With Lent coming to an end soon I thought I’d share a few things I learned in my time in the slow lane. Giving up speeding for Lent was difficult, inconvenient and humbling but it came with a lot of lessons about myself, my heart and my “religiosity.”
1. Driving the speed limit, like really living out a Christian faith that makes it the foundation of your life, takes a lot of intentionality.
2. When I was speeding, I offered many good excuses why. Usually I just wasn’t paying attention. Other times it was because I didn’t want to make anyone mad, late or both. Also, the guy with the Jesus fish on his car was speeding… Just like my words and actions everyday, knowing the right thing to do doesn’t mean I do it or that I don’t have a great excuse for my disobedience.
3. When I am driving the speed limit, I worry a lot about others. I’m am consumed with how irritating I must be to the people behind me. I hope no one I know will see me driving like a grandma. In my faith and life in general, I am always thinking about what people are thinking about me. What they think of me doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, but I am consistently and acutely aware of the presence, judgment and thoughts of others in church, in the community and apparently also in my car.
4. I often wondered for the last 40 days why I give things up for Lent in the first place. My eternal security did not rest upon my ability to drive 55. If I was earning any “brownie” points with the big Guy by doing this, I was surely losing them more quickly than I was earning any on account of my incessant complaining. Was an angel getting his wings every time I chose to go the speed limit? There are other things I do in the name of being a Christian that I do not always get the point behind. Why do I have to pray for those who persecute me? Why do I have to turn the other cheek when someone is being a jerk? But I realized that my lack of understanding the point behind these things does not justify me not doing them. Just like when I speed because I’m not paying attention, my lack of awareness and intentionality in what God calls me to do does not justify me not doing them. Bummer.
5. Like many “religious” things, over time I began not speeding expressly for the sake of not speeding. I wasn’t driving the speed limit so that I thought of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me. I just went thru the motion of doing something sacrificial because it is what Christians should do. Unfortunately, like a lot of things I do in Jesus’ name, I usually forgot why I was driving the speed limit and the focus became instead about by favorite person (me) at her favorite kind of party (pity).
6. I was more aware when my husband was speeding during Lent. Although it was really hard to remember to drive the speed limit when I was behind the wheel, I became freakishly in tune with my when my husband was speeding. Do I need to explain how this is like being a (hypocritical) Christian (which we are all, by the way)?
7. Instead of getting irritated with the slow driver’s in front of me like I did when I could speed, I became increasingly frustrated the fast driver’s tailgating me (and name calling generally ensued). I’m not sure what the faith analogy is there, but it was an interesting and pathetic observation. I think I have road rage issues regardless of my speed.
“Dear Lord, thank you for the last 40 days. My attempts to not speed and to help myself focus more on you during Lent didn’t go so well, but thank you for what I did learn.Help me now that Lent is over to continue to be a law abiding citizen. I really don’t want to but I feel you convicting me in that. I know your Word says that your laws aren’t burdensome (I John 5:3), so I pray that you will give me the desire to slow down. But most of all God, thank you for your obedience in going to the cross for a sinner, speeder and rage-filled person like me. Help me these last few days of Lent to intentionally wrap my mind around how much you must love me to have given up not something trite like I did, but by giving up your life.In Your Name, Amen.”