Maps are funny things.
They are only good if you know how to use them. You have to know where you are, know what your destination is, and from that, apply your time frame to this representation of the larger reality into which you are about to embark.
But what if you possess an outdated map? Or, what about road construction, traffic congestion, flat tires, stops for food, rest rooms and general relief from the numbing ribbon of concrete and asphalt? What about missed exits, bad food and all the things that can go wrong to jostle us out of our plan, all the things that shouldn't be, but are indeed? What happens when all the things that are going wrong become the journey itself?
Somewhere between moving into the map and moving onto the road we all have things go as we have not planned, and we must discover the ways that work best for us to continue our journey and get where we want to go. Sometimes the discovery process becomes another journey altogether. And, sometimes we step just far enough into the unknown that we feel the earth shift beneath us. How do you take another step forward, or in any direction, when you no longer know where you stand?
I guess the first bit of wisdom is to take a deep breath, and exhale. That is the crossroads at which the relaxation industry has amassed its wealth, and with good reason. It isn't the journey, or the pitfalls we encounter along the way, or the side roads that, after the fact, we realize have rendered new opportunities, that upset our balance, but our anxious responses to these circumstances. We have a choice in how we can perceive the world and ourselves, and anxiety is only one of those choices. When the first step back to solid ground is a choice on top of an already overwhelming amount of choices, it doesn't seem so simple and straightforward.
Having made it my mission to consider this aperture in our daily human travels, I was pleased to rekindle the memory that God, through a variety of Biblical references, clearly has no intention for us to be anxious or live our journeys as if anxiety is a tool, a weapon or a lifestyle choice. As fear can be the precursor to a mounting, crushing anxiety, Isaiah 43:1 reminds us: "Fear not, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine." Here we are offered the gentle connection and the opportune steps to allow ourselves back to sure footing, and the freedom to return to the full joy of our travels. Let go of the fear, remember to whom we belong, as well as who we are called to be, and the love by which we are called into being. And from this process, we will indeed find our way.
About The Author
Cory L. Kemp
As an ordained minister, I have worked in educational ministries in several congregations, as well as pastoring a church in the Midwest. My writing has focused on nonfiction essays, and I have recently submitted a theological memoir for publication. Creating Women Ministries is an adventure born of a blended love of God and writing, a website dedicated to encouraging theological dialogue, particularly among women, through workshops, journaling and personal spiritual development. Our site can be found at: www.creatingwomenministries.com. We can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.