Faith on the Frontstretch: Mind your own gearbox

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs  
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

You’ve probably heard the news that a couple of NASCAR drivers are ... well, a couple. The recent announcement that two drivers are dating set off a frenzy of speculation and gossip, including harsh comments on social media. When drivers announce a new affiliation, whether it’s a sponsor or team or even a romance, oftentimes the chatter gets ugly.

Emotions run high during races and that’s okay - it's an exciting sport. But sometimes all the off-track criticizing, nitpicking and judging get out of hand. Can we just give these drivers (and each other) a break and wish each other well? Maybe we could mind our own gearboxes.

Compare the gearbox in a stock car to our human will. A gearbox transmits energy and can change the car’s speed. In a similar way, our wills provide the oomph required to make changes in how we do things. By “minding our own gearboxes” we can focus on doing what’s right in our own lives.

Wouldn’t it be comical if a driver shouted across the track through his window net, criticizing how another driver was shifting his gears? Every driver has his gloves full handling his own steering and shifting. Likewise, for most of us, managing our own lives is plenty without the added responsibility of umpiring everyone else’s.

Judging others’ actions. Evaluating people’s motives. Critiquing others’ lives. Those are burdens we weren’t meant to carry.

What is our job in regards to other people? Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat 'em how you want to be treated. Chances are you don’t want to be convicted in the court of public opinion. Neither does your neighbor - or even your least favorite driver.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Each of us has only so much time and energy for each day. Is pronouncing judgment on other people’s words and deeds a good use of those God-given moments?

Judging others can make us feel rotten – irritated, unsettled and a bit ashamed of using so much effort on harsh thoughts and assumptions. But minding your own gearbox – taking positive steps to keep your own life running smoothly - that feels good, doesn’t it?

It seems like the more mistakes we’ve made, the easier it is to give others the benefit of the doubt. After making some bad decisions and losing a gear or two, we realize how easily it can happen. Then when the other guy misses a shift or ends up stalled on the apron, we understand how he feels.

Sometimes a person who empathizes with another’s misfortune utters the phrase, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” The origin of the quote is uncertain, but the meaning is clear: if it weren’t for God’s mercy, I could be in that same situation.

From time to time we all blow off steam and express gut level reactions to things we see or hear. But maybe we could make an effort to give people the benefit of the doubt more often. Judge less, love more. It could lower our own stress levels and create a kinder, gentler NASCAR nation.

(Jesus) said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone...”
~ John 8:7b

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 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. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

Faith on the Frontstretch: Mind your own gearbox Faith on the Frontstretch: Mind your own gearbox Reviewed by Beth Reinke on Wednesday, February 06, 2013 Rating: 5