Filipinos have sooo many adjectives today for the traffic that millions are experiencing in Manila: epic, legendary, monstrous, horrendous, trafficmagedon, carmageddon, the biggest crawling parking lot, and the best, traffic is F-O-R-E-V-E-R.
But with the right perspective, a Christian can have something to benefit from this traffic. There’s a caveat: I’m writing this in the point of view of a commuter.
Here’s to name a few:
- PRAY. This is one of the best times to pray. You have literally nowhere to go. You are there sitting and warming your butts off and nothing to do. You can pray for our country which needs it sorely. Pray especially for our president, I cannot emphasize enough how he needs it. Keep it to those two concerns (or you may want to include a supernatural solution to our traffic situation) and you’ll have much to lift up to God.
- READ YOUR BIBLE. Traffic will be so slow that you won’t get motion sickness while reading your Bible. Trust me, I do it every day. There’s going to be a few bumps along the way but you will definitely manage. I read from my tablet almost always and use an app from Olive Tree Software which provides a great selection of Bible reading guides. I haven’t had a headache or felt nauseous along the way. **FAIR WARNING: This is me. You may not be a seasoned commuter and reader at the same time to soooo…proceed with care. Bring a hard candy or Bonamine or White Flower oil to ease the transition…just in case.
- READ A BOOK. Aside from my Bible, I have another book stashed in my bag. It’s pretty thick. You need to have some variety in what you read. Some would say that the Bible is all you need, and I couldn’t agree with them more. But I like variety. I want to be able to relate to people I meet especially if they are also book lovers like me.
- READ A MAGAZINE. Isn’t it obvious that I like reading? I’m subscribed to quite a few magazines via the Zinio app, a digital magazine stand on my tablet. I have magazines on photography, design, technology, and business which all help me be in touch with the stuff that’s important not only to my personal life but my career as well.
- WRITE. So if I’m not reading, I’m writing. I’ve written quite a few blog posts on this website while on my way to the office. It just takes some getting used to and the tablet (or the smartphone) has made it a lot easier to achieve decent writing. I have stopped writing on notebooks (those things made of paper) while commuting because my handwriting becomes illegible.
- DOODLE. Ok, there are two things here. Because I have a tablet, I decided that I need a decent writing tool for it. I read a lot of reviews and settled on Pencil by Fifty Three (www.fiftythree.com) which is not available in the Philippines. I had my sister buy it for me in the US. I love the design and portability and has been with me for less than two years. I use it more for writing using its companion app, Paper. But its also great for drawing or doodling. A lot of great things have come out of doodles from a great many people and definitely, this is one thing traffic can work for you.
- THINK. Nothing will allow you time to think than traffic. So if you are not into reading or writing, you can think. But then, you need to filter out what you think about. All your thoughts during this time should be something that will have a good result. It’s all so easy for negative things to enter your mind. So whenever you are in traffic and start to think, make your thoughts creative, strategic, positive, God-glorifying thoughts. I have often said to friends that a lot of my best ideas came from thinking during traffic. Because you are expecting traffic, you can predispose your brain to start gearing up for creative ideas when you start thinking.
- LIST YOUR TO-DOs. Get your smartphone to do something smart and start your to-do list with to-do apps that are available a dime a dozen (actually, many are free) nowadays. There are apps like Wunderlist, Asana, Remember the Milk, Todoist, Trello, and so many more that you can choose from that fits your lifestyle. I currently use the Asana app that is available on almost all mobile platforms because I can assign tasks not just for myself but for other people too!
- DESIGN. I believe that everyone is a designer. Everyone is born creative. You can make your traffic time purposeful if you can train yourself that you ARE a designer because we were “designed” in the image of THE Designer—God. As cliche as it may sound, but today, there is an app for that too! The graphics and imaging giant, Adobe, have mobile apps that let you design almost everything, brochures, posters, mobile apps, websites, etc. Did I tell you that Adobe made this software for free? CLICK this LINK to go there and download. Yep! I use it every day while in traffic. Don’t believe the lie that only “graphic designers” can design. You can too!
- SHARE THE GOSPEL. I want to be honest and say that I am challenging myself to be able to do this. I have colleagues who have told stories of how they have shared the Word of God while traveling and how much good it felt for them. I envy these people. In this traffic, which will not end soon, starting a conversation with your fellow traffic endurers (yes, I made that up) maybe one of the best things that we, as Christians, can do. With our culture, we don’t really do that. That is why it’s a challenge that we need to consider. This is one of the best times to share.
So the next time you’re in traffic, that’s tomorrow, by the way, don’t just go Facebooking, Youtubing or surprise, surprise, sleeping. Remember the 10 tips I share here. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor.
Featured photo by Edgar Esmeria
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