I’ve definitely noticed a change in the traffic patterns in my neck of the woods since Thanksgiving. People are driving faster. They are more impatient in traffic. They are cutting others off. They are insisting on their own way. They are running red lights and rolling past stop signs.
I know because I am one of them.
It bothers me because I have worked really hard to be more patient as a driver. It has become one of my “spiritual disciplines.” Seriously. If I can’t exhibit self-control in traffic, how will I ever be strong enough to stand up against persecution? How can I keep my faith and fortitude when I face severe calamity when I have trouble stopping at a stop sign? How can I really encourage another brother or sister to persevere in trials when I can’t control my driving habits when I’m running 5 minutes late?
As I reflect on my sins behind the wheel, two things pop up in my mind:
1. Herd mentality. I’m in a rush because I see that others are in a rush. When I see someone zipping in and out of the lanes of the freeway to get ahead, it makes me think: “Hey, I’m important, too. I need to get somewhere, too.” And so I follow along. And I’m also probably influencing someone else nearby to join in the rush by my actions. Together, we create a culture of “hurry.” Sin breeds more sin.
2. Adding holiday tasks cause us to lose margin. The reason we are in a rush during the holidays is because we’ve added more things to do without taking anything “off” our plates. We end up having more things to do in the same amount of time. So I think I can make up for it by driving faster, fudging on the traffic laws, and being more aggressive on the road. By saving two minutes on a trip, I can accomplish one more small holiday task that I’ve crammed into my already too full life.
I think about what Jesus said to Mary, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:41-42).
So I’ve decided to go against the herd mentality and drive more leisurely. I’m going to play worship music and meaningful Christmas music in my car. I’m going to enjoy my driving and get there when I get there. I’m going to let people whiz by me and not get caught up in the “rush” game.
I’ve also decided to downsize my holiday “to-do” list. I might not put up the house lights. I’m not going to the mall to shop. I’m not sending out Christmas cards this year. There might be a few other things I might “not do.”
But I am going to be faithful to personally worship Christ each morning. I will spend time in Scripture. I will be present and engaged with people.
With God’s help, I’m trying not to be in a rush anymore, especially during this holy season.
How about you?
What steps can you do this holiday season to prevent being caught up in the “rush”?
How can you be more present to Christ and others?