August 26, 2014
Lessons Learned from a Road Hog
A cheerful heart has a continual feast(Proverbs 15:15, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I have little patience with road hogs and seem to find ample opportunities for expressing my less-than-favorable opinion of the way they drive. It’s not pretty, but it’s real.
We once lived in a small but rapidly growing town just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Because the town had outgrown its roads, the traffic out of the city into the community where we lived was a nightmare.
At one particular spot on the main road into our community, a double lane narrowed to a single lane. The change was clearly marked by several strategically placed signs along the road, and everyone who lived in that community knew that the lanes merged. Most people pulled into the single left lane long before the road narrowed, knowing that the right lane would soon merge with the left lane.
Not sandpaper people. They spotted the merging lane signs and considered them an open invitation to speed ahead in order to worm their way into the long line of waiting cars.
I considered it my personal responsibility to educate these road hogs in the ways of traffic courtesy according to Mary, by refusing to let them in “my” line. I never made eye contact with these sandpaper drivers, inching as close as possible to the car in front of me, determined to hold my ground. The day finally came when I met my match.
I saw him coming, but stood firm in my resolve to enforce my “don’t let ‘em in no matter what” rule. He tried unsuccessfully to pull in front of me several times. I ignored him. He honked. I feigned deafness. Finally, in one last-ditch effort to merge before his lane disappeared, the man rolled down his window and yelled, “Look!” I couldn’t help myself. He was holding up a napkin that read, “Pleeeeeeease!” I burst out laughing and motioned for him to pull in front of me. He applauded and danced a seated jig in celebration of his hard earned place in line.
Life is like that - sandpaper people trying to capture your attention, ignoring the signs, breaking the rules while barging into your life. A sense of humor helps us navigate the waters of difficult relationships without drowning.
The secret of a joy-filled life and joy-filled relationships is to count on God’s strength instead of our own. Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Joy comes from a continual reliance upon God to hammer down the relationship-mountains before us, making the path straight and pointed in the right direction.
Paul said it well. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV). It could easily read, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every “relationship” by depending upon the power of God’s love to work in and through me.
I can “love anyone through Him who gives me strength.” That truth is the basis for joy, and joy is the soil from which patience grows. As we learn to laugh more and cultivate our God-given sense of humor, patience and the ability to deal with the difficult relationships in life will flourish.
Lord, please fill my heart with Your love for the sandpaper people in my life. Please let me see them as You see them. Use them, Father, to refine me to the place that I am the woman You created me to be. I choose to thank You for the difficult relationships in my life, knowing that through these abrasive people, Your work is accomplished in me.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
· Write down the name of a sandpaper person in your life and list five reasons you consider that person abrasive.
· Pray for that sandpaper person.
· Thank God for bringing that difficult person into your life. What do you believe God wants to accomplish through this sandpaper person? Are you willing to trust Him enough to praise Him for that person?
More from the Girlfriends
Loving the unlovable is impossible – outside of God’s power and strength. Pray that God will give you His eyes to see the hurting and wounded He brings your way. Mary’s book, Sandpaper People, is the story of how God taught her to deal with difficult people. Check it out…along with her CD, Love that Never Fails.
Girlfriends in God
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Originally published Tuesday, 26 August 2014.