Waves of guilt washed over me as I witnessed our shopping cart careening toward a shiny new black Jeep parked three spaces, downhill, no less, in the parking lot at Walmart this morning, man-boy not quick enough to stop it before it plowed into the side door. I can still feel the surge of emotions now as I replay that scene over in my head: metal on metal as I sat there helpless, deep inside just hoping the owner wasn't around (humility in truth is what sets us free). It was not to be. Right as the cart hit, he walked out from behind his vehicle.
Hot flashes! Sweat began to bead on my forehead.
So many irrational thoughts, emotions flooded my being. But what came out was, "I am SO sorry. It got away before we saw it or could catch it."
But the thing that I struggled with the most was what I said next.
When he asked if I had insurance, I babbled that I wasn't in my car and told him that it wasn't our fault! That he should talk to Walmart! Even as those words left my lips, I knew that was the wrong answer. What was I thinking? This WAS our fault, but my 'default' was to find a way out, blame somebody else.
Did I actually say those words?
It's a precious gift to be able to look at a situation from a different perspective and hearing those words come from my lips gave me a chance to observe what I really believe. Or maybe not.
More hot flashes and shaking...
He called the police, I immediately called my husband! He encouraged me to calm down and call the insurance company, which I did and after sitting there a few more minutes giving the agent information, the man brought me back my driver's license and insurance card!
Felt almost like I'd been cuffed and fingerprinted.
Well, it turns out that the claim will be made on our renter's insurance! And there's a very good chance our policy rates will not go up. I do hope not.
This gift exposed in me what was really going on:
Fear of being rejected, screamed at by a stranger whose car we had unintentionally damaged.
Fear that my Love would be upset with me...He wasn't!
Fear that my father would be angry that, because I used his car, he somehow would be involved and have to pay this man...strange how irrational fear can be.
Basically, fear that I was in trouble. The little girl inside was caught and scared.
One never knows what 'writing in the sand' will spark a lesson, teach us about ourselves and about God.
He reminded me as I hit my pillow this afternoon that He wasn't angry at me. I was disappointed in myself for uttering those terribly immature words, 'It's not our fault; take it up with Walmart!' What if this man was a believer? He was from Tulsa, Oklahoma! Isn't everyone in Tulsa a born-again, Spirit-filled believer???
How I wish I could have told him I was sorry I didn't take responsibility initially...
Yes, those words did come out of me. They revealed fear that needs to be expelled by His love from the places where I'm most vulnerable.
"And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." 1 John 4: 17-18
Today's lesson: each event, little or big, is an opportunity to be grateful for the moment. Learn from the mistakes, failures, mishaps and rejoice that my Heavenly Father is perfecting me in His love.