By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
I drive a car that has a manual transmission – six gears. I love, love it! There is just something about shifting gears that feels like I’m roping the wind.
The really great thing about it, too, is that when I am approaching a hill, or an obstacle, or if I need to slow down and proceed with caution, I downshift … and my car responds!
On the other hand, when I want to air it out, or find another burst of power, I shift into sixth gear, and it feels turbo-charged! What fun! Wouldn’t it be great, in real life, to have marked “gears” that we shift into according to the matter before us?
- First gear … gently proceed forward with a measured pace. Life needs a start, and shifting into first gear allows us to gain movement toward the goals ahead.
- Second gear … gently gain momentum with a little more power. Sometimes, the goal ahead requires us to move it up a notch in effort and pace.
- Third gear … starting to accelerate more. We are on our way to the goal, and we must press ahead with intention and determination.
- Fourth gear … cruising at a consistent pace now. We have gained confidence as we approach the accomplishments of our goals, yet must be aware of complacency, the bandit of accomplishment.
- Fifth gear … notching up the speed, often pacing with those around us on the road. We have realized that speed is now necessary to move on, to not only keep pace with fellow roadsters, but to be ready to pass and accelerate if necessary.
- Sixth gear … ahhh … life is good, and confidence and composure are on the road with you. Watch out for obstacles, but keep steady with your speed toward the goal – it’s closer than you think!
Sounds simple enough, right? But what about unexpected twists and turns? What about the ditch on the side of the road that beckons you? What about a not-so-smooth ride, when you are grinding gears and stripping your car of power? What about unpredictable roadside ruts?
The car is simply the means of getting you to your destination. There are certainly other considerations for traveling the roads of life!
- Clean windshields: We need to be able to see where we’re headed. Have a clear vision for where you’re headed in life so that you can keep your eyes on the prize!
- Rear-view and side mirrors: Glance in them to navigate ahead, but don’t dwell. The events of the past allow us to make better decisions as we move forward in life. But … spending too much time in the past stunts growth and may cause a crash!
- Tap the brakes: Occasionally we must slow down, stop or back up. Unforeseen circumstances in life sometimes cause us to tap the brakes and re-evaluate. Then, however, it’s time to bounce back and once again accelerate and move on.
- Clean engine: It requires consistent maintenance so that the ride is smooth. Regularly, it is important to look in the mirror and maintain the person you see there. The ride of life will be smoother when you have placed confidence and belief in the face you see in the mirror.
- Refer often to the GPS: For clear direction, for rerouted instructions when we make wrong turns, always, always rely on the GPS (the God of the Universe)!
So whether you drive a jalopy or a sports car, whether it has manual or automatic transmission, be aware of the road you are traveling and pay close attention to the condition of your condition! Happy trails!