Situational Awareness: A Life Principle

Situational awareness is a term familiar to pilots. Flight instructors teach their students that it is imperative to hone their observation skills: to be aware of everything around them at any given moment and in every circumstance. They must be prepared to react to anything unexpected in the flight path.

The same is true for operating any moving vehicle. When the operator loses focus or is distracted, he is no longer situationally aware and can put himself and others in danger. That is the reason cell phone usage while driving has been outlawed in many places.

Whenever possible, my husband and I try to start our day with a walk. He is the leader. I follow. I need to observe his every move. If he turns left, I need to turn left. If he crosses the street, I need to go with him. It is not as easy as it sounds because I have a tendency to lag behind. I have on occasion lost sight of him and for a brief moment, have a sense of panic.

I need to keep my eyes on him not only because I want to walk with him, but also because I often don’t know where I am. God neglected to put a compass in my brain. Since I am also inclined to fall, I have to watch the ground and him at the same time. One morning, God provided a big stick for me to use as a walking stick and that did help a great deal. I was able to keep my balance and enjoy the surroundings a bit more since I didn’t have to keep my eyes on the path every second. I enjoy the walks, but I do have to be situationally aware of my husband’s leadership and my surroundings.

A believer also needs to be situationally aware. There are lots of obstacles on the path of life. In order not to be tripped up requires a constant focus on Jesus. As the living Word, He is our guide. It is up to us to finely develop observation skills so that we recognize when we have deviated from the path He has chosen for us. It is possible to ask for help and get back on the right path again, but when we realize we have lost sight of Jesus, there can be a moment of panic. His written word can serve as a rod to guide us. As we hold it dearly in our minds and our hearts, it is easier to keep our eyes on Him.

The Lord is my shepherd. . . He leads me beside the still waters. . . He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names’s sake. . .I will fear no evil; for You are with me: Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:1,2,3,4).

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