Since moving to Portal (about 20 minutes outside of town), I've been driving a lot more lately. I make the 20 minute drive to and from Statesboro just about every day, either for work/class or for church. Saturday is the only day I don't have to go there, but there's usually some reason to do it anyway. I don't mind the drive, it's actually kind of nice to have time to think and focus before going somewhere. When I lived 5 minutes from work, I would push it until the very last minute and spend those 5 minutes sweating, tapping the steering wheel, and checking the clock. This automatically made my entry into work a less pleasant one. Now I allow for the time and can empty myself, talk to God, listen to music, or just zone out (as safely as possible!) before starting another busy day. My only complaint with the driving is the crowd. This year we have 20,000 students at Georgia Southern and they're out in full force! If they're not driving on the roads, they're riding their bikes, walking, running, etc... And all this driving, and all these people, it really got me thinking about our driving attitudes. What kind of people are we when we get behind the wheel?Here's what I have gathered about myself and other people I've seen drive. We lose our patience much more easily than in other circumstances. Suddenly getting where we're going is the most important thing in our lives and any delays are devastating! If you're walking behind someone who is going too slow, you don't usually walk super close to them until they have the sense to move out of your way. But that's what we do when we drive. And we pair that action with frustrated words or sounds. We groan, sigh, growl...we say things like, "What is this idiot doing?" Some of us say worse things than that. If someone cuts us off, we may shout obscenities, use vulgar gestures, lay on the horn, or if nothing else, we steam on the inside with anger. From what I can tell, most of us become totally different people with different values when we're driving. Not always, but we're almost like time bombs when we're driving...we aren't always crazy, but it could start at any minute. It's like we forget who we are and we forget that people driving around us are people and not just inanimate cars. We may strive to exhibit and embody the fruit of the spirit in our lives, but that is not necessarily evident when we drive. How often do we show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control when we're driving? I feel like patience is often the first to go and the rest just follow along right after. Why do we do that? Does our Christian lifestyle pause when we get in a car? Maybe we don't think about it because road rage is so common and accepted by the world...but so are most of the sins that we try to avoid. Maybe it's because there are no teachings on driving in the Bible, maybe because Jesus himself didn't drive. But I would think (and I got this bit from Carl, who is the leader of the GSU Wesley Foundation), if Jesus came in an era of driving, He certainly would have driven. So, it's that question we should always be asking ourselves: what would Jesus do? If Jesus were driving, how would He drive? Would he transform into a frustrated, angry, impatient, and agressive person when He was driving? I seriously doubt it.
So, to deal with the admittedly frustrating task of all this driving around all these people, I have decided to remind myself that I am a Christian at ALL times. So, I should be acting like Christ. And He would drive with all the Fruit of the Spirit. He would love others enough to not be a rude or aggressive driver towards them, and He would be merciful and loving enough to forgive those who were rude and aggressive towards Him. He would not let worry and anxiety consume Him. If we find ourselves becoming someone we don't like when driving, I suggest turning down the radio, taking a breath, and talking to God. Driving is a great time to pray (with your eyes OPEN!), and I've found it really helps me to drive like Jesus!
"Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Romans 12:14