I looked to the right, then to the left, and back to the right a second time, then, as I looked, I started to crawl forward. Just as quickly, I slammed on my brakes, my heart rate increasing slightly.
The other driver gave me the look and… oh dear! Was that the birdie? I mumbled an apology out loud, knowing good and well he couldn’t hear me. Still, it seemed appropriate, having nearly caused an accident… again.
My Mazda 3–the cute little car that won my heart with a ‘hug’ when I sat in it for the very first time almost seven years ago–has a blind-spot that has almost cost me more than once. No other vehicle, that I have ever owned or driven, has a blind spot quite as bad.
But blind-spots can be overcome. I learned as child, when my father crashed our station wagon, the importance of that second look to the right. And that second look is the only thing that has spared me crashing in those situations. Only once, that I recall, have I missed it with that second look, and pulled out only to meet the other vehicle in the middle of the road. From that time on, I started taking a bit more time with that second look, pausing an extra second or two. And that is all it takes.
In life, in ministry, in the ‘day to day’, we have blind-spots too. I have them. And you have them. Those character flaws, personality quirks, and habits that drive people crazy, risk relationships, and wound people around us. And, most of the time, we don’t see it coming until we crash, or almost crash.
Lately, it seems, I come face to face with these realities in my personal life more often than I wish. Events happen that expose my blind-spots. Relationship struggles. Reactions to things people do, things that catch me off guard, and bring to the surface feelings and the temptation to respond in ways that are not healthy.
I might, in fact, most likely I will, push down those reactions, and count to ten… or a thousand, depending on the situation. And I’m glad for that. Self control is not a bad thing. But when it’s over, I am left to look at the black spots on my heart, and see my humanity in all its sinful realities.
And in that ‘assessing’ of things afterwards, I see, too frequently, that I said or did something to create the struggles in the relationship. An oversight. Some neglect. A selfish moment. A thoughtless word, or poorly articulated thoughts, and countless other things I do, but miss, until I ‘crash’, or almost crash.
And when it gets up close and personal, like that, and I discover that it was my blind-spots that created the mess in the first place, I struggle. I struggle because I want to help people, and never hurt them, or make them struggle. I want to be better than that for there sake. But also for my sake. Even for my pride, if I’m honest. And that is probably one reason God lets me be this human.
What I’m learning with my blind-spots, is to acknowledge them, one at a time, and not be overwhelmed by them. To say, “I am human”, but never use that as an excuse. To choose to grow. To take ownership. And, never, never quit.
Blind-spots, they kill you. They kill you in so many ways, if you don’t take that second look, and pause with that extra second, to assess what is happening. They kill you by making you hate yourself, or feel defeated. They kill you by making you retreat into a shell, where you can’t hurt anyone, and no one can hurt you. They kill you by making you hang up your keys, and taking no risks.
Don’t let your blind-spots kill you. That’s exactly what the enemy wants you to do. To give up. To surrender. To believe that God is done with you, and you have no purpose.
But God has a better plan. When you choose to grow, to learn, and to release the outcome, God will use those blind-spots to teach you. But He won’t stop there. He will teach the other person too.
That ‘near run-in’ may be the very thing that shakes the other person to reality, and makes them pay attention. It might be the thing God uses to teach them, so they don’t go through a greater tragedy in another relationship.
Release the outcomes of your failures, your blind-spots, to God and let Him use you broken and imperfect. His name is Redeemer for a reason. Because we need Him to redeem. Redeem us. Redeem our mistakes. And redeem the impact of our blind-spots on ourselves, and on others.
I’ve made my decision. I will keep going, serving God, and try my best to do it well. When I fail, and I will fail, then I will hold my life in an open hand, including those failures, so God can redeem the outcome.
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