We have spent the last couple of months in a sermon series called “Don’t Make Me Turn This Car Around”. We used the summer theme of taking road trips to help talk about the things God hates as listed in Proverbs 6:16-19. “Don’t make me turn this car around” is never said with the hope that you will need to turn the car around but rather in hopes that behavior will change to make it a more pleasant road trip. When we get along with the people in the vehicle, the trip is much better. The same is true in our spiritual relationship. God is looking for behavior change because it helps us enjoy the journey more.
There are some important relationship practices that have to be utilized on a road trip that I think would benefit us if we used them in our everyday life. Long distances in a small environment are only a microcosm of how life can be every single day. We live in a world where we are all connected on a lifetime journey. Here a few lessons we can take from a road trip and apply to the journey of life.
We Learn To Be Aware of Others
In a fast-paced world it is easy to ignore other people. We put our heads down and go about our business often pretending that no one else exists but us. More and more, environments are being created where people are isolated both in their work and their hobbies. Being in a close environment on a road trip requires you to be aware of others. It is not only you on the trip. There are limits to the space you can take and the things you can do. There is some acknowledgement that what we do affects other people in the car. Even the slightest change in attitude can affect every single person in the car.
Simple awareness of others in this world and the acknowledgment of the limits that it can and should place on us is a great resource in growing relationships. Everything we do can not only be about us and how it affects us. We must be aware of others and the effect that we are having on them. When we are simply aware that there are other people on this journey of life with us, it will change how we act and how we respond.
We Learn To Accommodate Others
“I need to pee”. This is typically said multiple times on a road trip but is usually said by different people at different times. Rarely can people get on the same pee schedule. So what has to be done is either some people have to suffer, change or we have to accommodate them. Usually accomodation is what happens. We do our best to make things as pleasant and as easy going as possible. Sometimes these accommodations are frustrating or inconvenient, but we understand that it is not just about our needs, but making sure others have their needs met as well. Accommodation is one of the greatest cures for selfishness.
What an incredibly important quality for us to learn in an ever-increasing environment of selfishness and self-centeredness. When we learn to accommodate others instead of forcing them into our schedule, our thoughts and our views, it can be life-giving to relationships. Practicing the simple tool of accommodation will make our life journey so much more pleasant and enjoyable and will improve other’s journey as well.
We Learn About Others
Close quarters on a road trip forces you to learn about others. Sometimes it is because you want to learn while other times it is because you are forced to learn. We learn everything from their habits to what they ate for lunch. Conversations, or lack of, reveal personalities and pain, problems and victories. Silence can be a strain so we ask questions and develop dialogue which only reveals more things. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised while other times we walk away disappointed. Either way we are armed with information that can help us in the relationship.
One of the greatest problem solvers in the world is to learn about others; not making assumptions or going on someone else’s opinion. When we begin to learn about others we realize we usually have much more in common than we have different. It is easy to judge people by what we see in the media or hear from others, but when we really get to know people, our perspective changes. Learning about others on your journey grows relationships and helps you understand people better.
We Learn From Others
One of the most interesting things on a road trip is to learn from other people. You may learn how to do something or how not to do something, but you can learn. You may learn something simple or something that could be life-changing. In those close environments, sometimes the greatest things we learn are just from observation. I have learned many relationship lessons while traveling with other people. Things that I could immediately apply for good.
We don’t know it all. Most of us want to think we do, but we don’t. We can and should be learning from other people. There are so many people around you who know things that would benefit you if you would just take the time to inquire or simply observe. The most surprising thing is that most people are more than willing to share what they know in hopes that it will benefit you. Don’t use people but put to use what they know. Your journey should be a life-long trip of continuous learning.
Road trips are great. It is a great way to build and grow relationships. Take one with your family or close friends. Take one with someone you don’t know really well. It will be a learning process that will continue to offer benefits long after you park the car. Don’t forget that life is one big road trip and realizing we are not taking it alone will improve the journey immensely.
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