Drive-Thru Christian

DriveThruChristian

I got into a fight with a woman in a fast food drive-thru lane.

Not a fist fight, but a yelling match where she got out of the car and furiously pointed fingers and cussed at me. I took the bait and yelled back, and with my hand still on the steering wheel, displayed a finger gesture of my own.

Even worse than that? I had just come from teaching a bible lesson at Vacation Bible School.

Even worse than that? I was wearing a VBS shirt and a cheery button on my volunteer lanyard that said “Love others the way you want to be loved.”

Even worse than that? I had my two young kids in the car with me.

After it was all over, I reluctantly looked at myself in the rear view mirror. I realized that I was exactly the reason the words “hypocrite” and “Christian” are used together so often in the same sentence.

It took exactly 1.5 minutes for me to forget everything I had just taught the precious children in church, and engage in crazy with a stranger.

She thought I wasn’t moving fast enough and I was offended at her rude gestures. So stupid in hindsight. But in the heat of the moment, so hard to rise above. The scrappy fighter in me just couldn’t be had.

Why is that? When did the world get so furious? Why is everyone chomping at the bit to feel victimized and outraged over the smallest of things?

Self-control is a big issue for me, and I’ve come a long way. But at the drop of a hat I forgot all of it. How could I go from being on a bible-lesson-high straight to being a part of the problem before I even got home?

Thank goodness my kids were mostly oblivious. My 2 year old didn’t register what happened, and my 7 year old casually asked what was wrong with “the sassy talker” before being fully-focused on the toy in his fast food sack.

But I couldn’t just let it slide, because they had to have known I wasn’t acting like I normally would.

On the way home, I talked about how sometimes people have bad days and little things can really upset them. Myself included.

I said I did not handle the situation well and that I wish I had done a lot better. Mom makes big mistakes too and asks God for help all the time.

And I said if I ever saw the lady again, I would say I’m sorry. Even if she didn’t want to accept my apology, I would offer it. And she would at least remember I offered it.

If I earn any bonus points for making mistakes in front of them and acknowledging it, then what a score, huh?

I shamefully avoided the “sassy talker” part of town for a while. My health thanked me, but I really regretted the way I behaved. It could have all been avoided if I would have just given grace. I feel like no one really does that anymore, and we’re all just waiting to engage.

I wonder how she feels about what happened. Does she also wish she could change her actions? Afterwards, did she let it ruin her day and take it out on someone else? What if I was the last straw in her day? Or what if that’s the norm for her?

I’ll never know. I carefully drove away from her because if she would have had a gun, I’d probably be dead right now.

I could have easily not told this story because it is embarrassing to me. I absolutely love my church and my God and I am proud to be a Christian.

But I’m also flawed, and I’m willing to humble myself. I hope that this may help you stop and think about how you may react to a similar situation when you are faced with one. Not if, when.

If you don’t like hypocrites in church then I have good news, and I have bad news.

The bad news is that there will always be flawed people in church that do not walk the perfect Christian life. Some of us sing the songs in church with all of our hearts and really mean them and have a really moving experience in worship. And then some of us leave church and then get into fights with random strangers in the drive-thru.

I don’t want to be a “drive-thru Christian.” I don’t want to pick and choose to be nice and encouraging when it’s convenient for me inside the church walls, and then declare that it’s game-on as soon as I step outside.

The good news is that Jesus will accept anyone. Even me. Even you. There is hope for us yet.

I don’t believe the illusions of perfection serve anyone, and I hope that by sharing, you will feel more validated in the mistakes you might make.

It doesn’t excuse or justify us making them, but when we see each other as imperfect human beings, we begin to really get somewhere in fellowship. And I think fellowship is what will change the world.

Sometimes the best words in the world are “me too.”

Go and be well, my friends. Christmas shopping season is here. And you may be hitting the drive thru on the way home.

Ask God for help. XOXO.

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2 thoughts on “Drive-Thru Christian

  1. Thank you Audra for posting this! I just did something similar and am really regretting it. I should have known better, but my teenage son and I were out Christmas shopping on the weekend and he was stressing me out the whole time! We were heading home and I was discussing with him about his attitude while we are out doing things like this and how you can control your attitude if you try – in the very next moment I totally became a hypocrite because a motorcycle pulled up beside us between us and the car next to us at the stoplight just as we were taking off and revved his motercycle so loud that it scared me half to death and then he took off. Well it was like the last straw had broke in my day and I was just yelling at him, of course he couldn’t hear me, but I just became so angry at him. A few blocks away I see him get into the left turn lane and he has to wait to turn until it’s clear, so this is where I get really stupid and decide I’m going to make him see what it feels like to be scared, so I blew by him and lay on my horn as I pass by. So he gets mad and decides to get back on the road and follow us. I stopped at the next light and he pulls up between my car and the car next to me, but didn’t do anything until the light changed. But can you believe I’m still really angry and I’m still yelling at him and my son was getting scared, but I didn’t care because i was still angry. He then pulled in front of me and slowed down so we had to go about 20 miles per hour and then he started to speed up and pull away while flashing me the finger. A few blocks away he got in the turn lane and had to wait again for cars to go by to turn which I was able to go buy him before he turned. As I passed by him I turned and just waved at him with a sarcastic smile on my face. After I drove a few more blocks, it suddenly hit me what had happened and what I had just done! My son was sitting quietly not saying anything and still quite shook up. I then realized another thing – I knew there was a rider on the back of the bike that just kept looking and not doing or saying anything and then I realized that the rider was also just a kid about 8 or 9 years old. I realized in my anger I couldn’t see anything but the driver being in the wrong. I too am a Christian and have been all my life, but in that moment I completely lost it! I apologised to my son right away and told him I was in the wrong and even if someone else does something that you think wronged you in some way, that you should not seek out revenge on them in any way or engage with them. I realized that I put my son and myself in real danger, not to mention the child on the bike, even though the dad engaged back, I would have felt responsible if something had happened to another’s child too! And it could have been a lot worse – he could have had a gun or jumped out and confronted me in my car or followed me home and put more of my family in danger. The other thing I realize is as a Christ follower I should not let things like that get to me. I think that if I was engaging more in my spiritual growth and try to be more aware of what my actions should be when I’m living everyday life, that I may be more aware when these things happen and not fly into a frenzy of anger. So what I also tell my son is that now I have to live with the consequences of what happened, which is the haunting of what could of happened and regret of what I did and also the fact that someday I may run into this guy again and it could be a bad situation, even if I’m sorry and tell him so – we don’t know what his actions would be. So I’m praying about it and making a vow to let things go, even if I feel I’m in the right – it’s not worth what it could cost me! Besides that is not the kind of person I want to be. I also really feel I wasn’t in the right to seek out revenge! So thank you for your post and letting me know I’m not the only Christian mom to lose it!

    • Thank you so much for your honesty Katie! It’s hard to not get crazy in a crazy world these days. Oh, if we could only go back for do-overs 🙂 thank you for reading.

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