4 Proven Actions To Avoid Spiritual Danger Zones In Your Life

Photo by Deanna

Photo by Deanna

Mountain Road Guardrails Save Lives

Mountain roads are the most dangerous roads.

There’s not a lot of margin when you’re driving on a mountain road. It’s either stay on the road and live, or drive off the side of the mountain and die. That’s it.

And, believe it or not, many of the mountain roads around the world have very few safety features such as guardrails to keep people from driving off the side of a mountain.

I recently read a story from November 2005, when a missionary was driving the dangerous mountain roads of Northern Bosnia–Herzegovina with a couple of pastors. The weather was terrible, but they were driving cautiously as they navigated their way to a conference. The majority of these Bosnian roads have no guardrails.

As they came around a curve, they unexpectedly hit a slick spot and started sliding toward the edge of the mountain. A river with jagged rocks was waiting for this missionary and pastors some 40-feet below.

As their car was sliding out of control, the men all cried out “Jesus!” Fortunately, this was one of a few curves on the mountain road that actually had a guardrail. The front bumper of the car hit the guardrail and pushed the car back on the road.

Once the missionary found a safe place to pull over, the all jumped out of the car to take a look. First, they were amazed that there was even a guardrail on this particular curve. Second, they were surprised that the guardrail appeared to be brand new.

The Purpose of Guardrails

Guardrails are designed to keep motor vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas, just like in the above story. They are normally found on bridges, in medians, and around curves.

Guardrails are a safety design feature that is an almost invisible part of our driving experience. We really don’t even pay attention to them until we need them.

In driving, there needs to be some margin of error. Mistakes will be made. Accidents will happen. The theory behind the guardrail is that your physical body and your vehicle will incur less damage striking the guardrail then if you were to experience whatever is on the other side of that guardrail (such as a drop off or an oncoming car).

So, yes, if you hit a guardrail, there is going to be damage, but it probably won’t be as bad as if you didn’t have that guardrail in the first place.

We Need Guardrails

We as a society need guardrails on the road. They are an important safety feature for all of us.

You and I need “guardrails” in our personal lives, too.

We’ve all had horrible, damaging experiences in our own lives or in the lives of family members. These damaging events may have included a financial bankruptcy, a moral failure, a divorce, bad business practices, or an addiction.

But, if we had included the safety feature of personal guardrails in our lives, these catastrophic events could have been prevented. Yes, some damage may have occurred, but maybe not at the level of the final, destructive outcome we experienced.

4 Actions To Protect Our Spiritual Lives

When I speak of personal guardrails, I’m speaking of taking the following actions to protect us from our own danger zones:

First, you must be honest with yourself and others regarding the areas in which you struggle and are most tempted.

Second, you need to seek out professional help, especially if you really struggle in the area of addictions, to get you back on the road to sobriety.

Third, you must put appropriate rules into place to act as your “guardrails” for your specific area of struggle. For example, if you have a spending problem that led you into bankruptcy in the past, then you must live on a budget and spend only cash; no credit cards or other debt for you. If you are a workaholic and this has damaged your relationship with your family, then you need to establish a strict schedule for work hours and family time. If you struggle with alcoholism, then you can never take even one drink ever again.

Fourth, you need to be accountable to those around you. You need to be accountable to your spouse. You need to be accountable to a trusted friend. You need to be accountable to a group of men or women. You need to check in with them on a regularly basis. Once a week is ideal. Every few weeks is okay. Being accountable to these people means they understand the areas in which you personally struggle and you are completely honest with them with how you are doing in those areas.

Questions: Do you need guardrails to protect you from specific danger zones in your life? Have you constructed these guardrails already? Have you been honest with yourself? Have you sought out professional help? Have you setup some rules? Do you have accountability partners to guide you back to where you really want to go?






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Harnessing The Power Of Awareness To Initiate Change

Photo by here'slookingatyou,kid

Photo by here’slookingatyou,kid

Cluelessness Rules

It blows my mind how clueless many people seem to be. Many appear to be simply beboping through life. Whether it’s going from one activity to another or running back and forth between work and home life, many seem to have their heads stuck in the sand without much awareness of what is actually taking place around them.

On the surface, everything seems to be going okay in their lives. If you were to dig a bit below the surface, though, I’m guessing things would probably be a mess in many areas of their lives.

Their finances are a disaster. They have no monthly budget. They have no short or long-term goals. They have debt. They are living lifestyles beyond their ability to sustain long-term. As a result, they are living paycheck to paycheck with no fruit to show for all their labor.

Their relationships are sketchy. They don’t spend quality or quantity time with their spouse or children. They don’t see their extended family very often. They have a handful of friends they rarely see. As a result, they feel isolated and lonely.

Their spiritual lives are lukewarm. They make no time for Bible reading. They have shallow prayer lives. They bounce into church if they just happen to have a couple of hours on a Sunday morning when they aren’t at the lake. God just isn’t on their radar very much. As a result, they feel unfulfilled and spiritually dead.

The Power of Awareness

There is a better way, though. If we will just take some time and occasionally cease our relentless, daily activity, then we can create some space in order to become more aware of what is actually taking place in our lives. Once we become aware of what is going on, then we can begin the process of making necessary changes to move in a different direction.

Here are some methods and practices to “press pause” on our hectic personal lives so that we can take time to reflect and become more fully aware of what is taking place around us.

  • meditation: I’m not talking Far East mystical practices here. This is more the Michael Hyatt approach. Just take several minutes each day to stop any activity and quiet your mind.
  • journaling: This is a great activity to become self-aware of what is going on in your life. You can write about your successes and failures. You can write down your dreams and goals. You can list out everything that’s going great in your life right now, or maybe even not so great.
  • talking and listening: Sit down with your spouse, children, and friends. Talk about what is taking place in your family and each other’s lives. Try to do more listening than talking. Really dig deep, ask a lot of questions, and be on the lookout for some key thoughts on what is really happening in the lives of those closest to you.
  • counseling: There is no shame in seeking out the services of a professional counselor. They have been trained to help you unpack your life stuff. They can be a useful resource for you to develop greater awareness in your life. They will do more listening than talking. They will ask you leading questions and reflect back to you what you are saying.
  • coaching: A life coach will push you into greater awareness for what you really want to accomplish in your life. They’re going to give you the “kick in the rear” you need to set goals and to get moving on those goals as quickly as possible.

Questions: How aware are you? Do you really have a handle on what is taking place in your life? Are you living with a sense of purpose and direction? Have you tried any of these 5 practices I have listed above? Which of these practices work best for you?