A couple of Sundays ago, one of the pastors at my church preached on worry and anxiety. This topic is a particularly tender one for me, as I deal with an extremely anxious heart and a brain that’s constantly focused on the “what ifs” of life. The scripture for the sermon was Matthew 6: 25-34, in which verse 34 reads, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I’ve known this verse by heart since I was a kid, but its potency is just as strong and compelling for me now, hearing it as a young adult.
At one point in his sermon, my pastor explained the concept that ended up inspiring this entire post. He talked about how, when race car drivers are learning to drive, they are told to keep their eyes on the wide open space of road in front of them, in order to avoid hitting the walls surrounding the track. What a thought – to avoid crashing, instead of focusing so intently on the thing they are trying to avoid, they are taught to not even look at it.
Does that speak to y’all the way it speaks to me?
As soon as he used the phrase “wide open spaces”, I immediately thought of one of my favorite Dixie Chicks, coincidentally titled “Wide Open Spaces” – y’all should go listen to it, it’s a jam.
Anyway, I then started to think about the story that the song tells – it’s about a girl, following her dreams, leaving her home and her inhibitions behind her, and venturing out into the wide open spaces that stretch before her. My favorite line says this,
“many precede and many will follow,
a young girl’s dreams no longer hollow”
A young girl’s dreams no longer hollow.
All of these thoughts and connections kind of rushed together in my brain at once. I sat there in church, so awestruck by a perspective that I’d never even thought about before, a perspective that applies so precisely to this season of life that I’m in and the goals that I’m working towards.
In order to succeed, to overcome anxiousness, doubt, and failure, you have to keep your eyes on the wide open spaces.
You go where you eyes go. If you look at the wall, you will drive straight into the wall. So, if you hone in so fixedly on everything that could possibly go wrong, doesn’t it make sense that your immense concentration on the very thing you’re trying to avoid could actually cause you to crash right into it?
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you shouldn’t be aware of the wall. You should know where it is, and you should know what damage it’s capable of, but you should not allow yourself to get so fixated on avoiding it that you consequently don’t take advantage of the wide open spaces of freedom, opportunity, creativity, and potential laid out in front of you.
As I pieced all of this information together, I realized very quickly that I am often guilty of looking at the wall. Like I said, I am a “what if” thinker, and it’s very difficult for me to focus on positive over the negative. I have days where it’s very hard to imagine everything that could go right, over everything that could go wrong, and I recognize that those are the moments in which I need to refocus. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow, about every detail of my future, about whether or not I will succeed, because what good does that do in the end? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
So friends, here is my challenge for y’all, and myself, today: keep your eyes on the wide open spaces. Envision what success looks like, and throw yourself whole-heartedly into pursuing that success. Don’t even give the walls rising upon around you a second glance. Instead, shift your gaze onto the open road that lies ahead, and just keep on driving. You never know how far you’ll go.
I hope y’all found these words encouraging! Good luck, and as always, much love.
cover photo credit here