The Three Lanes of Life

Every day we decide which lane we are going to traverse on the highway of our lives. Get by, get ahead, or get eternal? I'll be the first to admit that I have spent time in each lane. As I have matured in resources and knowledge, I have spent less and less time getting by and more time getting ahead. It was only in the past few years that I understood the highest form of existing is to ‘get eternal’. The events of the past few weeks have brought that timeless truth back to the forefront in a spectacular fashion.

The first lane, ‘get by,’ is the lowest form of living. ‘Getting by’ entails a survival mentality where we are living paycheck to paycheck; moment by moment, unable or unwilling to get beyond the present circumstances. It is rooted in a scarcity mentality and leaves the individual in a state of perpetual poverty. A current example of this is the $1200 stimulus checks. While I applaud the government's attempts to monitor the economic distress of its citizens, this is meant to stop the bleeding, not serve as a cure. The check will help the individual get by for just a little longer but will not serve as a robust enough solution to move them into the next lane.

Next, we have the ‘get ahead’ lane which is a higher form of living whereby the individual seeks to master their domain, crafting chaos into opportunity so one can move into a state of prosperity. While forecasters predict 20% of small businesses will fold as a result of the pandemic, there will be those who emerge stronger and greater than when they entered the crisis. They will use this event to recreate their desired future and forge ahead. While ‘getting ahead’ does have a longer perspective than getting by, the problem is that plans can fall apart at a moment's notice. A crisis, by definition, is sudden and unforeseen so even the best-laid plans and stock portfolios may not be enough.

The third and dare I say best lane of existence, 'get eternal,’ means that you are working to do the greatest good and create a legacy that far outlasts your time on earth. While ‘getting by’ looks at the day and ‘getting ahead’ looks at the year; ‘getting eternal’ shifts your focus out of the realm of time. I once heard an acronym for being ALIVE that stuck with me; Always Live In View of the Eternal. When you live at this level; then, and only then, can you distance yourself from the externals and truly live at peace.

Amid the current global crisis, we know this too shall pass. We also know that new challenges and crises never stop and to stay on track in life and not figuratively— or literally— lose it you must commit to the proper lane. I can spot who has a ‘get eternal’ mindset instantly. They shine like a beacon in the darkness; they offer stability like an anchor in the storm. They are still smiling and being cordial in the supermarket while others put their heads down in avoidance as if making eye contact might be harmful. They are seeking ways to come together and bless others while we deal with the separation of quarantine.  They are calm and resilient and offer up a voice of encouragement no matter how dire today's news.

Peace is a gift. Have you accepted it? If you are living to get by or get ahead you will never be at peace. So, extend your perspective beyond the here and now. Abiding peace is the end goal for life and that springs from a perspective that reaches eternity. In the midst of this madness, you just might need to ask yourself, am I more upset about the Corona Virus or about the reminder that our time on earth is limited and uncertain? Can you face the trials of today and the tribulations of tomorrow with the firm assurance that to die is gain? If so, my friend, you are on the road to victory. And if not, rejoice, because you have been given the gift of time and you can still switch lanes.

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1 comment

jeremy mutzabaugh

jeremy mutzabaugh

I’ve come to know that NOTHING will surprise me. This COVID-19 issue is going to end at some point. Remember K12, when all vehicles were supposed to stop running, lights were supposed to stop shining..this did not happen. Life is full of things that “may or may not happen.” This does not stop me from loving the life I have and enjoying everyday. When the right person is at the center of you being, NOTHING WILL STOP YOU. I am still trying to figure out how in college, I shared a 2 story apartment with seven other boys. Three came home from a party, drunk. One fired a shotgun inside the apartment when everyone else was trying to sleep. No, nothing surprises me today.

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