Keep Moving Forward

keep moving forward word abstract typography

This past Saturday, I decided to check out a thrift store on the northwest side of town. During the previous week, I had tried to find an interesting event for the weekend, but in Chicago, a lot of their downtown events don’t start until June and July (Summerdance, Taste of Chicago, etc.). I couldn’t find anything interesting to do in my area so I decided to check out thrift stores in Chicago instead of always going to the ones in the south suburbs or in Indiana. I just wanted to get out of my small city, LOL!

I prayed and asked God which store I should go to and “Kedzie” came to me. I decided to check out Village Discount Outlet on 4027 N. Kedzie. I put the address in Google maps, invited my mom to come with me, and we were on our way. I took I-90 and got off at Belmont Avenue/ Kedzie, per the GPS.

Everything was cool until I missed my left turn for a side street (turns out I was actually on Belmont and not Kedzie; I hate when there’s 2 or 3 intersecting streets—or whatever they’re called—because I can’t tell which street is which). The voice navigation told me to turn right at Kimball, turn right at Addison, and then turn left at Kedzie. I approached a red light, and got into the left turn lane, only to discover that it was Elston and the next light was Kedzie. Arrrgghh! Okay, no big deal, I thought. I’ll just turn left at Elston and come back over to Kedzie. Piece of cake.

How ‘bout a piece of a heart attack?

The light turned green and I moved forward. There was no green arrow for me to turn first, so I just had to wait until it was clear, right? Nope. The light turned yellow. Oncoming traffic was still coming. The light turned red. They’re STILL coming. Then I’m STILL in the middle of the street, petrified and confused. What am I supposed to do now? How do I turn left at this weird light? Then the traffic on Elston was ready to turn left. Arrrggghh! I had to reverse back into my turn lane in order to get out the way. This happened 2 more times before I finally gave up, put my right signal on, and prayed that someone would let me get over to avoid this mayhem. And someone did, thank God!

When we were near to the store, I saw it was by Irving Park Road. Arrggghhh! Why didn’t the stupid GPS tell me to just take Irving Park Road?? I could’ve avoided that death trap of an intersection. The crazy, confusing streets and the traffic is the main reason why I avoid the north side like the plague.

On the way home, I went east and took Lake Shore Drive, which I’m more familiar with.

I didn’t find too much at the store—just a silly book about being creative with office supplies at work and a blank notebook. My mom found a few things that she liked.

Now on the way to the thrift store (on Dan Ryan I-94), I got cut off by a couple of people which scared me and angered me—why do they have to get SO CLOSE?? I don’t know if they’re going to hit me or what. I used to experience this on the Dan Ryan quite a bit when I drove to my former job on the northwest side.  It used to irk/annoy the heck outta me because I hate how careless people can be. I make driving mistakes, too, but I’m referring to people who really don’t care about hurting themselves or someone else. I have gotten really road-ragey at times because of these people (well, they’re not entirely to blame; that’s another blog post). But on Saturday, I noticed that the anger was there for a moment and it disappeared. I was focused on getting to and finding that thrift store—no matter how much traffic there was and no matter who cut me off. We made it there and back safely, thank God! We enjoyed the drive and had a great time! Overall, I’m proud of myself and am glad that I pushed myself to do something different. I would love to do more things like this!

Here’s what I want you to know:

There will be times in life when you’re trying to stay focused and different things will pop up—frustrations, annoyances, distractions—in order to ruin your focus. You have to keep your eyes on God and his promises—He gives us the victory, gives us strength, and gives us peace when we trust Him to help us overcome situations and issues that we are struggling with.

It was difficult for me to focus on God and His promises because of my fears, anxieties, and frustrations—”This wasn’t fair! This shouldn’t have happened!” or “What if I’m fearful forever? Am I changing at all?” The enemy loves to mess with our minds and have us doubting what God said. If you find yourself struggling or feeling stuck, ask God to help you overcome the issue. Ask Him for guidance about the steps you need to take. Lately, I’ve been praying for God to help me trust Him more, to not have my mind on the wrong things, and to strengthen me in areas where I fall short. If you have a setback and resort to negative thinking, feeling doubtful or fearful, don’t beat yourself up or condemn yourself; Jesus already paid for our sins so there’s no need to “punish” yourself. Just continue to pray, ask God for help, and turn away from things that no longer edify you.

Sometimes it’s difficult to focus on God and positive things, especially because of fear, anxiety, and the enemy keeps messing with your mind. If you slip up, don’t worry—God will be there to strengthen and help you. No need to beat yourself up (Romans 8:1—“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus”).

 

For those in Chicago, are you familiar with the death trap intersection of Addison and Elston? If you’re in a different state, have you experienced a strange intersection like this?

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