ROAD Status - The Warrior's Journey®

ROAD Status

Author: Brendon O'Dowd, USAF (Ret.)

190409-F-CX842-0016 (Flipped-Horizontally). Photo by U.S. Air Force is licensed under CC By 2.0

Retired on Active Duty. A person who shows up to work but does as little as possible because a retirement date is just a few short months away…

Watch Your Heading

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, U.K., approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U.K., to receive fuel over Scotland during exercise Joint Warrior 19-1, April 4, 2019. Joint Warrior is hosted by the U.K. biannually and aims to allow NATO forces to conduct joint operations in a complex environment, involving different military branches and units from different countries against a range of current and future threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

…It’s a person who doesn’t care anymore and develops a hardened attitude toward standards like maintaining a sharp uniform and keeping their hair in regulation. We grow frustrated with those on ROAD status because we must pick up their slack.

But what about the soon-to-be retiree? What’s going on in his or her mind? Purpose and meaning are about to be cut-off. Esprit de corps will ground to a halt. Monthly pay will be slashed in half. Fear, frustration, and anger dominate his or her thoughts.

All this may sound eerily similar to what’s happening with the stay-in-place orders of COVID-19.

That’s what hit me as I reflected on my negative attitude toward schedule changes at work, more time at home, and limitations on everything I do, from shopping to working out, to relaxing at the park. Purpose, meaning, and camaraderie have become painfully difficult through face masks, Zoom meetings, and modified work schedules.

Do you feel like you are on ROAD status like me, and there’s not much we can do about it? The Bible says otherwise.

Wise Adaptability

F-35 Lightning II demonstration team members sprint to their positions during the ground show at the Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., May 17, 2019. The team’s ground show consists of pre-flight inspections with sharp, quick-paced movements that showcase the pride and professionalism of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexander Cook)

The instruction is clear: “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

It isn’t easy to fix a poor attitude but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Paul’s guidance starts with us looking carefully at our life. What’s feeding our negative attitude? What feelings and fears are we avoiding? What is our ultimate purpose? Why does God have us at our location and what has He called us to do?

Thinking then leads to action.  He wants us to be wise, specifically in how we use our time. This is important because we live in evil times, which means we are surrounded by afflictions and hardships every day in this broken world. A call to be wise is a call to be active rather than passive (sitting like a blob in front of a screen) because passivity will only harm us and our relationships.

Vectors for Healthy Change

Here are a few things we can begin doing right away:

  • Spend time in God’s Word, paying attention to how many people struggled with famines, dangers, trials, pain, and isolation. Realize we are not alone.
  • Spend time with our family by reading together, playing games, or sharing a meal. For singles, this may be extraordinarily difficult but perhaps there’s a close friend or co-worker you can find a way to connect with.
  • Spend time finding purpose and meaning where we can. This may seem impossible, but we can be creative in finding ways to help others.

ROAD status is an attitude that can be changed. Ask God to help you start today.

-190404-F-TF218-1048 by the U.S. Air Force licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
-190517-F-BQ566-1005 by the U.S. Air Force licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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