There’s a difference between settling and finding an inner peace.
I have learned this in a very drastic way, in my last days of being nineteen.
Three days before my twentieth birthday, I experienced something that I thought wouldn’t happen, not to me; always to other people.
I sped down a Virginia state road, going a comfortable 45 miles an hour. Half tired, half unaware. There was some country song on the radio, I was singing under my breath; my roommate Natalie was in the passenger seat, looking up something on her phone.
I didn’t even see the brake lights. They didn’t register in my mind.
It happened in a millisecond. One minute I was coasting at 45 mph, and the next there was smashed in metal, shattered glass, fumes, and my car was rolled in a ditch.
I sat there frozen. Numb. Shocked.
The airbags didn’t deploy. Natalie’s head shattered the windshield and she passed out for a few minutes. In that moment I thought I had killed her.
If it was purely up to physics, to logic, to reason, Natalie and I and the other people who I rear ended shouldn’t have all walked away. But we did, with few injuries.
There’s a very famous song, that’s one of my favorites called “Simple Man,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, in which a wise mother advises her son about the best way to live life, and one line she warns her son to “Remember, there is Someone up above.”
But oh how easy we forget this. We the complacent. We the fearful.
And for so long I had been settling for things, and became stagnant instead of willing to grow. For a career that was too comfortable. For a faith that was still, and holding onto heartbreaks and lost friendships that wrenched my gut.
This crash changed things. Call it a reboot on my life or a really swift kick in the butt.
But what it really was, was the Lord with His hand on my life, on all our lives. A divine wake up call. And it made me realize that every heartache, every closed door (no matter how hard it slams in your face), even every crash has a purpose. To grow us, closer to God, and more at peace with ourselves. And I am thankful.
God wants the very best for us, not to settle in or to bask in our regrets. Sometimes what is best is not always the most comfortable. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right. Sometimes it wrecks us.
Alas, you can’t grow the garden unless you pull the weeds. Unless you allow yourself to be challenged, to be grown.
Since the accident, I’ve gone through some healing. Physically, spiritually, emotionally. But more importantly, i’ve learned not to settle, but to find the peace of God and within myself. I am well aware that I will experience failure sometimes, and heartache and “crashes,” but I will not settle in them.
I am grateful for my fear, for my failure, for my heartbreaks and for my crashes. Because it shows that God has a plan for my life, for our lives, and that even in our weakness, in our moments where our faith is shaken, He grows us in His strength.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
Blessings and peace to you all.