Speeding Tickets of Life

Over the weekend, a police officer handed me a ticket for doing 80-mph in a 70-mph zone.  As I pulled away, tears started dripping down my face.  My son, who had been fascinated by the flashing blue lights and had waved with a smile to the 2nd officer that was standing near the back-seat window, was now concerned about my water works.

“Are you sad you got a ticket mama?”

When I answered no to being sad, he continued trying to guess the cause of my tears.  

My tears were ones of frustration. I had a lot on my plate.  I was exhausted, having already driven 9 of the 14.5 hours in order to get home.  It was starting to snow, causing me another level of worry about driving. My husband was another week behind coming home.  Baseball tryouts were being re-scheduled for Monday evening and new cleats/bats/gloves hadn’t been purchased yet.  Laundry and bills to be paid were waiting my arrival home.  

Now, I also had a speeding ticket.  

As I started to search vigilantly for a hotel to stop at, I began reflecting on what that speeding ticket meant.  It became symbolic.  I speed a lot.  If I’m honest and fair, I likely speed every day.  It’s easy for me to nudge up to the speed limit, as well as go over…even if it’s only one or two mph over. 

The kicker is that I don’t get caught every day.  I don’t catch myself, nor does law enforcement. Yet, I know I speed. I know I should try harder to stop speeding. I acknowledge that I deserve the accountability and discipline of a ticket nearly daily.

Sin is like that.  

We often commit sin without even acknowledging that it’s sinful behavior.  Perhaps, we exhibit a particular sinful behavior so frequently that we begin to lose the knowledge that it’s sin. We can go days, months, and even years without being held accountable for those behaviors.  Romans 3:23 states, “…for all of sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”  The longer we go without being called out on it, the easier it is to continue doing the behavior.  

Like speeding. 

This was the 1st speeding ticket I had gotten in the US since 1996; although I did get enough speeding tickets while stationed in Germany, that I actually had my US-European drivers licenses suspended for 30 days (it’s even easier to go super-fast in Germany).   

But this weekend’s speeding ticket was a reprimand for errant behavior.  It was also representative of all the other times I had broken the law by speeding…and hadn’t gotten caught.  

I deserved the ticket.  The tears weren’t ones of sadness that I had gotten caught; rather they were ones of frustration at the situation.

Take a moment this week to ask the Lord to reveal where there is repeated sin in your life so that you can repent before you end up with one of the speeding tickets of life.

~Emily

Culinary School Expectations

My husband and I often tag-team in the kitchen.  We normally work as a pretty good team on favorite recipes, but new ones tend to create drama. I begin to lose patience and get some attitude.  It’s usually accompanied by a snotty comment. Inevitably, my husband throws up his hands and says something to the effect of “you’re the one who went to culinary school, you do it.”

I think this is a more common reaction than we recognize.  When we lose patience or when we get aggravated, we have similar reactions.  When we feel we know better or when we feel that someone should behave a certain way, we have similar reactions.  It’s the reaction of literally or figuratively throwing up your hands and saying “you’re the one who…blah, blah, blah” and you’re able to insert whatever finish to that statement that you want.

At work, one could add “you’re the one who is in charge or has the degrees.”

At the grocery store, one could add “you’re the one who works here.”

At church, one could say “you’re the one who went to seminary or has been a Christian longer.”

I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks, and I’ve concluded that when we use this reaction at work, in relationships, and especially at church, it’s not helpful.  It becomes blame-shifting in a passive-aggressive manner while justifying why we should be held more accountable for the interaction.

When you look at the Garden of Eden, you see Adam react in this blame-shifting manner when God asks what has happened after they ate the fruit.  In Genesis 3:12-13, Adam states “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  Adam blames God and the woman.  In turn, Eve replies, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”   Neither takes responsibility for their own role in the sin.

Because we don’t accept our own sinful behavior, we end up not exercising grace. And that dear sisters is when we start to say things like “you’re the one who….blah, blah, blah.”

Even though I really did go to culinary school, I’m going to try to control my patience level and not push my husband to the point he throws his hands up at me.  I challenge you to find an area of your life that you can work on too!
~Emily

chef

“Dog Down”

I was 19 years old the first and only time that I hit a dog with my car.  I was traveling on a lonely stretch of I-40 from Albuquerque, NM to Altus, OK at about 10pm.  It was dark and I was one of several cars pacing slightly above the speed limit when out of nowhere a dog bolted across four lanes of traffic.   I slowed down as much as possible, but was unable to swerve, as there was a car in the lane next to me.  The front, left bumper clipped the dog in the back left hip.  This caused the dog to spin into a summersault landing in the medium.

During this time, I had been chatting on a CB radio with my then-husband who was in the truck in front of me.  As soon as I hit the dog, I yelled over the radio “DOG DOWN!”

I was so upset to think I may have killed the dog.  I pulled over to check the dog.  Several others pulled over too.

The gentleman who had been in the car one lane from me said, “Thank you for not swerving….you would have hit me for sure and then we’d both likely have gotten hurt.”  By then I was crying.  A local man offered kind words by saying, “Don’t worry…that dog lives right over there and runs into the interstate a couple times a week.  This isn’t the first time he’s been hit.”

How many times in life have you been the dog…running into traffic…running straight into the hurt you’ve already experienced…running straight into sinful behavior?

Continued sinful behavior hurts in many ways:

  1. It hurts us personally.

When we sin, we typically end up hurting ourselves in some capacity.  Lot’s wife hurt herself with sinful behavior.  She disobeyed her husband’s instructions, given by a loving God.  She then faced very serious consequences by giving into the temptation of sin.   “But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26)

  1. It hurts others.

Catastrophic events can occur for others when we continue to sin.  For instance, when King Herod was angry about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:3), he ordered the death of all male children in the Bethlehem region who were under two years old (Matthew 2:16).  In Herod’s rage, his sin caused tremendous hurt to the children and families in that area.

  1. It creates more sin…more hurt.

Often sinful behavior creates more sinful behavior. In Genesis, we see Eve sin by eating from the one tree that was forbidden. That sin creates a scenario where she tempts Adam to commit sinful behavior.  In turn, hiding in shame and covered with lies also becomes sinful behavior.

Sin can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss but know this…we are all sinners.  Every single one of us! And we all have the opportunity to accept this amazing gift of forgiveness and salvation.  After accepting that gift, continuing to deliberately sin is a cycle that creates hurt to yourself, towards others and it potentially cycles into more sin.

You become the dog that runs into traffic repeatedly, even at the cost of hurt.

This week I want to encourage you to turn from sinful behavior…it’s only causing some type of hurt.

~Emily

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

~1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

Dog Down