Road rage- that thing that happens when you are driving along minding your own business and all the stupid people decide to ride along beside you, behind you and in front of you. (I struggle a little with this can ya tell?!)
A few years back we were on our way to a recovery meeting. It was a Tuesday night and we were running a little late. (Something always seems to happen to try to keep you from the very meetings you need!) I had decided a few weeks previous that I was going to ask for some accountability when it came to my road rage and my outbursts as I was trying to be less reactive. I thought it a great idea to share my goal with my family as well as those at our recovery meeting. I even got a chip for road rage (also known as anger issues). As is the case when you are trying to stop doing something, every dumb driver on the road decided to find me. It was as if someone had plugged in a neon sign above my car that screamed ANNOY ME!
SIDE NOTE: I recognized my need to change when I was driving down the road with my children and as I was trying to make a right turn onto a side street this dude decided to honk and scream out his window “nice blinker”. (Pause: My blinker was not working and I couldn’t signal or I would have) With out hesitation my head was out the window and I screamed “It’s BROKENNNNNNN stupid.” I don’t know as if I have ever yelled that loud since. As I brought my head back in the car my children were speechless with jaws dropped. My response, ” well, it is!” I think it was my daughter that said wow mom you seriously need to chill. UGH!
Now back to my story. My children were doing really well at helping me while driving to stay calm. They never failed to remind me to count to ten or lose my chip. :O) Gotta love accountability. On this particular Tuesday night it was me and hubby on our way to the meeting. We turned onto the last stretch of road and this van comes flying up behind me, switches lanes and then about runs me off the road to get in front of me. I vaguely remember saying “like hell….” to which my husband chuckled. In my mind I was going to pass this lady on her left and then play a game of pac man down the two lane road so she couldn’t pass. (I know,I know- I had some anger issues) I had it all played out and even shared it with my husband. Just as I was about to pass her I had a thought and said ” My luck she is going to the same meeting as we are!” My husband laughed and I fell back in line behind her and practiced counting. The next two miles I followed her down the road. I put on my right turn signal right after she put on her right signal. I passed the 7-11 by the church right after she did and I pulled into the parking lot of the meeting seconds behind her van. I swallowed hard and my husband was still laughing as I exclaimed “SERIOUSLY!” (God has a funny sense of humor huh?) Yes, we made it to the front door before she did and I held open the door for her and her friend and in we went.
Had I decided to not let go and had pulled in front of her and carried out my plan….. I can’t even imagine how I would have felt had she been the one following me into the meeting.
This story came to my mind today as I struggle with this un-forgiveness thing for the people who mistreat me and wrong me. I have a choice to make, sometimes in just a matter of moments, and I also have a choice to make whether I forgive them or let my anger, frustration and un-forgiveness get the best of me. I lay it down and then days later it is back in my face like a raging bull. I get so frustrated.
This example I shared in my story was simple. I doubt I ever saw that lady again. She didn’t have a clue that I was ready to mess up her day! She wasn’t mad or frustrated. She didn’t even care. I was the one devising a plan of revenge and “I’ll show her”! The story may be simple yet the lesson I learned is very strong in my mind.
C.S. Lewis once said “We find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. We, forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offense and we discover the old resentment blazing away if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offenses but for one offense.”
Luke 6:28 The Message (MSG)
27-30“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
For today this is my prayer! Dropping my rocks. Letting go and letting GOD!