n1. the act of drawing or pulling, esp by motive power2. the state of being drawn or pulled3. (Medicine) Med the application of a steady pull on a part during healing of a fractured or dislocated bone, using a system of weights and pulleys or splints4. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) the adhesive friction between a wheel and a surface, as between a driving wheel of a motor vehicle and the road[from Medieval Latin tractiō, from Latin tractus dragged; see tractile]tractional adjtractive [ˈtræktɪv] adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
I fell over the other day. Our driveway is painted and when it rains the surface becomes quite slippery – to the point that car tyres squeak. As I walked down in my favourite red shoes I slipped. In the end there was nothing bruised or broken except my pride. Fortunately no one witnessed the little moment of awkwardness (except for our odd neighbour who seems to watch and listen for everything!). What I find interesting about this slip up is the effect that it continues to have on me. Each time it rains and I walk down the driveway I walk so very carefully and fearfully. Some of this is common sense – it’s wet and slippery so I have to be careful. Some of it is irrational, I was wearing my favourite red shoes which have rubber soles that have minimal grip. Other shoes are fine – I’ve tested it out! I don’t need to be scared about walking down the driveway in the rain, just careful.
It’s interesting that a fall has created a fear of another fall. My body remembers the fall when I am put into the same/similar environment. I am sure there is a psychological term for it but I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist so I won’t go there. I have found myself thinking to myself about traction whenever I walk down the driveway. As the definition says above, it is the grip between a wheel and the road. The grip between my shoes and the surface I was walking on failed and down I went. (It’s perfectly ok to laugh at my expense by the way. I am a bit uncoordinated so this is not entirely unusual!)
Whilst pondering all this traction stuff one day as I walked down the driveway I realised I had lost traction within many areas of my life. 2011 was a challenging year for me and the beginning of 2012 has seen me floundering, trying to “get a grip” on many things. There have been a few times where life has knocked me over and I have picked myself up again and kept going. It’s easy to get back up again, it’s the moving forward that can be difficult. It’s difficult to find traction, to trust in traction when it has failed you before. Life brings seasons where everything and everyone that you know and trust is suddenly gone. Questions, doubts, fears, wounds threaten to drown you. Or keep you still.
How do you start moving? One step at a time. In the midst of confusion it can be difficult to know what that one step at a time is. Being a perfectionist people pleaser I get frozen. If I do one thing, someone won’t agree or will get hurt. What if I fall again?
What if it isn’t so complicated? We get so wrapped up in the what ifs, the fears and the people around us. God directs our steps even when we do make mistakes. The step doesn’t really matter. We just need to keep moving. We just need to keep our eyes and hearts on Him.
“The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
All that I have to do is step. One at a time.