zoning out

My husband almost got into a car accident the other day. He mentioned that when we lived in Mexico, he was always alert, on-guard, and cautious when driving because it was more common for people to do something unexpected on the road. On the other hand, here in the States, since he (mistakenly) assumed that driving would be dull and drivers would go by the rules, he was paying less attention and was almost t-boned by someone. He is reminding himself that he needs to drive aware at all times and ready for the unexpected, no matter where he is driving.

Isn’t much of life that way? When I assume that life will be routine and “go by the rules”, I am greatly shaken by surprises that I did not see coming. When I (mistakenly) expect health to be automatic, relationships to escape conflict, or work to lack challenge, I “zone out”, reality blindsides me, and I get into “accidents”. I get frustrated by sick days, resentful of differing opinions, and irritated by obstacles that block my goals.

On the other hand, if I recognize that every day of my life is full of challenge, never ordinary, and never monotonous, then I will be on the offensive, prepared, and continually engaged with my surroundings. I will expect the un-expected and make the extra effort to ensure that each day I am physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually ready for whatever might come my way. I will not shocked by the interruptions, disputes, and barriers, but rather I will be constantly watchful and in training for any upcoming test. I will make sure I have done the preparation necessary – eaten well, rested, prayed, studied – for each day…

I don’t want to “zone out” as I go through my life. I want to be attentive, observant, considerate, and ready to act… prepared, able, and willing to respond. I’d like to avoid as many accidents as possible!

How do you stay out of the “zone”? How do you make sure you are ready for life’s challenges?