If I ever wrote a book, I think it would be called “How’s My Driving?: an exploration of human emotion.”
Why? Because I can gauge my emotional health by my driving habits. A healthy driver is not negatively influenced by aggressive, slow or careless drivers. A healthy driver understands that he or she is divinely protected, loved unconditionally, understood as a person, and forgiven as a son or daughter of God. He or she cares for the drivers around them and does not engage in careless acts, knowing that being on the road in a vehicle is the equivalent of being shot out of the barrel of a gun in a crowded room and the slightest mishap results in a crash.
At the same time, the healthy driver wears the seat belt, uses the turn signal, stays a reasonable distance from the car in front of them and allows others to merge without feeling like he is being challenged. In the situations where he is being challenged, he understands that other drivers are at a different point in the emotional processes of life and kindly declines to participate in the conflict. His pride is not worth putting himself and others at risk of harm. While it is normal to feel anonymous and invincible in city traffic, one must understand the gravity of poor choices made in such an environment.
This is the definition of a healed individual. Their driving habits do not define them any more than their car, but it can be an excellent indicator of how well one has managed the pain and external stimuli in life.
Unfortunately, this isn’t me. I’m aggressive, invincible, impatient, rarely back down from a challenge and drive way too fast. I constantly compare my beat up car to those in the lanes beside me and force myself NOT to find my value from the vehicle I drive. A vehicle, after all, isn’t a measure of success.
My vehicle was free. It works. It gets me to work and back home. It gets 25 mpg and needs a new hood and bumper. I haven’t fixed it because it’s not a top priority. Who cares what my car looks like. If my value isn’t gained from my toys, it’s easy to get by without them.
“But you have the iPhone,” some might say.
“Isn’t that some kind of perceived status symbol?”
I didn’t say I had this down yet. I too, am in process.
When I do get to choose my vehicle, it will be out of necessity or because I’ve saved the money to get it – in cash. (A shout out to Dave Ramsey, right there.) It will not be chosen out of a need to impress the world around me or give the perception that I’m more successful than I am. The car will not reflect who I wish I could be, but who I am. It will be a tool, an investment, an expense, and something I don’t mind parking on the first row at Wal-mart.
As I slowly let my selfishness, shallowness, and unhealthy emotional responses fall by the wayside, I find a joy creeping into my life that is all but unfamiliar. It’s the freedom that comes when a person realizes their life is not in their own hands, but in the hands of one far more capable of providing a desirable result. It’s trust. It’s knowing of God’s protection. It’s being comfortable in His sight, relying on His Word, actively refusing to accept the lies and desires of the flesh and being a servant to everyone around you.
Driving is but one marker of this process. Many others exist. Not all of them, however, make for such a catchy title to a book.