I’ve been thinking about guard rails. And now that I’ve been thinking about them, of course I’ve noticed them everywhere! Bike paths, walking paths, bridges, interstates, stairways, etc. They seem to be everywhere I look. I haven’t just been thinking about physical guard rails though, all kinds of guard rails in life. Things that help bump me back on the right path and help me avoid danger. And now since Googling guard rails, I see Andy Stanley has a bible study series called Guardrails that I’m going to have to read!
There are times in life I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, the direction I feel God is calling me, and then for whatever reason I begin to drift. I get preoccupied or distracted or just get lazy, and I begin to drift off the desired path. Drifting can result in hitting a guard rail. Sometimes I slam into them and it feels like my life is overturned and a wreck. Other times guard rails offer a gentle bump and it’s a reminder to take back control and get focused on the direction I’m going.
People can be guard rails. Someone of influence can say just the right thing get my attention and cause me to change. A good friend, pastor, counselor or mentor can give encouragement right when it’s needed most. A stranger who offers a compliment, smile or act of kindness can instantly restore my hope in humanity and remind me to smile and keep moving forward.
I have friends, mentors, and definitely my husband that I know will speak truth to me anytime I need it. They are my inner circle and I go to them first when I know I need bumped back onto a better path of thinking.
Experiences or new places can act as a guard rails. Traveling to new places has expanded my vision and changed my perspective on the world. The beach or mountains help me relax and dream! Traveling and changing my surroundings always helps me get a clearer picture of what I want in life. As a busy mom, extracting myself from the chaos of life from time to time and relaxing is a great guard rail for my mental and emotional health. It doesn’t have to be a international vacation (even though those are my favorite!) but intentional time to explore new places and experiences is a good guard rail.
What I watch and read are guard rails. Good counsel and positive messages can change my perspective. Hearing a message from a podcast or video at just the right time can give encouragement and hope. Reading something that I feel was written or posted just for me at just the right time can help bump me back on the right mental path.
For me, the best guard rail is the Bible. Even one verse a day, to start my day, can act as a reminder and guard rail as I go through my day. I’ve created the habit of not opening anything on my phone until I’ve opened the YouVersion Bible app and checked the verse of the day and spent time meditating on it and thanking God for another day.
Other guard rails for me are books and podcasts. I love audio books so I can drive, vacuum, or pull weeds in the garden with good motivation or encouragement coming through my headphones! Hearing the stories of other people that have been brave and walked through storms in their life and come out stronger is encouraging.
We all need guard rails. Without them we drift and drifting leads to feeling lost and uneasy. The enemy loves nothing more than for us to feel off track and anxious. He wants us to worry and overthink everything and feel like we are spiraling out of control. If there are no guard rails there to catch us…then what? We fall. We fall off the edge and our life is a wreck.
Have you ever been there? Feeling like things are a wreck and spiraling out of control? If you have or are there now, know there is hope. A guard rail can show up anywhere at anytime. They can be big and unexpected, or they can be small and subtle. Keep your eyes out for them. And, if you run into one, and it keeps you from danger, be thankful for it! It may have been sent there by the biggest guard rail of all, Jesus.
Whether you are accelerating, coasting, drifting or spiraling out of control in this crazy life, you can always call out to Jesus, and if you believe He is there, He WILL be your guard rail.