Encountering roadblocks can have value.

A roadblock is an event or object that makes us stop moving. A tree that has fallen across the road can be a literal roadblock.  So can the sarcastic comment that interrupts our train of thought, the clogged drain in the tub, and the paperwork that we didn’t expect which has to be completed by tomorrow morning.

I want to think about the value of roadblocks, but I encourage you to not read this if you are currently stopped by a roadblock. (You’ll get frustrated).

Roadblocks let us test our reactions and responses.When I get frustrated that everything is spilling some mornings, I eventually have to step back and say, “why is this bothering me so much?” It’s one reason James tells us to value the trials we face because they can, when reflected on, help us discern what is going on in our hearts.

Roadblocks allow us to be creative. Some obstacles invite us to find different solutions. Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus. There were crowds. There was a tree. He climbed the tree.

Roadblocks remind us to rest. I suppose this is related to the idea of reflection, but if we find ourselves frustrated or angry or overwhelmed, we may need a nap, a snack, a walk. It may not be our roadblack to remove. Or it may, but not now. Or it may, but tomorrow, when we’re rested.

Roadblocks invite us to focus  Some obstacles remind us that what we are doing is valuable. We are invited to devote more focus to the task at hand and ignore the distractions. As Nehemiah said, “I am doing a great work. I cannot come down.”

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P.S. A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to write on our hospital blog for Pastoral Care Week: The sacred work of a hospital chaplain

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