Tracy Winkler

Tracy Winkler

Back in the day, when our kids were still….well….kids, we used to go on family vacations. Our favorite place to go was the beach. Since we have NO white sandy beaches in Cincinnati, we would pile our daughters into the car and head south-ish. Because we didn’t want to hear the girls asking, “Are we almost there?” fifty million times, we would travel at night with our young ones drifting to sleep in the back seat.

One trip I remember very clearly. We were headed to South Carolina and decided to take a smaller highway, this was way before WAZE or any GPS. We were about 2 hours into our trip when we hit the end of the road….literally. The highway had not been completed and there was a barricade and we were forced off of the interstate onto some country roads.

My husband and I laughed at the time at our great planning. With a little preparation and planning, we would have been aware of the roadblock BUT instead we were involuntarily redirected to navigate these dark and unfamiliar byways by making mostly uneducated choices.

And so we went. “Just head southwest,” we thought. And so, we did. South on this street. West on that one. And with each turn the roads became more and more narrow. And with each turn the roads became more and more secluded. And we laughed…..until…..

The roads became so desolate that we approached a section of pavement where a stray dog was sleeping in the middle of the road!! We laughed. In fact, I laughed so hard that I started to cry...really cry, an “I think we are gonna’ die” kind of a cry. We were lost! Would we ever find our way out of this mess? Were we doomed to die in this dark and unfamiliar territory? At least we had each other!

How often have you found yourself in this same place? You weren’t prepared. You went out with friends for dinner and now it is 2am and you are sitting in a bar talking to the cute girl or guy next to you. You went to lunch with your coworkers and now you are in the middle of a gossip fest. You were sitting down to watch a nice movie on Netflix and hours later find yourself watching a show with explicit scenes, full of nudity and nasty talk.

The truth is we can be prepared!  Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 -17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Often, we find ourselves the day after saying, “I should have known better!” How can you know better? Research. Make a plan. If my husband and I had just done a little research, we would have known which roads to take. We would have known that the highway had not yet been completed. If you do research, aka Study God’s Word, you will know how to avoid trouble areas in your life!

If we had made a plan, mapped out our route to our destination prior to getting into the car, we would never have the scary moments. We would never have put our family in what felt like danger on that dark and scary road. You can and should make a plan before you step out into the world. Before you go out with friends, before you head to lunch with coworkers, before turning on your TV, make a plan to do the right and healthy thing, say the right and healthy words and consume the right and healthy content. YOU CAN DO IT!

I just want to say if you are struggling to find guidance in the scripture, go to 2 Timothy! It is chock full of good practical life instructions. Like this beauty….

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

By the way, we survived our crazy road trip and we arrived in South Carolina in one piece but we learned our lesson! We never left home again without being prepared and making a plan. You should do the same!