Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Cautious Driver

I am a cautious driver. I ease out of parking spots, slow down at intersections, and rarely go more than five over the speed limit. When pulling out into traffic, I tend to wait until there's a considerable gap so I don't inconvenience oncoming traffic too much. As a result of my caution, I've never gotten a ticket of any kind. (Although, if you ask my husband, it's because I'm a girl.) Twenty years since I got my license and I still have a clean driving record. Not too shabby.

My caution, however, is often dependent on environmental factors. When the weather is bad, I drive slower than necessary, take longer to turn, and start stopping way before the traffic light. Heavy rain, snow, ice, and even occasionally night driving will turn me into the world's most cautious driver.

When I'm the only one on the road, I do exactly what I feel comfortable doing. Which usually means I'm obeying traffic laws. I'm fairly predictable like that.

But there are times when I'm waiting to exit a parking lot and the line of cars is building behind me and the oncoming traffic doesn't give me the size break I want and the pressure mounts... (I hate being honked at, by the way) ...and I take a risk I don't usually take and I jet out into traffic and my heart races and I absolutely hate driving and I second guess my timing for the next two miles or more, hoping I didn't offend anyone.

This is why I try to turn right or use a protected left-hand turn whenever possible. And why I like living far enough out in the suburbs, we fight farmers on tractors for the right of way.

They don't honk.

In a way, my cautious (and occasionally reckless) driving is much like life in general. For the most part, I'm conservative and tend to follow the rules. I rarely step out of line and I try to live my life as God would have me do.

But there are times when pressure mounts and people are watching and there are expectations and deadlines are encroaching and children are yelling and things are breaking and my mind spins and I can't think straight and suddenly I'm yelling or doing something stupid or inconsiderate and I absolutely hate dealing with people and I second guess my actions for the next two weeks or more, hoping I didn't offend anyone.

At times like that, I have to remind myself to slow down.

Take a breath.

Say a prayer.

And listen. Not just to what my whiny child is really trying to tell me, but what my Heavenly Father wants me to hear.

Peace. Be still.

For with Him at my side, I don't have to be afraid of being myself. I don't have to worry about what others think or the pressures of this world. For the only thing that truly matters is what He thinks of me.

All I have to do is believe.

Believe is a verb. A verb is an action. Therefore, to believe is to ACT.

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