Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Picking the nits

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Do everything without complaining or arguing.—Philippians 2:14 (NIV)

Those of you who have a 15 – 20 minute commute to work or less don’t realize how good you have it. I drive 25 miles and 45 minutes one way. Hoosiers who call the 465 loop their home away from home for an hour or two a day know what I’m talking about.

I don’t enjoy my commute, and I wish it were shorter. Thankfully, I have dozens of podcasts of Christian teaching loaded up for the drive to work, and I usually bore my wife to death on the drive home by yapping away at her on the phone.

I considered today that I have a job that is almost antithetical to being a Christian. I work in Quality Assurance, and my job is basically to find fault with the work of others and to think critically about those faults. While it is important in our business to do these things, I often find this behavior spilling over into my home life. By the time I get home from work, I’ve spent all day finding everyone else’s faults that I’m ready to do the same thing to my wife and kids.

I discovered that the only way to keep myself from doing that was to intentionally use my drive home as a decompression chamber. After all, if I have to drive for 45 minutes, I might as well do something good with it. First and foremost, I use some of that time to pray and ask God to help me not to behave that way when I get home, and then, depending on my mood, I ask God to help put me in the right frame of mind as well. When I was depressed how the day went, I would ask Him for the joy I knew I didn’t have. When I was angry about the day, I asked Him for the peace I knew I didn’t have. When I was just flat-out tired, I asked for the energy I couldn’t produce.

Then, the most amazing things happened: God listened, and my mind was changed. I felt joyful when I had none. I felt peaceful when I wanted to fight. I received strength when I was weak. I can’t explain it except that it came from God.

Do you have a long commute too? Do you happen to find yourself using similar techniques to ask God to change your outlook? I would like to know if anyone out there has experienced something similar. Instead of resenting my drive home from work, I look at it now as a useful buffer zone to make sure the day gets left at the office where it belongs.

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