For 10 years I was a professional CDL (Commercial Driver’s Licensed) driver who abided strictly by the Smith System of professional driving. These five steps of safe driving have kept me free of any collisions. This accepted code of professionalism prevents accidents and leads drivers safely to their destination. I argue these five vital tenets of safe driving can also guide the spiritual life and lead us toward our eternal destination.
1. Aim High in Steering
Yes it is all about vision. If we focus on our feet we collide into things, but when we look ahead a whole new world enters into our vision. We can be too focused on ourselves if we concentrate on introspective navel gazing. Ever watch a person try to read their iphone while walking on a crowded sidewalk? Look out ahead “gomer!” The “I” world of the iphone becomes too ego centered and one misses out on what “others” are doing in the “we” world of community. When we recognize others around us, whether hindrances or helpers, we get a better vision of the lay of the land, and respond accordingly. What selfish habit can I forego today in order to make room for the community around me?
2. Get the Big Picture
We are all on a destination to get to heaven, this is the big picture. What I’m doing today will help me step by step arrive at my destination. Do my daily activities fit into the big picture? Am I making small steps towards the direction where I eventually want to arrive? Am I grateful for God through all the blessings of this day? Do I take time to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead me to my destination?
3. Keep your Eyes Moving
Tunnel vision is such a danger in the spiritual life. When we fail to move our eyes we get sleepy and routinely stagger through life without noticing details. Do we make eye contact with the essential people around us? Do I notice the janitor, mail carrier, or food service worker behind the scenes? If our eyes are moving then we are aware of what is happening around us. Do we reflect on the joys and sorrows encountered every day? How did we meet Jesus in the people and events of our day? How did we respond to Jesus in the people God put on our path today? Any regrets?
4. Leave yourself an out
We need a safety zone around us to avoid accidents; I call this the safe pocket. Burnout happens when we over extend ourselves too far and we have no space to maneuver, no safety pocket to retreat to, no exit from the congested situation. God would have us maintaining good self care, just as a loving father looks out for his child, so our Heavenly Father looks out for us. What is missing from our life that prevents any flourishing to occur? Prayer time? Work out time? Study time? Family time? Job time? Leisure time? God made us to flourish, thrive, and grow. What essential thing is missing to make this happen?
5. Make sure they see you
“No man is an island” wrote the English poet John Donne and we need each other more than we care to admit. Loneliness can overwhelm any vocation. But the presence of the other person heals the wounds of loneliness. All of us participate in the mystical Body of Christ and in a personal way display Christ to others. Sometimes this happens without our knowledge or assent, God just works that way. When we were created by this awesome Creator, God claimed a majestic sovereignty and the right to work through us. Participate in any charitable cause and you will witness the fundamental goodness of the human person helping another person, and community flourishes. We need our brothers and sisters in community and the world aches for this visible community. We can’t survive it all alone, make sure they see you.
Okay there you have it, 5 safe spiritual tenets to get us to our eternal destination. Be safe on “The Way” and honk as you drive by!!!!!