetail with your plan for the year. Don’t keep the plan in your head. Please write it out so you could see it with your physical eyes and not just with the eyes of your mind.

Have periodic reviews of your plans to check how you are faring on your course. You must deliberately plan these reviews, setting aside specific times for the reviews. These reviews should cover all aspects of your life, assuming you have made plans for those aspects anyway.

Do daily recaps reviewing the events of the day. I have started doing this regularly. I even have a phone alarm set for this so that I don’t fail to do the recap. It provide an opportunity to review my expenses, tasks completed and those pending and to check if I am on a drift or on course.

Best of all, you must continually set your eyes and heart on the Lord. He is the star that would always keep you on course. King David said, ‘I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.’ This should be our resolution too.

Thought check: What areas of your life do you sense a drift? What tips have helped you avoid or handle a drift?

 

SEARCH OUT REASONS…

Sometime ago, I made a trip with my family from Ibadan to Ile Ife, both in western Nigeria. We were going for my younger brother’s marriage introduction ceremony. We set out in two cars. In one car were my brother, his wife, my wife and myself. I sat in front with my brother who was driving. The ladies sat at the back.  In the other car were my mum and my other brothers including the one whose introduction ceremony we were going for. The car I was in was ahead of the other car which was also driven by one of my brothers. About midway into the journey, we got a call from my peeps in the other vehicle that they had hit a pothole and had a flat tyre. So they had to stop at a vulcanizer’s place to fix the tyre. We made a U-turn to find out how they were faring with the tyre repair. Shortly afterwards, we heard a rattling noise coming from the roof of the car. So my brother looked up to check what the cause of the noise was. Almost at the same moment, he looked ahead and discovered that the two vehicles in front of him had slowed down on both lanes because of a speed bump ahead. He pressed the brakes, and it went flat. He pressed and pressed in quick succession and the car wouldn’t slow down. On his left was a high pavement that ran along. Fortunately, my brother saw a little space on the right side of the road. He made a quick dart to the right and squeezed the car through that space. That action looked like something out of the movies. It was a big deliverance from what would have been a ghastly accident. We could have rammed into the rear of any of the cars ahead at a speed of about 100km/h or we could have hit the man who was standing on the road side at that moment. But we thank God for providing that way of escape for us and averting what could have been a sour chapter in a day we were to celebrate. We checked the brakes afterwards and were able to meet the rest of the family and continue on our journey.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on what happened on that trip (I guess anyone who had that experience would). One way of thinking was to say, if we hadn’t turned back to check on the rest of the family, we would not have been in that situation. We should have waited for them to fix the tyre and then proceed with the journey. But think about it this way: What if the failed brake system was a disaster waiting to happen?! What if the brake failed in an instant when there would have been no way out other than running into other cars or people or causing some major catastrophe? That could have happened. So I think God ordered our steps. He had a hand in the flat tyre. He arranged for us to turn back and made an easier way of escape out of an imminent tragedy. God ordered our deliverance. I saw a reason to give God thanks in the whole situation. Rather than have any regret, we searched out reasons to be thankful. In all things give thanks because all things work together for good for those who love God. We are usually quick to see what went wrong or what wrong steps we have taken. But it is gracious to seek out those moments God’s hands have been at work, where His mercy intervened and where we enjoyed angelic intervention. Those moments are always around us. Search for them and be grateful. God looks at a truly grateful heart and gives more reasons to that heart to be grateful. By this I mean, the more grateful we are, the more of God’s goodness we would see in our lives on a daily basis.

Selah.