|How many sponsor names can you see in this picture?|
Credit: Beth Bence Reinke
A NASCAR driver’s life is not entirely his (or her) own. Why? Because everything a driver does, says, or tweets reflects on his family, race team and sponsors. When a driver’s words or actions go against team policy or sponsors’ mission statements, sparks can fly.
Racing fans witnessed many driver blunders in recent months. You know the stories. One driver wrecking another on purpose. A careless tweet. Face-to-face rudeness. A tirade over the in-car radio. Criticism of the sport or the sanctioning body or other personnel.
Part of a NASCAR driver’s life is being on the public stage, during both happy times and hard times. Each driver represents not only himself, but an assembly of folks who love him, support him or sign his paycheck. Sponsors appreciate it when drivers represent them well.
Whether we drive a racecar or not, we ALL represent someone: our families, our employers, the schools we attend or the charities where we volunteer. And those of us who are believers also represent our greatest sponsor - God.
Although we’re not zooming through corners at adrenaline-charged speeds, we still have stress in our lives and situations that irritate us. But unlike the drivers, when we have a meltdown, it usually doesn’t make the evening news – thank goodness!
Even though our worst moments aren't broadcasted to the general public, most of us still try to behave in a decent manner. How can we cope with the “race of life” without blowing a gasket? How can we represent our sponsors well?
Scripture says one way to avoid flipping out when we’re frustrated is to humble ourselves. Being humble can help us deal with an exasperating state of affairs.
Think about the last time you saw a NASCAR driver handle a tough situation in a good way. Another driver may have wrecked him or bumped him on pit road or maybe his crew messed up and cost him a win - and yet he handled a post-race interview with class. Chances are that driver spoke with humility.
To understand how not to act, let’s look at it from the opposite direction first. Pride is the opposite of humility. When we drive through life with a prideful attitude, we think we deserve whatever we want, and if we don’t get it, we have a tantrum. So pride leads to sulking or lashing out when things don’t go our way.
In contrast, humility comes from submitting our wills to God and keeping our minds focused on Him.
It’s like a driver thinking, “Man, I really wanted to win that race, Lord, but I’m going to be satisfied with this third place finish and accept it with thankfulness.”
That kind of down-to-earth attitude earns the respect of fans and sponsors alike. In fact, sometimes when we say a driver is a “class act,” it’s because he is humble in a post-race interview, even though the race didn't go his way.
We can have that kind of attitude, too. It’s not easy, and we need God’s help to keep our eyes focused on Him and on others, instead of ourselves.
To truly represent a sponsor well, it means putting their reputation before our own immediate feelings. It means behaving well for them, whether we feel like it or not.
So ... how well are you representing your sponsors lately?
God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. ~ James 4:6b, 10
Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 or more to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.
“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth also writes “Gibbs Garage,” Sprint Cup race recaps for Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!