Have you ever spent so much time and energy focusing on a problem that you overlook the obvious solution?
Many years ago, I bought my first car with keyless entry. Back then, the fob was separate from the key. With the touch of a button, doors unlocked or the trunk released. I considered it a luxury and quickly became accustomed to its convenience.
But one day, after running errands, I returned to my car only to find the buttons no longer worked. The battery in the fob had apparently died.
Luckily I live in a town that still has an old-fashioned hardware store that was only blocks away. So with packages in hand, I walked there to see if the battery could be replaced.
While expressing gratitude for saving my husband a trip to come and get me, the man looked at me and said, “Wait. The key doesn’t work either?”
My red face and hesitancy to respond gave me away.
I thought I was locked out of the car because the fob stopped working, when all along I held the actual key in my hand!
The only authentic response under these circumstances is to admit your embarrassment and then laugh at yourself but I can’t promise I did either.
I’ve been thinking about that key fob a lot lately.
We make this mistake more often than we realize. We are often convinced we’re locked out when we hold the key in our hands.
Locked out of the future we envisioned because of another’s behavior or rejection.
Locked out of being successful because of a few stumbling blocks in our path.
Locked out of feeling whole and accepted because of our own shame and feelings of unworthiness.
Locked out of inhabiting a place of peace because of our own fears and anxieties.
Locked out of whatever dream we held dear because life events did not unfold as we imagined they would.
But all the while we hold the key.
The key is our trust in God. Trust that He is with us. Trust that He loves us. Trust that He will direct our paths and see us through. Trust that, in the end, it’s our life with Him that matters most.
This key fits perfectly in the lock that releases our heart from suffering in all its forms.
And once our heart is unlocked, out spills hope. Out pours gratitude. Out flows peace and serenity.
Trusting God releases our grip on the need to control because it soothes the anxious spirit that is fixated on desired outcomes.
The key is powerful and underutilized. It is always available to us. But instead, we often focus on the problem.
As an over-thinker, I analyze problems every way to Sunday. I often feel the need to understand all sides, every possibility, and each nuance.
And then comes the complicated fix that involves a strategy to deal with the problem and plans to execute. It’s the mental equivalent of lugging packages to a hardware store blocks away when I could have driven there.
In other words, I focus on the problem by taking my eyes off the solution.
It takes effort, but for those of us who ruminate, we must stop the never-ending wheels that turn in our heads. Put an end to the calculations and response plans for every contingency. Put a harness on the fears that escalate quickly.
And just “be still”. (Psalm 46:10)
It is hard to trust God and feel His peace if we allow our heads to be filled with noise.
It takes time to sit and be with God. But it’s worth every second.
Trust Him. He IS the key. Let Him unlock the solution. He will provide the answer in His time. We need only be still.
Scripture for Reflection:
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Do you feel stuck, thwarted or frustrated in some area of your life? And are you spending a lot of time thinking about how to fix this problem? Instead, spend a few moments with God, releasing this issue to Him and see what happens.