Can we sit down and be real for a minute? Great. I’ll go first.
Confession: I have road rage.
And not just run-of-the-mill anger at bad drivers. Oh no. It’s far more unsettling than that.
I’m angry at slow drivers for being in my way. Or you know - just for being on the road AT ALL.
I’m angry at fast drivers for risking the lives of everyone around them.
I’m angry at the people driving the same speed as me because I can’t figure out how to pass them.
Do you see this? I’m mad at all the drivers on the road. ALL of them.
My friends tell me they always see me on the road and wave to me, but I never notice them.
One friend told me that she and her husband were driving right next to me, waving and honking, and I didn’t ever see them. She said I looked very, very mad.
Do you know what, Kellie? I was.
But I didn’t know it at the time. This is a relatively new revelation for me. My kids laughed at me last week when I said out loud (to someone I don’t even know, mind you) “You are literally ruining everything”. Why? Because they had the audacity to drive super slow in front of me while I was in a massive hurry to park downtown.
“Mama, are they really ruining everything?” Andy asked through his laughter.
I’m sure I snapped back with a “YES”.
Yeah, I thought about the example I was setting. And I thought about how the words I say at the breakfast table with our Bible open don’t really line up with the words I say about the people driving in my general vicinity.
I felt bad for a minute and decided (again) that I should probably keep my comments to myself.
"Praise God for difficulties and distresses and weaknesses that bring us to our knees in defeat! Praise God that His grace is sufficient to conquer everything in my life that shouldn’t be there and to make my life something that displays His own power!"
I hope you are having a good laugh at my expense. I deserve it. But guess what? It gets even worse…
This morning, my boys and I read a devotion that was based on Philippians 4:13. As you may know, this is the oft quoted “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” verse. It’s a good one.
“Hey guys,” I said, “Does this mean that if you believe hard enough, Jesus will strengthen you to be able to pick up boulders like the Incredible Hulk?”
We talked about what it really means….that whether we are poor or not, whether we are hungry or not, whether we are in a good place or not…in every circumstance, we have a choice.
We can do the things alone, through our puny and ineffective effort.
Or we can do them through Jesus…through the strength that conquered death.
We can wash dishes through Jesus who strengthens us. We take a test through Jesus who strengthens us. We can comfort someone through Jesus who strengthens us. We can build spreadsheets through Jesus who strengthens us.
We can do ALL THINGS through Jesus who strengthens us.
So, “Boys?” I said confidently, “Today, Mama’s going to drive through Jesus who strengthens me!” They weren’t that impressed. But I was impressed with my own resolve, to tell you the truth.
It was the worst day of driving EVER! I lost count of the times I clenched my teeth, audibly growled, or just simply tensed up every muscle in my body in absolute rage against people I’ve never met today! And I guess this is what worries me…I really can’t stop this on my own. My rage-driving has become an actual habit that I can’t stop.
Alright…so I’m in a different posture tonight than I was this morning. Today was embarrassing, eye-opening, and humbling. The truth is that my ridiculous anger while driving stems from deep selfishness.
I really must believe that I deserve to drive on roads that are free of obstacles, at whatever speed I want to travel, without red lights or stop signs or people.
And you’ve probably guessed that I tend to take this attitude into much of my life.
“I deserve a life free of surprises (the bad ones), obstacles, or inconveniences or people who make life hard.” That is what I really believe.
And it’s a lie.
Paul, the writer of the letter to the Philippians, learned contentment in want and in prosperity because to him, to live was Christ. His very life was not “Paul”…Paul’s schedule, Paul’s preferences, Paul’s talents, Paul’s self-fulfillment. His every pursuit, his every thought, his very life, was Jesus.
If my life was Jesus, my thoughts while driving (and actually, through most of my day) would be very different.
The good news is that none of this is a surprise to Him. And my abject failure to get myself under control as I drive to the ball field is a great invitation from God to come near and get more of Him…to be transformed by the renewing of my mind; to see more of that old self die off and the inner man grow stronger.
“Therefore we do not lose heart; but indeed if our outward man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:16
Oh praise God for His patience with me! Praise God for difficulties and distresses and weaknesses that bring us to our knees in defeat! Praise God that His grace is sufficient to conquer everything in my life that shouldn’t be there and to make my life something that displays His own power! (See 2 Corinthians 12:9 - 10). “When I am weak, then I am strong!"
HWJD? (How Would Jesus Drive)
Yeah - I don’t know. I’ve got a long road ahead to find out (pun totally intended). But my final praise here is that it is God who will finish the work He started in me (Philippians 1:6). He will do it. My job is simply to seek Him in earnest, as Paul did.
Ok. Your turn.
What is that one habit, that one thing, that one obstacle that pushes your buttons? Will you lay it at Christ’s feet?