Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Next Time

     The sign said 65.

     My speedometer hovered around 79 mph.  

     You must be waiting for me to explain the emergency that justified the speed. Was I on the way to the hospital with a bleeding passenger? Did I get a frantic phone call from one of my kids?

     An hour earlier, I was standing in my bathroom about to step into the shower when I decided to make a phone call first. I dialed my chiropractor's office. My hips have a tendency to become lopsided (much like my thinking) and they were shifting. I live about 30 minutes from the man who shoves my bones into place. The receptionist said, "If you can get here no later than 9:40 he'll see you. He's got to leave early today." The bathroom clock said 8:55. 

     After a six minute shower, I hurriedly dressed and grabbed the keys. Backing out of the driveway at 9:19, I knew speeding would have to be in order. So, I made a decision. Regardless of the signs, I would do what I had to do to make it on time. Once on the expressway, I made good on that. 

     The whole time I was pressing the pedal to the metal, an uneasiness kept entering my mind. Normally, I'm pretty obedient when it comes to driving laws. Five miles over the limit is about as daring as I get. I give myself time to get to my destination and let all those crazy drivers pass me by. But, today was a different story. I could make it if I just kept speeding. I have to admit, the thrill of pulling into the lot with seconds to spare was appealing. But then, that "voice" inside my head interrupted my racing adventure. 

     "What kind of example are you? Breaking the law." 

     I argued, "But, I never do this. This is an exception. It's important."

     "Oh really? A chiropractor's appointment? Really?"

     "Ok. Ok. I promise I won't speed — after this. Next time." 

     Then, I quickly envisioned a funeral service with my friends whispering, "You know she died hurrying to a chiropractor's appointment. Speeding was so unlike her. I can't believe it. So senseless."

     I'd love to say that my foot let up and the speedometer needle dropped. It didn't. But, I did listen to the voice and also linked a life lesson about faith. Maybe I need to focus on that even more. 

     So often I tend to rush ahead doing what I know isn't the best choice for me. Before I begin, I might know it's a bad idea. While I'm in the midst of it, I'm being tugged by the "voice." As a Christian, I know that's the Holy Spirit who tries to guide me. Guide, not force me. Sadly, I admit to often bartering with God. I'll move ahead promising to do the right think next time. How many "next time promises" have I made? Are they becoming routine? 

       Next time, I'll 
            give more money without being selfish.
               eat the right foods.
               keep my mouth shut instead of gossiping.
               offer to help instead of hoarding my time.
               be the first to apologize.
               spend time with God instead of _______.
               obey the rules.

     Funny, isn't it, how God can hound you with a lesson you need to learn. So like a loving parent. The day following my race car driving, this verse blindsided me. 

      "But I know you won't listen. You might as well answer, “We don't care what you say. We have made plans to sin, and we are going to be stubborn and do as we please!”"                (Jeremiah 18:12 CEV)

     Oh, I made it to the appointment at exactly 9:40. The chiropractor saw me after he played computer solitaire until 9:50.