The Red Zone

I am sitting here getting an estimate on the damage my little car incurred last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday was a long and stressful day. I woke up early to write then spent the rest of the morning on the new Student Ministries website. A bit after the noon hour, I wrangled the boys into my little blue car to head down to the church for the rest of the day. I swung by In & Out on the way to pick up a hamburger for Bobby and the drive thru line was looooonnnnnng. I pulled up behind a big gold Yukon SUV and prepared to wait. I didn’t have to wait long because about a minute after I pulled in, the guy in front of me decided the line was too long and pulled out. He slammed his gold Yukon in reverse and slammed into my little blue Toyota Yaris ☹. The boys were mildly freaked out, the front of my little car is scraped, jammed and generally looks abused. No one was hurt, information was exchanged, my car still drivable and I continued on with my busy day.

Around 5pm, I had to run and get dinner for the family before Worship practice began and didn’t want to take my sad little car so I took Bobby’s instead. I slipped into the 110 oven that it had become and it took my breath away. It has been HOT- Vegas hot. We have been reaching 108 degrees consistently for the last week and have forgot what it feels like. I rolled down the windows and pumped the air conditioning to full blast and drove on.

Feeling hot, tired and not admitting to being a bit shook up from the earlier fender bender, I left my phone in the car when I went into pick up pizza. When I came back out to the car this was the message displayed on my phone:

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Oh! My poor phone! It had hit the Red Zone. It was too hot and could not function correctly. I appreciated the message. It was better than seeing it flip out and not understand why. I turned on the car with the air conditioning on full blast and held my phone up to the vent. It took a couple of minutes but my phone cooled down and started working again. Yea!

As I was sitting in yet another drive thru line (Starbucks) a few moments later (because i needed an iced coffee!!!) and holding my phone to the vent, I thought about how great it would be to have a message come up on my forehead when I reach the Red Zone. You know the Red Zone- it is that moment when an intense rush of anger surges through your body, bypasses logic and causes your mouth to spew emotional vomit. You are an emotional volcano. The combination of exhaustion, stress and a crappy day begins the rumble. Then someone utters the words that cause the crack and sets it off. You are in the Red Zone. The old wounds, old fears, old misunderstandings and insecurities that have been “lying low” in your heart stirs, then builds pressure finally erupting in a hot show of scorching verbal lava hurting everyone it touches – starting with those closest to you. How great would it be for a message to flash on your forehead before you hit the Red Zone and verbally spew on those you love? It might look like this:

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Seeing that warning come up on my phone and imagining it on my forehead made me realize that I needed to cool down too. It would be easy to let the circumstances of the day escalate my emotions to the Red Zone but I just didn’t want to go there. I read that it takes 90 seconds for the initial physical reaction of anger to move through your body. Then it is over. You can continue to feel the emotion when you choose the thoughts that feed it. You can also choose to let it move thru you and then choose thoughts that will cool you down rather than heat you up. Maybe that is part of what 2 Corinthians 10:5 means: “and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

My phone cooled down and is working fine. I made it through the day without hitting my own Red Zone and I am functioning fine myself.

Things happen to us that we have no control of but we can choose how we react to them. We can, with God’s power, choose what we dwell on as well as choose what words come out of our mouths.

I hope you have a fantastic day and that there is no need for a Red Zone Warning to go in effect. If you do have one of “those” days, I hope this blog helps to remind to cool off before engaging your mouth and let the emotion of anger move thru you instead of causing an uncontrolled verbal eruption that will burn all those closest to you.

4 thoughts on “The Red Zone

  1. Marianne says:

    that was awesome! I had a wreck Friday, a 18 wheeler ran over the front of my little Scion xB! Changed lanes without looking! It was dreadful and I was shaking for 4 hours afterwards. My car isn’t driveable and I am sore and headache so bad! Pics are on my facebook page!

  2. dawnpringle says:

    In my group therapies, I talk to the patients about emotional volcano eruptions and how to “puncture the volcano at a lower level” so that nobody gets hurt with a full eruption. Those holes, aka positive coping skills, help everyone in the surrounding areas. This is a good post.

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