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Just before Christmas, my whole family piled into our kid-moving vehicle and rushed to the nearest mall to grab some last minute Christmas presents before dashing to a holiday party. As usual, we were running late and were slightly on edge. Entering the mall parking lot, I was overwhelmed by the traffic…Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an old pickup truck near the mall entrance, leaving its space. God is so good. I punched the accelerator and sped toward my answered prayer, hoping to gain a few precious extra seconds.

I immediately staked my spot with eye-lock. (Eye-lock is the ancient practice of claiming a spot by looking directly at it. As long as you don’t look away, the spot is yours.) Relieved that I might actually avoid the tedium of trolling up and down each aisle, I kept my eyes deadlocked on the spot and prepared for entry. Out of nowhere, a red sports car whipped in front of me—breaking my honorable eye-lock—and stole my parking space. Unbelievable. Frustrated beyond words, with the pressure mounting because of our tight schedule, I did something that I’m not proud of doing… 

I backed up my vehicle, pointed it directly at the red sports car, shifted to neutral, then revved my engine…Like a drag racer leaving the gate, I popped from neutral to drive, peeled out, and shot straight toward the rear of the enemy car. It’s hard to know what happened next. Maybe it was my wife threatening me. Perhaps God answered my kids’ prayers. Maybe I realized that I was still in our minivan and not in a NASCAR race. Whatever the reason, right before impact, I slammed on the brakes and stopped just short of his car. With all the Christian love I had, I rolled down the window and shouted at the top of my lungs, “What do you think you’re doing? 

You know I had eye-lock, you idiot! Now you’re going to make me really late, you red-sports-car-driving loser!” After rejoining the other ants, we searched for another twenty minutes and finally found a parking spot somewhere near the state line…We dashed from store to store, breathing heavy in our rush. As we entered JC Penney, who should approach us but my old friend — the driver of the red car. Just great. Images of my picture with the headline “Local Pastor Assaults Man over Parking Space” flashed through my mind. “I can tell you’re in a big hurry,” he said, as my blood pressure continued to rise. “But it appears you have more going on in your life than you can handle.” My wife gave me the remember-you’re-a-pastor-and-better-behave look as the driver continued. “I’d like to tell you about someone who could really help — Jesus. I really believe you need him, and he could change your life.

Ouch.

Craig Groeschel, WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working , Zondervan Publishing

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