Don’t you hate having to follow those drivers who drive at the speed limit? Well, before I let you rant too much, I will confess that I have been one of “those” people. (And, as I am already making confessions, IZUIZ, I am sorry for any anxiety I have cause you in the past month; yes, that slow blue S10 was me.)
Sometimes God gives me a season of teaching me something-and it is usually disciplining me in something I do not particularly want to learn. Does he do that to you, too?
Once he told me I could not lead worship for a year. Despite knowing that, I several times tried to leverage myself into positions where I would be leading worship…what was I thinking? Every time this happened that I would try to work things out for myself, I would lose my voice or sound horrible the week that I was supposed to lead worship, and I lost the confidence of anyone around me that I had any sort of singing voice. There was a lesson in it–but I will save that for another day.
This year, I had a long commute to Milwaukee for my job, which took me down some particularly slow roads where few people followed the speed limit because they were posted particularly slow for what they seem they should be. I felt I needed to discipline myself to actually follow the very slow speeds. Most of the year, I slowed down to about five over the posted limit, but still had not actually gotten to the point of obeying the limit.
Usually, when I would see someone in my rear view, impatiently driving behind me, waiting for the first opportunity to pass me by when the lines went from solid to dashed, I would speed up to accommodate them. I knew this was really just trying to please people. If I couldn’t even follow the speed limit because of fear of displeasing someone I didn’t even know in a car behind me, how could I possibly obey God in anything without being turned away by those who wanted me to do something else?
Not long ago, I decided I had to take the plunge and actually just go the speed limit all the way to work, no matter how many frustrated people were forced to follow me in this endeavor. Only a couple of miles into the drive, I had a line of cars behind me, already impatient. I fought to the resist the temptation of going just a little faster. I couldn’t look in the rear view mirror or my resolve would crumble. I turned up my worship music and just looked ahead.
Finally, the burgundy PT Cruiser behind me got so impatient that he didn’t even wait–he passed by me in a no passing zone. I didn’t look over to see “the glare”–you know the one; I kept my eyes on my small goal for today. He sped ahead of me, as if to brag of his freedom in having passed by my constraint. He got quite far beyond me, but ironically, I caught up with him at the next stop light, where he had to wait quite some time. I imagine if he saw me, he was not happy to see that I was right behind him.
Even more amusing was the fact that this happened for seven miles of our journey, until he turned off the road to pursue his destination. he was always caught at the stoplight, and I was always pulling up behind.
Now, this is no amazing event, but as is the case when God is teaching us, and we finally try to listen, He has something important to say. I know my weakness is to please people around me, which frequently leads to some sort of compromise. The Lord told me through this car ride, that though someone may try to achieve something by going outside of the Lord’s limits, and though I may look like I am taking the slow route and will never reach my destination for following the Lord’s limits; we will end up at the same destination, and I will have done so with a clear conscience and a clear record, when others do not.
And before you start thinking I am judging you for going over the speed limit, be assured I am only relaying my own lesson for the day and what the Lord was teaching me. What has He been teaching you?