Fear affects our choices. How do you generally behave? Being a good person who occasionally does bad things may not be enough to make it through Heaven’s gates.
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Whenever I have to drive somewhere out of my normal routine, I battle low-grade anxiety. I know what high-grade anxiety feels like; it’s a rib-squeezing, sweat-dripping, heart-heaving nightmare. I know because for the first few months after a major accident I had, my body jumped into panic mode each time I needed to make a left hand turn—anywhere. It was awful.
But I had a feeling I needed to keep driving—keep dealing with it so I wouldn’t end up stuck at home imprisoned by fear. And because it got better each time, I didn’t give up. Otherwise I would have been taking a taxi to see a therapist—seriously—because even a hint of PTSD isn’t nice.
A Worrying Left Hand Turn
So when I was asked to pick one of my sons up from work because his vehicle was in the shop, I said yes. And then I immediately worried about the left hand turn I would need to make on our way home.
Ah … but I figured my way out of that one; I planned on handing the keys to him when he got in the car. There was no point me driving a route he was used to driving—right? Hmm. Maybe I was just being a coward. Maybe I’m not better yet.
On my way to pick him up, I noticed a small white dog in the SUV in front of me. It barked at every vehicle that drove. The dog ran back and forth across the car seats to make sure he barked at cars passing by on either side. The windows were open and his bark was bigger than he was—by far.
Then I noticed a sticker on the owner’s bumper: “I’m a good dog who sometimes does bad things.”
A Good Driver Who Does Bad Things
Hmm, I wonder if I could pull off that excuse if I have another car accident. ICBC didn’t take my safe driver’s discount away, but if I ever needed to I could say, “I’m a good driver who sometimes does bad things.”
Nope. It wouldn’t work. And you know something else this made me think of? Well you know what’s coming next—don’t you? A devotional style message about how we can’t get through the Pearly Gates by saying, “I’m a good person who sometimes does bad things.”
No One Is Good
In Mark 10:18, Jesus said, “No one is good–except God alone.” Jesus was the only perfect Son who died to pay for the sins we’ve done. The only ticket through Heaven’s gate is by trusting in Jesus through grace given faith.
That barking dog might be able to get away with shenanigans but there are no excuses for our unrepented sins.
So, guess what happened next concerning driving my son?
When my son walked up to my car, he asked, “Why are you sitting in the passenger seat?”
I answered, “I thought you would like to drive.”
He said, “You’re going to be dropping me off at the garage, so you might as well drive.”
A Good Mom Who Sometimes Does Bad Things
This is where I needed to confess I’m a good mom who sometimes does bad things. Like not telling the whole truth because I’m embarrassed to confess my fear of left-hand turns. But I didn’t tell. Instead I got back in the driver’s seat and dreaded the additional left-hand turn I forgot to worry about—the one I needed to make to get back onto the highway during rush hour traffic.
I pulled up to the highway and stopped. Traffic as fast and as busy as a swarm of angry hornets filled both lanes. I reminded myself that late is better than a car crash. Soon a huge break presented itself and I made the turn safe and serene. No panic attack, no pounding heart, and no sweaty palms. Then I drove back into town, pulled over into a parking area, and dropped my son off. Next I made a left turn back onto the main road and headed toward my least favorite left-hand turn.
Good Enough to Do Well
I approached the intersection as the light turned red. That’s okay with me. I like turning on the green arrow. And when it turned green, I watched the truck in front of me cross over into another lane and narrowly miss clipping the corner of a car that had the right-of-way.
But I didn’t gasp. I didn’t hyperventilate. Because I’m a good driver who sometimes does bad things too. I made a stick-to-my-mind note to watch for those kinds of drivers when I’m the one minding my own business, because sometimes bad things happen to drivers even when they’re doing good things.
Later, that evening, after I confessed to my son the real reason why I offered my car for him to drive, we agreed it was good I drove because it showed me I was good enough to do well.
You Might Enjoy These Posts About Fear:
Crawford Paul –How Long to Read the Bible
Don Salmans – Our Lord and Our Fear
Gary McBride – He is Building His Church
Greg Reader – Faith Versus Fear in Burkina Faso
Images courtesy of:
Traffic Jam – FreePhotos
White Dog – PublicDomainPictures
Traffic signal – 422737
Driving – Free_Photos