Tag Archives: driving

Thank You for Offending Me!!!!

offenses

Thank you for not noticing I colored my hair.  Thank you for stealing my parking spot.  Thank you for not saying hi at church today.  Thank you for not buying me coffee.  Thank you for forgetting my birthday.  Thank you for not remembering I am allergic to green peppers.  Thank you for ignoring me yesterday at the store.  Thank you for not inviting me to go out to dinner.  Thank you for cutting in front of me.  Thank you for not asking me to be a bridesmaid.  Thank you for not buying me something when you went to the store. Thank you for posting what you did on Facebook.

SHOULD I GO ON?

Offenses are literally EVERYWHERE these days.  As the world grows colder and colder and we are busy building our walls of defense against one another, we are suffering on the inside and no one seems to notice it much anymore.  We shrug our shoulders and move on to the next offense which just adds fuel to the fire already blazing on the inside.  We misinterpret things.  We react to situations based on our past hurts.  We are literally destroying our bodies with all this harbored bitterness. Often we take on offenses that really are not even there.

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So how can we overcome offenses in our lives?  Our women’s Bible study is reading a book called “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf and just in the first two weeks I have learned a few things. (you can look her up YouTube and watch her amazing videos)  The main thing I want to focus on for the purposes of this blog is good trees verses bad trees.  When we are offended we have two choices:  take the offense and create a black tree or reject it and create a green, healthy one. (see Dr. Caroline Leaf videos for further understanding)  From the moment something offends us we can either choose life or death.  It really does something to the chemical balance in our bodies.

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Let me give you an example which just happened this morning.  I was driving my husband to work and he simply said to me, “Ya know, you need to slow down.”  Um, What?  I was going 40 and was ready with my defense when he further explained the speed limit had changed to 35 a few blocks back.  As I listened to his explanation I realized I had a choice to make:  Green Tree or Black Tree.  Here are the two scenarios:

  • I take on the offense:  My mind starts racing.  My blood pressure begins to elevate.  So I begin to build my defense case.  I have been driving for 31 years and have had 1, yes one, violation.  Then pride begins to boast in all its glory, my mind tries to dig up ALL of the things I have witnessed while being a passenger to his driving (which the list was very short–he is a great driver).  If I proceed with this avenue I will then become bitter and EVERY time I am driving my husband somewhere I will feel like I am not driving right according to his standards.  I would also open the door to me being critical about his driving as well.  Do you see where the bitterness grows and festers until it’s a BIG ugly black tree?
  • I decide not to be offended:  I choose in that very moment to capture this offense and give it to Jesus.  My blood pressure does not rise.  There is no place for bitterness to grow.  I know that pride will only get me into trouble and possibly a future “told you so”, besides,  growing a green, healthy tree is much simpler in the long run.  Besides I plan on spending the rest of my life riding in the car with my husband and this could have grown into one BIG UGLY black tree.

I am so THANKFUL God is renewing my mind in this area of my life.  Letting offenses fester only leads to a bitter life and possibly damages to my health.  I want to be able to love people and not take on any offenses.  The journey will not be easy, yet I accept the challenge.  I have had several instances this week where I have failed to not take on an offense, but then I remember it is a learning process.  It merely is in slowing down and making the clear choice rather than the one tainted by past hurts.

Dear Lord, I thank You for renewal of minds.  I pray You will help me to keep seeking deeper understanding in this area of my life.  I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and You meet me right where I am at.  Thank  You for healing me and guiding my steps towards greater freedom!  In Jesus Name!  Amen

 

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Ya Never Know…..

1 Corinthians 15:3
The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence.

Ever done something and just wanted to slap yourself silly knowing that you did not represent God in a very good light with your actions?  Ever wanted to go back and erase an event that just happened and ask God for a do-over?  How about being so embarrassed you just want to hide from what you just did until someone else takes the spotlight with their own act of ungodliness?  Well the story I am about to share with you is personally embarrassing, but through these ordeals we learn and grow in our relationship with Christ and learn how to respect and represent in a pleasing, mature form.

I once was a youth leader, long ago in my twenties.  We had a small group but none the less we were pretty close.  I have always been the “fun person” in the groups I participated in and was known for being a little on the weird side.  Now I am ashamed to admit that road-rage (while not the extreme kind) was once  a lifestyle I lived.  I got angry at the dumbest things.  One time in particular I was stopped at a stop light when the car behind me started honking and my reaction was confusion as traffic was coming and there was no way of me making a right turn at any given moment.  Well, the car kept honking and annoying me further so as I was able to finally turn and the car slowly passed me, the passengers waving wildly, I (this is the bad part, close your imagination eyes please) flipped them off only to realize in horror that one of my youth students was in that car, WITH their parents!

How horrible did I feel?  I am sure you can imagine.  God used that moment to at least correct me from EVER flipping off anyone again.  Now maybe a point I need to make is that I was one of the Christians trying to live that double life of world and church…never works out for the better.  Yep, I was a youth leader, leader of tomorrows youth….still partying on the week-ends and obviously not acting or behaving much like a true follower of Christ.  I thus have grown tremendously in the years since, but lots of lessons to learn in between.  I still was an angry driver, not understanding why people pulled out in front of me.  I think I may have even gotten out of my car once to make sure I did not have a new license plate that said, “Please, Pull out in front of me.”  I am not sure what changed my tune one day but I soon began to bless others instead of cursing them.  Maybe it was the issue that I was trying to take swearing out of my vocabulary and this was the place I started, I don’t know, I just began blessing and it has turned my driving into a much more pleasurable thing  to do.

Tonight as I was driving home  in the dark, I mentioned out loud that I had not even known there was a car behind me until I pulled away at the light because they were so close to me I could not even see their headlights.  As the car sped around me and weaved through traffic my daughter begins to spout out about twenty reasons why the car could be speeding.  Here are some: a family member was injured, they were headed to the hospital, they were late for work, maybe they just lost their job and don’t know how to tell there spouse, a relative had just passed away and they were trying to deal with it through driving….at some point I got lost in the numerous reasons why someone would be driving erratically and I tried to explain that some of those reasons were why I bless people now, but she just kept speaking.  She was really pushing the issue and then of course I asked the dumbest question, “What if they were driving that way just because they like to drive fast?” (I pray for their safety in that case)  She of course just sighed and said I interrupted her momentum.

I truly feel that we need to express that we are Christians no matter what we are doing.  The rear of my van is covered with stickers representing who I stand for, so I try harder now to represent Christ even in my driving.  My daughter is 100% correct when she says that we have no idea what those persons are going through, we have been there ourselves. We can only aspire in this life to live one that is worthy of being called a son or daughter of God, it is through our actions others begin to see the Light and that Light cannot shine when it is shrouded by our own darkness.  We have to make that choice between good and evil.  We can be one way in the world and a totally different person in church where:  A. You are already accepted and B. God called us to represent Him (the Great Commission).  I will continue to correct my not perfect actions from day to day, growing ever closer to the person God sees in me.  Will I ever be perfect?  Nope, but I want to be loyal to being a Christian both at church and while I am milling around in the world.