I glared down the street ahead of me looking for that guy who had cut me off. He had the audacity to wave at me with a silly grin on his face. So, now I was on the hunt.
I had been drinking some – and I was driving. Not a good combination for most people, but I was upset. And with my superior driving skills, a little, well more than a little alcohol, did not make that much difference. And I had my favorite weapon with me. I was licensed and I knew how to use it.
There he was in the other lane about a half a block ahead of me. I pulled a little closer and got readied myself. His car was closer and closer. Now I had him right in the my sights and HONNNNNNNK. I got him!
Seems kind of silly now, but really more sad. My emotional baseline during my drinking days was a conspiracy based, self-centered mistrust of the world around me. In my mind, others were out to take advantage of me. Others always enjoyed more breaks than I did. And the route I wanted to drive was only meant for me. To make it worse, I rationalized drinking and driving was acceptable.
So, while driving, I would use the horn on my car as a warning – as a “weapon” to let the world that they were inconsiderate, purposely trying to hold me up and if they did not realize it I would BEEP them back into line. My driving reflected what I felt inside; a resentment for the world and towards the life I was living. I knew my drinking was both running and ruining my life and the lives of those I loved. Praise God that he stopped the drinking.
However, taking away the drinking did not completely fix my “world-view” issues. In my case, the drinking amplified my negatives. Without the drinking, the same attitudes and emotions were still there; a little muted but still an influence in how I lived my life. I needed to change that part of me if I ever hoped to achieve any sort of lasting recovery.
Okay, this is starting to feel like a tenth step. I understand this to mean that I continue to take a personal inventory and when I am wrong to promptly admit it. The problem gets to be when I find myself admitting the same shortcomings, actually sins, over and over again. I need to identify my sinful behaviors on a regular basis. But if that is where it ends, nothing will change.
In Proverbs 28:13 I read “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” So there comes another piece to prevent my inventory from simply being a rerun of the day before. Whatever I find that falls short of God’s will for me needs to be renounced or rejected as a part of my life.
What makes this so difficult is my negative behaviors, again actually sins (see how I avoid that word) are habits in my life. The unkind words, the judgements, the beeping, and many more are reactions rather than choices. I find that the unthinking choices I make are the most difficult to change because they are so much a part of me. I convince myself it is not possible to change because this is just me. And there is so much to change.
Again, my God who loves me so much that he sent his Son to die for all my sins to guarantee me eternity, gives me the answer. The final piece of the puzzle to give me a chance to change my repeating inventory: “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.'” Luke 18:27.
I do not have the motivation or the ability to change entrenched habits on my own. But God has the love for me and supplies me with the power to change. When I fall short and begin to watch another rerun of my sinful behaviors, he forgives me and urges me to continue the fight. What a wonderful God!
I will continue in my daily mission to identify the behaviors and sins that separate me from the will of God. These can be not only a barrier to continue my recovery, but more importantly, keep me from a closer walk with my Savior.
Oh, and the “weapon” I used while drinking? I must admit I am still, at times, tempted to blast away with my car horn at someone. But my attitude is different so now when I use the horn it is more like:
Hope to see you back here. I will wait you.