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Monday, May 2, 2016

Collision ahead?

Jackie Robinson once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on others."  There is a double-meaning to impact, my friends.  The first is that place, or moment in time when two collide, striking one against another.  In the case of "collision" it is quite possible the two will not leave the point of collision without some damage.  It is a forceful coming together, not a gentle embracing of each other.  The other meaning is that of being an influence, or having an effect on the other.  The latter doesn't leave a scar, but a touch not soon forgotten - an influence not soon ignored.  I think God wants us to live our lives in such a way we influence others in a positive way, not as a series of reckless moments which leave a negative impact on those around us!

We who are strong are not just to satisfy our own desires. We are called to carry the weaknesses of those who are not strong.  Each of us must strive to please our neighbors, pursuing their welfare so they will become strong.  The Anointed One Himself is our model for this kind of living, for He did not live to please Himself. And as the Scriptures declared, “When they insult You, they insult me.” You see, everything written in the days of old was recorded to give us instructions for living. We find encouragement through the Scriptures and a call to perseverance that will produce hopeful living. (Romans 15:1-4 VOICE)

We have the potential to make another stronger, or to leave them as damaged goods along the highway of life.  As is the case when we get behind the wheel of our vehicle, taking to the roadways we traverse in our passage between here and there, we have the potential to become distracted and even a little too impulsive as we make our way "around" others who appear to be in our way. There is no room for distracted navigation when it comes to our lives, though. We might just find ourselves making impact rather than being impactful!  My pastor calls it singing the song, "Me, me, me".  We focus on us because "me" becomes more important than "we" or "us".  Whenever "me" is more important than anything or anyone else, our focus is distracted and our "driving" in this life is capable of creating an impact we won't really want to make.

My son drives a pick-up truck and that suits his size and build quite well. He came over a few weeks back riding a new motorcycle he had purchased for himself.  Although the motorcycle was large enough to support his frame and he had the strength to support it as he rode it, there was something I noticed. He looked vulnerable on that bike!  He had on his helmet, wore appropriate footwear, and was totally focused on navigating that bike safely out into traffic, but there was a sense of being "exposed" I could definitely observe in the way he navigated the roadway on the bike.  Maybe it was him paying closer attention to all the aspects of riding that bike - keeping his balance, learning to lean into the turns, and being constantly watchful of the "other guy" on the road.  

It spoke to me of times in life when we are a little more vulnerable than at others.  As long as he is in the truck, he is confident, assured, and even carefree in his navigation from point A to point B.  On the bike, he was attentive in a way he just isn't behind the wheel of the truck.  He recognized his "exposure" was much greater in a way it isn't when he is in the truck. Not only was he paying attention to his maneuvers, but now he had to pay closer attention to the other person's, the unknown stuff emerging on the roadway, and even the slightest pebble just catching his tire in the right way which could impact his balance. You see, he had to pay more attention to avoiding collision when he was more exposed.  This is also true in life - we often pay closer attention to our actions and those of others when we feel a little too exposed!

Wouldn't it make more sense to be as attentive when we are "less exposed" as when we are totally "exposed"?  Vulnerability isn't a matter of what we hide behind, but in what is headed right toward us in our pathway!  The truck is no match for a semi - the motorcycle is no match for the pothole - the distractions of life are there all around us.  We have to learn not to just pay attention to "us", but to those who might be a little distracted in their own journey, as well. In truth, we are all a little bit "exposed" to the "impact" of another's life, as are they to the impact of ours.  May our impacts always be those which influence, not collide!  Just sayin!