Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6am confused. “Why am I awake?” I wondered. “I didn’t hear my alarm.” I checked my clock. It definitely wasn’t my alarm that had woken me. I’d messed up and set it for PM, not AM. Argh! Nonetheless, I was supposed to be at work by 7am, so up out of bed I got to quickly ready myself for the day and drive off for work.

I didn’t even get a mile before I had to smash on my brakes. In the early morning light, I rounded a corner to see a deer lackadaisically trying to decide if it should cross the road or not. It decided that meandering out in smack in front of my car would be a fantastic decision! As I frantically tried to avoid hitting the brainless mammal looming larger and larger, I thought, “What part of, ‘My car is doing 35 – 40 mph and is a lot bigger than you!’ is not triggering  your survival/flight instincts, stupid deer?!?” Scared me good, that encounter did.

In fact, both of these situations triggered feelings of alarm and fright and uncertainty. “I’m going to be late!” “I’m going to hit the deer!” “What if I’m late?” “Do I have everything?” Augh!

And you know what my next emotional step was? I felt condemned. I felt ashamed. I felt worthless. If my inner emotional dialogue was put to words, it would sound something like this: “I should have double checked my alarm. That was stupid! It’s easy to set it for PM instead of AM. I’ve only had the clock for 20 years or so. I should know better. How dumb can I be? Maybe if I’d been more careful and woken up to my alarm, I’d have been paying more attention and not gotten so close to that deer. Stupid deer! It is going to make me late. I’m going to be late and get into trouble at work. What am I going to do if that happens? How…” and on, and on, and so it goes. Dumb, stupid, irresponsible, trouble – these are all lovely words of condemnation and shame, and that could have been my whole day. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed can do that to ya’!

Fortunately, I have a choice. There is no condemnation, right? I don’t have to capitulate to those nasty feelings and let them run and therefore ruin my day. The truth is that I woke up in time, through no fault of my own, to get to work by 7am, and I didn’t hit that deer. Yes, I had some failures in there, but what I also had was grace and provision. God met my need to get to work safely and on time through no effort of my own. How awesome is that?!?