On Thursdays, I drive to Fort Worth to work with my clients. Point A to Point B is approximately 35 miles – not outstandingly long in the scheme of things; however, have you ever driven in the DFW metroplex? As IF that’s going to take the alloted 1 minute:1 mile ratio.
When I first moved to the city, I was often overwhlemed by other drivers. If they aren’t cutting you off and flipping you off, they are driving at least 10 under the speed limit on a major highway and hesitating/completely braking before exiting. One extreme to the other, it’s enough to make a person crazy. If not crazy, definitely a terrible driver in return.
That’s the problem: if you weren’t a bad driver before living in a major city (that doesn’t rely on public transit – shoutout to Chicago Kate!), you will become one in the process. Your instinct when cut off, or forced to slow, or sitting still on a highway is to get angry or get even. Most of the time, both. You cut me off? I’ll cut you off! You honked at me, I can honk back longer! The problem with that is twofold: one, you are clearly making the roadways less safe and two, your impatience is a direct violation of this whole trying to live a good life thing. Especially if your good life is trying to involve Jesus and his word.
Traffic, weather or airline delays are all elements of this life that are completely out of control, so we instinctively don’t like them anyway. The truest test of patience is staying calm and rational in the face of not getting where you want to go. Even reading that sentence annoys me, so I know I’m irrational when driving as well but the truth is, trials that are this small are often the truest test of your character. These tests develop character, endurance, perseverance and hope — all of which bring you to a higher (likely safer) plane of being.
Resisting the urge to get angry or even stressed in traffic is hard, but the point is that you must. You aren’t going to make the cars move, you can’t physically do anything about it – instead, use the time as a gift. Listen to a favorite song, call your mom or a friend that you haven’t talked to in awhile, or just SIT. Maybe that’s the 15 minutes of “free time” you had prayed for earlier – ever thought of it that way? Probably not, because often it’s easier to go with the flow – even if the flow is angry and stressful. Try it another way and…
Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. Hebrews 6:12
Interesting way to think of it, huh? Food for thought on a Thursday. And I’ll let you know how driving home goes with my newfound patience-inspired enlightment.
See you tomorrow.
Today is day eleven of my 31 days of patience series. For all posts in the series,click here.