Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Faith on the Frontstretch: Handling Disappointment When You Hit the Wall

Kyle Busch walks from the garage after his wreck at Dover on June 1, 2014.  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

When the green flag flew on Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Kyle Busch pulled ahead of pole sitter Brad Keselowski to lead the first lap. The No. 18 car appeared to be the class of the field, leading the first 81 laps, but ended up with the right front end demolished after a tap from Clint Bowyer sent it into the wall. The incident ended Busch’s day — along with his chances at a history-making run.

After winning both the truck and Nationwide races, Busch was aiming for a triple-win sweep. Was it a big deal? You bet! Busch is the only driver in NASCAR history to win a trifecta of the top three series, at Bristol in August 2010, so he was poised to make history once again.

The day of the race, June 1st, was also Busch’s wife Samantha’s birthday, so a win would have been extra special for the couple.

Imagine going from the excitement of having a dominant car — that could possibly sweep a three-race weekend on your wife’s birthday — to a hard slam into the SAFER barrier and a trip to the garage.

If you wrecked your car, would you feel warm and fuzzy toward the guy who caused your crash? Would you want to talk about it two minutes after it happened? Probably not.

Busch didn’t feel like talking either. He refused all interviews and hightailed it out of the garage straight to his motorhome. After a major disappointment, he retreated to the refuge and solace of home. Maybe he even talked it over with Samantha.

One could reason that Kyle Busch responded in an appropriate fashion by not speaking about the on-track incident with Clint Bowyer. Instead of spouting angry accusations like drivers sometimes do, he said nothing, thereby diffusing the situation.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” In this case, Busch’s giving no answer helped alleviate strife, finger-pointing and possible talk of a driver “feud.”

Someone else might argue that Busch should have done a quick, calm interview. Yep, that would have worked, too. But with emotions high and the adrenaline flowing, it sure would have been tough.

So ... what’s a good way to handle our own disappointments? Psalm 37:1-6 gives us a basic plan: Don’t fret, trust God.

First, run home and talk it over. Turn to God, your place of refuge, when you’re disappointed. Pour out your feelings to Him. There’s nothing you can say that will surprise Him. Instead of fretting, ask God to help you with your anger and frustration over your unmet expectations. Ask Him to help you move past the disappointment.

Then trust God. Remind yourself that He loves you and has a plan for your life. If a goal that you’ve been working toward is suddenly gone, pray for guidance about what you should do next.

Like an unexpected nudge that puts you into the outside wall, disappointment will come in your race of life. There’s no way to predict when or where it will strike. Thankfully, God will be there, ready to help you talk it over and move on.

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. ~ Psalm 61:4

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“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!

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 NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.

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