For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

~ 2 Timothy 1:7

It has now been one year since August 13th, 2010, the day I flipped the car into a steep ditch going 55 mph, my dad went to the hospital, and we ended up returning home with minimal injuries. (See story and pictures here). I had a couple bruises, my dad got a small concussion and was sore for several months. Considering what had happened and how the car looked in the end – we were blessed. It truly is a miracle that both of us are alive today. How all of the small things happened – when my dad touched the wheel, where we landed, what season it was, etc – all of these point to God’s protection over the incident.

It was a big event in my life, so I guess it’s not that surprising that it’s still on my mind. A lot. But more and more I’m realizing that it’s not on my mind in a good way. If I just stand on the side of the road and watch traffic roll by, I watch every car as they merge and slow and turn. I get stressed because for some reason, it’s like I feel that if I concentrate and watch, it helps somehow… Same thing with riding in a car – I obsessively watch the driver and what they’re doing and if they’re paying attention to the road, and will “back seat drive” – just telling them when a light’s green… or turning to check when they’re merging even though they’re checking themselves… It doesn’t matter if the driver is paying attention and all, I still get needlessly stressed. Some people live vicariously? I guess you could say I drive vicariously.  But not in a good way.

That’s one side of my bad… “habits”… since the car crash. The other side is my guilt.

There’s no getting around it – we crashed because of me. It was my fault. I was surprised after the accident, because my dad and even my mom, who wasn’t anywhere near at the time, were naming things they shouldn’t have or could have done so that the accident could have been avoided. I couldn’t believe it – it’s like when parents get divorced and the child blames himself – there’s no logical reason behind it. The car crash was my own, stupid fault.

This has haunted me… well, for a year now. Any little mistake I make when driving, the small things that everyone does – forgetting to put on your blinker one time or so – add up in my mind. Like marks against me, evidence of how I’m a terrible driver and thus a failure of a person, inadequate. I enjoy driving, but my memories of the accident combine with my overactive imagination, and make any time in or near cars dreadful. My friends will joke around while they’re driving, and all I can think is, “One glance away from the road and…”

It’s true that driving is dangerous. It’s super dangerous – I’m amazed that there aren’t more accidents every day. But I’ve allowed what should have been a healthy fear to grow into a paralyzing fear, and it’s time for that to stop.

They say the first step to healing is awareness of the problem, and lately I’ve been becoming more aware of my problem everyday. I think I’ve always known I’ve been laying too much guilt and thus paranoia on myself, but I didn’t want to stop beating myself up… after all, I’ve got plenty of reason to berate myself. But I think through my self-torment, I’m choosing to walk on Satan’s path and listen to his lies, and withholding deserved glory from God. I’m choosing to chain myself and live in fear, and to focus on my own guilt instead of what God did for me that day a year ago now.

He saved the lives of me and my father – and of the people in the oncoming car! If my mistake had caused my father or others permanent damage or death – as it very easily could have – I don’t know… how I could keep living and stay sane. How can any human being live with that??? I couldn’t. Yet by God’s power and goodness, none of the terrible things that could have come about that day, did. I went back to work the next day. Instead of life halting abruptly from the creation of a gaping hole, caused by one or two lives ended, or bodies changed irrevocably, we all came home safely and life went on. What a miracle!

And to echo the words of one of my friends, God has already forgiven me – who am I to think my opinion is above God’s?

It’s been a long time coming, but through God’s guidance I’m realizing that there needs to be healing in this area of my life. It’s time for this wound to stop festering and heal. It’s time for me to take my eyes off of my sorry self (to end the pity party!), to turn to God and thus find freedom and the lifting of my soul.

I choose for August 13th, 2010, to be a story of God’s goodness, and not a story of my failure. Instead of focusing on my guilt, I want to focus on God’s proven protection and love. I’m thankful that He continues to bring good things out of that terrible time, and to teach me lessons through what happened.

I tell these things not to bring attention to myself, but to bring encouragement to you and glory to God. May you choose to focus on the right things, and find freedom in doing so. 🙂