Thoughts while Driving

I practiced a bit of metacognition on my lunch break today.

I left campus for lunch today, and while driving to TR to pick up a sandwich, I thought about life, about conversations that happened at girls’ night last night, about thoughts that are persistent, about Jesus and the Gospel, about heaven and hell.

I also thought about how I think about all those things. Metacognition.

I thought about the fact that my thoughts are so harsh and unrelenting, and I thought about the fact that if I say those words out loud, they evaporate as if sound waves infiltrate the lies. I also thought about the fact that I have so many great thoughts while I’m driving, but by the time I get back to my computer or to a place where I can sit with a notebook, those thoughts are gone. I have composed manifestos and memoirs in my head on many occasions, only to lose them when I arrive at my physical destination. On rare occasions, I manage to arrive home with an experience that fills up so much of my existence that I cannot rest until I have written those thoughts down, and I stay up late writing about storms and sunsets.

Mostly, though, my thoughts while driving are replaced quickly by emails, tweets, Facebook notifications, breaking news, and responsibilities. When I’m no longer alone with only my internal dialogue to keep me company, I move out of the role of a thinker and a writer and into another role with, seemingly, more urgent needs. I can rarely recapture the thoughts I found so beautiful when I was alone.

Today, however, I thought, once more, that I should invest in a recorder to leave in my car for those moments. Then, I remembered that I’d discovered that my BlackBerry actually has a voice recorder (let’s stop pretending I’m technologically advanced, shall we?). I pulled it out and spent almost 7 minutes just talking to myself (let’s pretend like that doesn’t make me sound crazy).

When I sat down to write this post, I listened to my recording. Once I got over that initial weirdness of hearing my own voice unfiltered, I found my recording to be amusing and poignant and revelatory. I spent the first minute or so commenting on the oddity of talking to myself, but when I finally settled into my train of thought, I discovered that my own words, speaking Truth back at me, are powerful in vanquishing a negative mindset. The result is that I reminded myself of just how big God is. I reminded myself that the plans I had were not the plans He had, and I recognized (audibly) that His ways are not mine, and His kingdom is more important than my puny plans.

In those 7 minutes, I thought about Jesus’ words, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” And if the Kingdom is here, but not fully here, then the kingdom of hell is warring against the Kingdom of heaven. When I choose to focus on the ways that the kingdom of hell is present–in heartache and loneliness, in difficulties and darkness–then I’m making a choice not to focus on the glory of God and His Kingdom on earth. My friend Jane said as much to me last night; she essentially told me that when I look at the future and think, “there’s no way that will ever happen,” then I’m not allowing God to work. There is conviction in that statement, and as much as I hate to say the words aloud or type them in this post, I live my day-to-day life trying to make things work in my own way, in my own time, and with my own power, and I don’t acknowledge the ways that God could be leading me. And when I cry out in anger and frustration that I don’t have an answer and things aren’t working out the way I want them to, He is always there reminding me that there’s a better way: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

This is not a new struggle. These are not new truths. Every day, my own sin and stubbornness and willfulness create a barrier between me and my Father. Some days, I let the barrier remain. Other days, I drive in my car, talking to myself, reminding myself of the truth of God and that the blood of Jesus and the grace of God have covered EVERY ONE OF MY SINS. In these moments, I can recognize that, ultimately, the goodness of God will win out over the blackness of evil.

I write these words for my own sake, more than anyone else. This will be a post that I will turn to on the days when the Kingdom doesn’t seem so near, when I forget that He is enough. Moments of clarity like this will remind me on those days when my thoughts are muddled and confused and fearful.

My Father is a living God, and His grace is sufficient for me. His mercies are made new every morning, and there is nothing I can do that can separate me from my Father’s love.

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