Statistically most derailments are freight trains, not passenger trains. Weather is often the factor – extremes of cold or heat, which of course there is no controlling. Two factors that can be controlled are operator fatigue and rail maintenance. But regardless of the reasons for it, the following is true: derailments happen, damage is done, repairs can be made and the trains can run again.
In what areas of our lives do we get ‘derailed’? Perhaps the best answer to that is… Every area! Physically – good habits get neglected, bad habits begin. Mentally – we let our minds go to mush by spending too much time on Facebook J, rather than reading a good book. Socially – we allow an offence to keep us from trying to repair a relationship. Spiritually – after we return from vacation we noticed that missing church didn’t end in a lightning bolt from heaven, so we sleep in a couple more Sundays and…nothing. Hmm?
Let me consider with you a spiritual discipline for a concrete example: Sometimes our Bible reading gets derailed. We were making good time, ‘right on track’ and then… Circumstances totally out of our control… we’re wore out after a day’s or week’s work, we inadvertently missed a day or two or more. By the way, the very definition of derailment includes the word ‘accident’. We didn’t plan on it, it wasn’t premeditated, it just happened!
So, what to do? First, acknowledge the fact that the train got derailed. Yep, we have a train wreck. Two, determine to get back on track! Three, discover what factors caused it. If it was totally out of your control, decide if anything can be done to mitigate the uncontrollable. Four, if it is something you can control, change it with God’s help! Possible changes: change your goal, e.g. read through the NT rather than the OT this year; change your time of reading, e.g. just before bedtime or during lunch hour, rather than early morning; reduce your commitment to ‘lesser things’, e.g. turn off the bad news and open up the Good News; adjust the time you spend doing ‘good things’, e.g. Bible memory work, reading commentaries, etc. Five, determine to get the train rolling again… today!
What I really encourage you NOT to do is to waste time beating yourself up and concluding ‘What’s the use? I’ll just get derailed again!’ We all get derailed from time to time. Seek God’s forgiveness and others as necessary. Ask Him for the strength and wisdom needed. Crawl back into the locomotive, start the engine and push the throttle forward. The trip will be worth it, even if you get there a little later than your original goal.
Think about it!