Faith · Uncategorized

How To Survive Family Road Trips and The Fear Spiral

Have you ever heard anyone say that if you want to know if you get along with someone, go on a road trip? The reason people say that is because road trips tend to bring out the raw in a person. This is most likely a result of the lack of the laser focus required for driving, and/or the lightening stress response of the passenger who, at no fault of her own, TOTALLY freaks out whenever the car gets remotely near a semi truck. For me- road trips bring out the irrational crazy in me!

We are on our way to the zoo. It’s about 2.5 hours away, kids in the back seat watching a movie. This is completely cheating if you ask me, but I’m fully okay with it. Nobody’s hitting anybody, screaming or singing, and for some reason, TV makes them forget they have bladders that they filled up with water 10 minutes after we left. Win- win.

We once drove across the ENTIRE United States, from SC to CA with a 4 month old in the backs seat. That car did not have a DVD player. I spent %75 of that trip draped over the baby with my upper half in his face trying not to have to stop for a nursing break. We made it safely, and surprisingly, back pain free.

Then I think of the times people don’t make it. The near misses, break slams, close calls. I know of multiple people who’ve suffered at the carelessness of other drivers, or themselves, or just freak accidents. Literally, minutes ago, we passed what appeared to be a fatality accident on HWY 95. I can’t help but think, why not me? When will it be me? Is it going to be today with the way you’re driving HUBS??!

There was a time where this created a nearly debilitating fear in me. Like, constant catastrophising in my head. I would get sick to my stomach with fear, on the way to the grocery store. I mentally prepared every day for great loss, of Job-like proportions. Not completely unprovoked: money trouble, Hubs drives like a there is testosterone dripping from his lead foot, and I have 2 boys.

My well meaning Christian friends would say “trust God”. But that just didn’t fly with me. It’s not that I don’t trust Him. It’s that I do! The bible clearly says not to be surprised when we suffer, for suffering builds godly character. And are they saying that if those who had accidents, just trusted God, that they would have been fine? That’s the junk-food theology that many are fed and it’s false! I can immediately recall horrifying tragedy occurring in a family whom I know to trust and love God completely. But we have to stop the worry. It is paralyzingly and will bind us, stopping us in our tracks from doing what God calls us to do.

The bible doesn’t just say we shouldn’t worry, but that we mustn’t. “Fear not”, “do not worry” Luke 12:29. It also says to be prepared for trial. Ok. So, to paraphrase, “don’t worry, this is really going to hurt.”

If you love God, you WILL have trials and life will not be easy. In fact, it often gets harder. The truth is that we will be tested by “firey trial” 1 Peter 4:12. But the good news is this; “we know all things work for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. So this helps me in the fear. This checklist:

Do I love God?

Am I called to Gods purpose? Yes

Am I currently doing Gods purpose?? (Sometimes I’m not, and this exercise can help me work through that too.) Am I avoiding Gods purpose because  afraid? Stop it.

So I can TRUST that no matter what trials I face, and I will:  if we crash the car, if my husband loses his job, if we lose our home, if I lose a child. I just…my breath. I can’t.

God will work it for good. And, if all I have left in the world is God, then  I have everything.

I pray for the family of those in the crash we passed. I hope there were no deaths. If there were, I pray that they loved Jesus and will meet him today and that through this tragedy, God will receive glory.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭ESV



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