Most of us have been up in the air more than we like to think about so we have enough airplane craziness stories to fill a book. We remember the time we had to circle the airport for two hours, knowing we’d missed the connecting flight, wearying of the same cloud banks that bounced us around a bit as we waited to land. We remember turbulence that caused us to say our prayers early, several times, hoping our angels were on that flight, holding up the plane, leveling things out, making it all smooth again. We also remember the canceled flights that came as a surprise, the alcoholic seat partner, or the shrieking baby. We have stories and most of them are based on us thinking that we wisely made a plan, that we had somewhere important to go, and that everything was under control.
If those stories do anything, they remind us what little control we have in air travel and maybe over all the things in our daily lives. Establishing a routine gives us a sense of having control. We know that we rise at a certain time, exercise, walk the dog, check email, and start to work in the same relatively consistent framework each day. Whether we work outside of our homes or from home, we set schedules, penciling in events that keep us moving from one point to the next. We do it because these are the things we can own.
But what if we stopped trying to be in control? Perhaps not of everything, but some things! What if we didn’t make a plan for today or next week because we wanted to try surrendering the checklist, the Outlook calendar and all those other things that demand our time and attention. Instead of planning our steps, we’d take a page out of Proverbs 16, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.“
We can indeed plan the course of events, but how we get there, might just look very different from how we thought we’d get there. Let’s go back to the airplane. Let’s say we are now sitting on the runway, not even clear where the plane is going, unsure of the destination, but we’re sure the pilot knows what he’s doing. We don’t have to do a thing to help that plane get there safely and on time because that part is out of our hands. We don’t even have to plan for any emergency because all of that has been done for us too. All we have to do then, is sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. That thought is probably met with at least two reactions. One is “Thank God, I don’t have to be responsible for anything for a few minutes or hours” or “It makes me nervous when I can’t be in control.”
What do you think would happen if you simply sat back and got out of the cockpit of your life? What if you stopped being the doer, the thinker, the builder, the planner, the organizer, the one who everyone else goes to for everything? Could you relax enough to let God determine your steps? Could you be free enough to let Him guide you along the course, utilizing your talents, blessing others as He intended through you in a brand new way?
Today let’s just sit on the runway. Let’s wait long enough for God to start the engines, lifting us to new awareness, skimming through the clouds of discontent and over-planned days, and watch as the blue skies emerge at cruising altitude. If you can do that, even once in awhile, you may find yourself embracing adventures you never dreamed were even possible. You allowed the Pilot of your life to simply take you where He wanted you to go. It’s an amazing trip if you do that, an enviable life course because you can always find your way home. No need for extra baggage, just tilt back and let your heart take wing.