On the heels on our vacation, some snippets become metaphors. One came from my dear husband.
Understand, this man drives the ENTIRE way on road trips. One time, only once, about 13 years ago or so – he asked me to take over the wheel after he had driven 20 hours straight. We were on our way to Glacier National Park, a trip that I doubt we’ll be able to road-trip again without stopping.
Anyway, after driving all day and all night we were back into day time. He told me he could handle it no further and needed to rest his eyes so I took over. EXCEPT – when he was driving the air conditioning was full blast, the radio was on and we were talking. Now I had no radio and no conversation. I managed 45 minutes until I pulled over, realizing my jello-necking was becoming a hazard. The sound of the truck going through the gravel awoke the hubs and he, agitated and hesitantly, took over the wheel. I’ve never resumed my helper spot again.
ANYWAY, we found ourselves driving in the Carolinas last week. The drivers are a bit more, well, aggressive than Midwestern drivers. They are not like New Orleans drivers that honk in a millisecond if you don’t move on a green light or turn right on a red, but they just drive like they have some important business to do. The Carolinas have semi-truck drivers that don’t think twice about cutting someone off without a blinker. Non-CDL drivers are no different.
Also, the Carolinas have more texting and driving than we’ve ever witnessed in all of our road-tripping.
With all of that, however, they drive without agitation. My husband was the most polite I saw there, letting people in, etc. Yet, in the midwest, if people get irritated they fly past you and flip the bird or yell at you. They don’t do that in the south. They don’t have time for that. They just move on with life. There is no road rage to sit and fester.
So, my husband said something along the lines of, “I have no angst at these drivers. I just wish they’d stay out of my lane and leave me alone.”
He gives me such good metaphors for living sometimes, and he doesn’t even realize it.
How many times do you and I get angry when people get in our lane, behaving like the midwest drivers? Maybe a friend interjected and gave her two cents about how you are parenting your child. Maybe a parent decided to tell you, a grown adult, how you should handle a job situation. Or maybe your spouse voiced their opinion about a new passion of yours, voicing their disapproval.
If we are grounded well enough, if we have enough self esteem – if our heart is God-centered with Truth as our compass, our emotions will be unaffected by the opinions or even actions of others against us. Yes, we may get a lesson in boundaries. We may get a lesson in love. We may get a lesson in trust, but we do not need to carry anger or angst against people, to fester and boil over.
I’m in the middle of an amazing Bible study called, “Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer. As we learn about the belt of truth, as described in Ephesians 6:14, she says the following:
Sensitivity to taking offense is one of the key ways Satan traps believers in his web of deception.
When we are easily wounded and hurt by the words and actions of other people, and then choose to nurse those wounds instead of offering forgiveness and grace, we provide the enemy ample opportunity to plant a root of bitterness in our hearts.
When we persist in harboring it, when we isolate it against certain people or groups of people we persecute as being antagonistic toward us, it can easily take over our lives and control us.
Anger is often a distortion of the facts – a misrepresentation about the details of whatever situation ignited it and a skewed perception about the truth of who God is and who we are in Him.
She packs quite a punch, ehe?
There will undoubtedly be people who drift into our lane. They are oblivious to it, as they continue to text and drive or eat and drive or change CDs and drive. May we have grace enough to pardon them and not carry any anger. Because when we wear the belt of truth, when we know what’s really going on with the people around us or know that we are walking a straight path, we will no longer be “tossed here and there by waves” (Ephesians 4:14), our emotions, opinions of others, incorrect visions of ourselves.