Every morning when we drive to work, we pass through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. Emblazoned on signs overhead are the words “Stay in Your Lane!” They don’t want you changing lanes through the tunnel for safety reasons.
It is an interesting message for our lives as well. Stay in your lane. There are times when it might be good advice and times when it might be bad. Good advice when we need to mind our own business. Or good advice when we need to buckle down and attend to our own tasks. Sometimes we need to forge ahead and keep our eyes on the prize. Our nose to the grindstone. Stay in our lane.
But there are certainly times when it can be bad advice as well. I have been reading a book called “The Scotch-Irish: A Social History” by James Leyburn. It is about all the people from Scotland who immigrated first to Ireland and then to America. Leyburn makes the point that you don’t immigrate if everything is going well for you where you are. Immigrating to the frontier of a new country is not staying in your lane. It is changing lanes, hoping that the new lane will help you pass where you would have been in the old. In many ways, the story of the United States is about people who did not stay in their lanes.
When do we need to change lanes? We need to change lanes when we are in abusive situations. When we are stuck in dead-end jobs that don’t bring us any joy. When we are stuck in our routines and need to shake things up in order to grow.
Sometimes we need to change lanes in order to change policies. Like immigrants, we don’t usually work to change something until we are harmed by it. We stay in our lanes as long as we are comfortable. When we are hurting we will move out of our lanes. But Jesus Christ constantly calls us to move out of our lane in order to love others and serve him.
Seeing this sign every morning has caused me to think about the ways that I stay in my lane and the ways I move out of my lane. Where am I too satisfied and stuck in my comfort zone? Where do I need to pay more attention to the road straight in front of me? Is God calling me to change lanes in order to serve him better?
Stay in your lane is good advice when you are driving through a tunnel. In the rest of our lives – maybe we need to think about it a little. Where are you staying in your lane? And how are you moving out of your lane and toward a better life?