Headwinds and Tailwinds
There's an interesting phenomenon that occurs at times during my wife's frequent flights between Austin and Orlando.
Sometimes she arrives ten to fifteen minutes early on the Orlando to Austin leg, which has caught me off guard on a few occasions and caused me to have to break a few speed limits on my way to the airport to pick her up.
Even though the distance never changes, the flight times fluctuate depending on the direction of headwinds and tailwinds. If the airplane is flying against a headwind, the journey might take longer than it would if it is flying with a tailwind, pushing it along.
I was reading about the concept of headwinds and tailwinds as they relate to psychology and human development (as you do), and (since today is my 50th birthday) I got to thinking about my own life, and experiences.
In the study I was reading, researchers Shai Davidai and Thomas Gilovich did some in-depth work on how the stories people tell about their hardships and challenges can often define the course of their life. They related challenges and obstacles to headwinds, and advantages, successes, and blessings to tailwinds.
Their research revealed that people tend to pay more attention to the headwinds because they are harder to overcome. Essentially, we internalize and hold on to the feelings we feel when we are facing headwinds, but we merely adjust to the advantages of the tailwinds and take them for granted.
Maybe you've met someone who defines themselves through their headwinds. They live their life as though it has been filled with barriers and challenges, and they resent everyone they perceive has had it easy.
For far too many of us it is much more satisfying to declare "I EARNED this!" Than it is to say "I RECEIVED this!" We come to believe that the first smacks of pride and accomplishment, and the second feels meek and all-too mild.
But Scripture gives us a different view. Proverbs 11:2 reads like this: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
As I reflect on the past half-century of my life, I can definitely see how easy it would be for me to dwell on the headwinds. I've faced a few in my day, and I find myself facing some even now. But there are tailwinds aplenty. There are so many advantages and blessings that have lifted me, carried me and moved me forward on my journey.
May you reflect on your tailwinds today and rejoice. May you define your life by the great gifts you have received, not the least of which is the great gift of love and redemption from God through Jesus Christ.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.