Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Ruts of Life

My daughter Katie and I put together the newsletter for our church. I collect articles, ads, etc. and she takes care of all the typing and design for the newsletter. Occasionally I write an article for the newsletter too. I wrote this one back in February of 2007. It was snowing much like it is right now. I thought you might like to read it.

I’ll never forget the first winter I had my driver's license. I was seventeen and living in Detroit, Michigan. Back then a Detroit winter and its ever present snow arrived in early November and the snow remained on the ground until at least March. City streets never saw a snowplow and always developed ruts. Snow removal was summed up in one word, "Spring".

With each passing snowstorm (and there were many) the ruts got deeper and deeper. The ruts (two of them) ran down the middle of the road. Parked cars and driveways alternated along each side of the road.

When I learned to drive I learned how to back out of the driveway and into the ruts - without hitting any of the parked cars! I also learned how to accelerate quickly to get out of the ruts and back into the driveway. But the rule that was stressed most often was, "Stay in your rut - never give up the rut". If you met another driver coming from the opposite direction on a snowy, rutty road you could give up one rut, but never both! If you did you might end up stuck in the snowdrifts until the Spring thaw!

That winter, each time I left the house and got in the car my Mom would shout out, "Don't forget to stay in your rut!" After all there was safety in the rut. The rut guided me to where I needed to go.

Maryland winters (at least since I've lived here) are nothing like those winters of my youth. For one thing when it does snow my streets get plowed. Snow ruts seldom develop, and if they do they melt pretty quickly - usually within hours rather than months.

Much has changed since then. Thirty-four years plus have seen to that. One thing that hasn't changed is that I still find myself getting into ruts. There are medical ruts, relationship ruts, spiritual ruts, and financial ruts, ruts of boredom, complacency and fear. You name it and I've probably been in a rut about it.

Over the years I learned how to get into those ruts. It was so easy. I focused on things like "woe is me", "what if", "why?" and "if only". I focused on me and what it felt like to be in those ruts. But over the years I also learned how to get out. I changed my focus and looked to the Lord.

Life's ruts, unlike snow ruts - there's no real safety in them. You may experience a false sense of security tucked down in the middle of one but they don't guide you, they don't get you where you need to be. They slow you down, they hold you back and they keep you from having the kind of life God has planned for you.

Life's ruts - they exist, they're real. They're stressful, scary and often times overwhelming. But as Christians we don't have to stay in our ruts. Our circumstances may not change but when we're walking with God we look at things differently. We can see beyond the ruts and focus on the blessings all around us.

During those winters back in Detroit I found safety in those ruts, but I have to admit, I drove out of them at least once. It took four men, four shovels and a good bit of muscles to get me back into the icy, bumpy, snowy, safe rut. What a blessing it is to know that it only takes God to lift me out of the less than safe ruts of life!

In every situation we need to keep our focus on God. We need to talk to Him, sing to Him, worship Him and pray to Him. We need to share Him with others and include Him in our daily plans. We need to depend on Him for our every need. There will be ruts, but when we're walking with Him daily there's an excitement within us and it provides us with everything we need to climb out of them and go on.


Kimberly said...

Thank you for this Marie! It's giving me a nudge in the right direction!
Blessings, Kimberly

Regina said...

I needed this thought today. Thank you Marie.

Anonymous said...

A very good article, Marie.

Because you're always so sweet to stop by my blog and read and post nice comments, I'm inviting you...well, tagging you! I hope you'll join in! Just list 7 wonderful or weird or whimsical or serious things about yourself, invite 7 other bloggers and let them know as well as post them on your blog. It's a great way for us bloggers to get to know one another and to find other lovely blogs.
I hope you'll join in!
Blessings and thank you for this great post!

LDH said...

Dear Marie,

I, too, was tagged by Diane and thought I'd stop by to visit you. I instantly knew I'd found a sister in Christ. Lovely post, uplifting music and sweet place.

Kindly, ldh

Sharon said...

Marie,I too was tagged by Diane so I thought I would visit your blog. I also learned to never give up my rut. Growing up in St. Paul MN. Also I have a love of those cute little squirrels. If you visit my blog you can meet "Chester" my favorite. Sharon

Scrap for Joy said...

What a thoughtful, inspiring blog post. God guides us out of ruts all the time and we often fling ourselves right back into them. I am grateful that He is patient. You are a wonderful example of fine Christian living and I'm happy to call you a friend.

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Just beautiful, Marie! I love when we can take everyday experiences and view the love of God through them. Makes the ordinary just amazing, doesn't it?

Hugs, Lea