Practice makes perfect. Or so we are told.
If so, I am being made perfect each time I slide behind the steering wheel of my car, start the engine, and pull out of my driveway onto the road.
It isn’t my driving that is being perfected, but those Christ-like qualities that make us “other” centered.
Why? Because driving is a self-centered activity. Each driver self-focused… striving to get to work or an appointment on time, making it home to pick up the house before company arrives for dinner, completing errands, getting to the grocery store before the afterwork rush. That is why we tailgate the slow driver ahead of us, refuse to allow more than one car to merge at a time when stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and accelerate when traffic lights blink to yellow. The problem is we become consumed with our needs as a driver and forget the needs of others.
So, I begin collecting Scripture to apply to all the situations I encounter.
Scripture One: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” 1 Corinthians 10:24
In the mountains where I live the roads are often narrow, winding through the trees. What I dread most as I climb up out of the valley is to see a travel trailer, tanker, or car pulling a boat lugged down on a steep grade in front of me. As these drivers pass turnouts without pulling over to let traffic by, I begin to be agitated. “Inconsiderate,” I think. But are they?
If I consider their well-being, what might I note about their slow climb up steep grades. The turnouts aren’t very long for one thing and if they pull over the entire line of cars will expect to go by forcing them to stop. If they must stop their progress up the grade will be more difficult.
Also, they too have a destination to reach and have just as much right to be on the road as faster drivers. Why am I always so indignant when I come behind a slow driver?
Scripture 2: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31
It is not just steep mountain grades that make us possessive of the roadway. When I pull out into a “faster” lane to pass a slower vehicle on the freeway the driver I pull in front always seems to push the gas arriving quickly upon my bumper as if to say, “you aren’t driving fast enough for this lane, get back over.”
The same reaction comes if you don’t know where you are going. There seems to be no mercy for those who find the access to their freeway entrance is on the other side of the road or need to slow a bit to look for an address.
Scripture 3: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil 2:3-4
I often hear bragging from mountain drivers about the speed they can maintain on Highway 32. This curvy section of road is often closed in the winter due to accidents and sadly it has claimed many lives. Once my small pickup was hit by a rolling tire that came loose from a trailer filled with construction materials. I braked and braked hoping the tire would tumble over the embankment into Deer Creek before colliding with my truck, but it tore out the radiator and battery leaving me stranded at the edge of the road.
Despite my bad experience, I still enter this section of the road with a bit of conceit. I disdain drivers who speed in the straight stretches but slow to a crawl as they enter the curves. “Valley driver,” I think. It is a snooty attitude without much humility.
We feel anonymous in our car, enveloped in a secluded piece of the world. While there are hundreds of people around us, they are passing through our lives at 30, 50, 80 miles an hour. We have no idea where they are going, whether they are familiar with the road they are traveling, if they are lost, or what thoughts consume and distract them from the task at hand. And they know nothing of us, only what they assume.
Every type of human behavior is on exhibit as we drive along neighborhood streets, maneuver congested downtown corridors, and negotiate lane changes on the freeway. Therefore, driving is opportunity to select and apply Scripture. To practice godly interactions until they are perfected.
1-I applied the verses in this piece to driving. What situation in your life might provide good application of these verses and practice?
2-What “other” centered verses have you been putting into practice lately?
©2022 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved