The Safe Range

I had an interesting experience yesterday that has impacted me more than I had expected, and as a result I feel led to share it with you.  Yes, you, the 4 random people that will actually read this. 😉

For some reason unknown to me at the time, my alarm clock didn’t go off yesterday morning.  Looking back now, I’m fairly certain that it was a God thing.  I woke up at exactly 7:20, the time I was supposed to be leaving for church, so I could be there in time for choir practice before the service.  I jumped out of bed and scrambled to get ready in 15 minutes, then sped off towards Bartlesville.  Not quite halfway there, I went barreling past a state trooper, who of course proceeded to pull me over.  

Let me stop and confess right here that this is not the first time I’ve exceeded the legal speed limit.  In fact, I routinely set the cruise control for about 6 mph over the posted limit. Fast enough to make me feel like I’m shaving time off my trip, but within what I deemed a safe range – one in which a cop wouldn’t bother to pull me over.  When I passed the trooper yesterday, I knew that the 78 I was doing in a 70 mph zone was outside of that safe range.

As I fumbled through my wallet for my license and insurance card, Trooper Ford asked me where I was headed. As the word scratched out of my throat, I was filled with shame. “Church.  I know it’s terrible to speed on the way to church.”  He asked me where I attended church, I told him, and then he went to run my license. When he returned, he gave me a warning, urging me to slow down and to be cognizant of the fog (did I forget to mention the thick fog?).

As I drove the rest of the way to church, I found myself thinking about the trooper’s asking me which church I attended.  Having told him, I wondered what he was thinking.  I imagined that he might think FWC is a church to avoid – filled with hypocritical lawbreakers.  Or perhaps he might think that FWC would be a great church to attend – one in which there is little emphasis placed on personal responsibility.  I knew that neither message was one I wanted to send.  I felt tremendous guilt at the thought that my choice to speed affected any potential witness I could have had.

Pastor Joe’s sermon touched on the very subject at heart; as Christians, we are called to live in a different way.  Religion shouldn’t be just a small part of my life, relegated to Sundays and Wednesdays.  My faith should be a way of life, remarkably different from that of non-Christians.  It should be evident from the way I live my life that there is something different about me.

As of Sunday, I have committed to not speed anymore, and I am grateful for such a significant reminder. Each time I drive my car, I remember that everything I say and do will bear witness to something.  What will that be?  I don’t want to live my life inside some imaginary safety range where I am just good enough not to draw too much attention to myself, yet able to get by with doing whatever feels good or is convenient to me.  I want to radiate Christ’s love, and I can only do that by living a life totally and completely committed to him, in every minute detail of my life.

No more safety for me.  It’s reckless abandon from here on out.