Slow drivers, well, I’ll be honest, speed-limit-drivers have a way of getting under my skin. But, as life would have it, my son became, “of age” this past year and I have found myself in the passenger seat of one of fatherhood’s great adventures – the student driver. Now, of course HE should be abiding by every traffic law in the land and then some, but that does not mean I would want to travel behind him on a two-lane road. So, when I was recently relegated to co-pilot on the seven-mile trek to his youth meeting on mostly two-lane roads, I prepared for a steady stream of passing vehicles and tail-gaters with a side of obscene gestures and dirty looks.
Watching the growing queue of vehicles behind us I thought, “what if someone who knows me and that this is my vehicle is behind us…and they assume that is ME driving so offensively slow?” I struggled to reconcile the idea that I could be judged as an extension of my vehicle that was being operated by someone else! I suddenly became very conscious of how the literal driving force was representing me simply because I was allowing someone else to control my vehicle.
At this point, all the decades of church attendance, Christian education and work in ministry reached a boiling point in my brain and it hit me. If I was concerned with the forces driving me as a person as much as I was how a student-driver’s tedious attention to road rules were painting me as a granny behind the wheel, I could really make some positive changes in my life. Do I have a habit of carelessly handing over the keys to the reckless forces of negativity? Am I a hazard to other people when being driven by self-serving agendas? Yes, I went deep.
We hand over control every day to forces around and within us and thus become an extension of these forces to those we come in contact with. It goes both ways. There are good forces (the Holy Spirit) and there are bad (human nature impulses). My goal is to follow the inspired words of the Apostle Paul and make a habit of taking my thoughts captive and evaluating them against the standard of the fruits of the spirit. It would be the equivalent of having one of those, “how’s my driving?” stickers you see on the back of work trucks, except mine would say, “How’s my love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?” Imagine having THAT on the back of your vehicle. It might change the way you conduct yourself.