So this morning on the way to work I’m driving through a school zone. On the other side of the school zone there’s this cop, and he’s not in his car but standing out by the street with his radar gun. The speed limit was 20 mph, and I looked down at my speedometer to see that I was going about 22 or 23 – slightly over the limit. All of a sudden my stomach drops down, I get this overwhelming feeling of nausea, and a small shock travels through my extremities. This particular reaction isn’t a bad thing, I don’t think – I was doing something wrong, and I was afraid I had been caught. Fortunately, the police officer didn’t have time to pull over a guy going 2 mph over the limit, even in a school zone (and I did let off the gas and cruise down to 20 mph!). But for the rest of the trip to work, I had a small headache, the shakes, and an overall weak feeling that always comes when I get a jolt to my sympathetic nervous system (the part of me that handles fear reactions and stress). This got me to thinking – I really hate this about myself. I hate that I fear getting in trouble so much that, when I think I have been caught doing something I shouldn’t (like speeding), I have such an outward, visceral response like this. Why can’t I just go on and either take the consequences of my actions, or go on and feel lucky that I didn’t get in trouble even if I should have?
The Bible tells us in many places that we should be humble. I know that it might seem like I am humble in that I don’t like getting in trouble, but because I know myself better than anyone else knows me, let me set the record straight – it’s not humility that drives this fear, it’s pride. The truth is, I don’t get in trouble a lot. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket before, because for the most part I obey the law. And I take pride in this! I think I subconsciously don’t want to hurt my own pride, so I have this weird reaction.
God, help me to lose this pride. Give me the strength to be humble, because humility takes much more strength than pride. And help me to gain confidence so that, even when I do get in trouble I realize that failure is not final. Especially not in your eyes.