“I can’t see the trees and branches!”
My four-year-old son exclaimed on our way to drop him off at school, convinced that there was something wrong with his eyes as he attempted to see through the nebulous fog surrounding the car. He became increasingly concerned when he realized that he couldn’t even see the high school we usually pass on our way. He began to worry that it had disappeared altogether, and that we would not be able to navigate the path to his school.
Fog can do that to our perception sometimes.
Much like that literal fog, mental fog has a way of convincing us that the structures, the landmarks, the milestones in our lives we considered to be permanent fixtures, have somehow disappeared, and leaves us feeling that we have utterly lost our way. We become convinced that it is an issue with our vision rather than an obstacle on our pathway to be overcome. Sometimes we even decide that it is a sign that we should turn back, return to what we consider to be safe, making permanent judgment calls in a temporary situation or circumstance.
However, just as we know that the presence of fog does not mean that the buildings, trees, and other familiar sights have disappeared, the same is true about mental fog. In spite of the momentary confusion and obstruction, our purpose and path in life remains intact. But we must have a plan and method for navigating our life’s journey in those moments when we cannot trust what our eyes see before us, like turning on the fog lights on our vehicle.
I recently experienced a dense, heavy, wearying and discouraging mental fog, keeping me from being able to properly see my way. I began to doubt my gifts, my call, my ability to write, lead and teach, my direction in life and my vision for my family and future. I began to feel as if there was something wrong with me, telling myself that maybe I took on more than I was actually capable of accomplishing, bit off more than I could chew.
Maybe my goals were too lofty, maybe my ambition outpaced my abilities, maybe I just misinterpreted this entire season of my life, and what I really need to do is go back to “playing it safe”. Who was I to think that I could walk an uncharted path or take the road less traveled???
Yet in the midst of nearly giving in to the temptation to wallow in fear and doubt, nearly succumbing to the urge to turn back and run to safety, I realized that to abandon my course would be the same as saying that I don’t trust the One who has called me to bring me through this trial. And in my running to what I perceived to be safe and comfortable, I would actually be putting myself in harm’s way, because the safest place to be is in the will of God!
So I finally decided to use my fog lights – I turned to the Word of God.
2nd Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight”.
I recognized that as soon as I lost focus of the One who set me on this trajectory, I became easily discouraged by the landscape around me, and made myself an easy target for the enemy. It was by faith that I arrived at this point, yet in the moment I failed to meditate on God’s Word and promises to me, I began to feel as if that same faith was not enough to carry me through this more challenging leg of my journey.
Psalms 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
It is God’s Word that shines in our dark and foggy places, enabling us to see our way forward when all else, when life itself, seems to scream at us that we are utterly lost.
So here I am, getting back on course, renewing my commitment to the call on my life, and reaffirming my dedication to my assignment in this season. I am once again embracing the challenge to pour out my heart as I write, sharing what God has put into it to help encourage, and hopefully inspire others.
And I am so glad that I didn’t turn back, because the fog has finally lifted, as it usually does, and I can once again see the Son!