I would like to consider myself a good driver. I usually stay very aware of my surroundings and obey traffic laws and speed limits. I can attribute most of my good driving skills to my father, who gets paid to drive.
When I was learning to drive, he was incredibly hard on me, or at least I felt so. I was intimidated to drive with him in the car, and still am! When I got my license and started driving on my own, he would always tell me, “Drive safe!”, when I’d leave the house. At some point – I am not quite sure when – I began responding with, “Dad, you know I always do!” To which he would respond, “Well, then watch out for unsafe drivers!” So that became his new phrase to tell me every time I got behind the wheel.
Watch out for unsafe drivers.
I do. And for those of you who space out while you drive, let me tell you, it’s a scary world out there! This week, I have been even more keenly aware of other drivers due to the fact that my brake lights are currently “out of order”. Very dangerous. (Not to worry, though, they will be fixed very soon!)
I find that good drivers like myself are sadly the minority. I find it extremely disturbing that people with the little fish and Jesus bumper stickers are some of the worst drivers of them all. Sure, they don’t usually have road rage and give the finger to anyone who gets in their way, but they have little to no regard for something called the “speed limit”. The speed limit is just that – the limit for how fast you can go without breaking the LAW. And yes, the speed limit is a law! Not a recommendation!
Suprising to some of you, I know.
I cannot understand how people can justify going 80+ mph unless they just simply have no regard for human life – others’ or thier own. Or going 70+ mph through a construction zone where the speed limit is 55 or 60.
Why is everyone in such a hurry? You can’t get to where you’re going if you’re dead.
I could rant all day long about this, but this isn’t even what I wanted to write about today…haha. But it does relate a little.
This morning as I was driving to work – and the speeding people whizzed by, weaving in and out of traffic to race to their apparently incredible jobs- I got to thinking about a topic I spoke about at First Priority my senior year of high school. I wish I had my notes from that day, because I think back to it so often. The message God gave me that morning was not only for the people who were gathered in front of me. In fact, I feel like more than anything He gave me that message for my own benefit. Here is what I remember about what I said and a little of what I have learned since:
When I was a small child I could fall asleep so easily in the car. Actually, I found it hard to stay awake in the car! I trusted my mother and father so completely to get me safely where I needed to go. I never questioned if they were going the right direction. I never thought to look both ways at a stop sign in case they weren’t paying attention. I knew that they loved me and would keep me safe. I never doubted that fact at all.
As I grew older and more independent, I found myself beginning to trust my parents’ driving skills less and less. Even though they are both good drivers and I had no reason to doubt their abilities, I much rather would be behind the wheel myself. After I got my liscense, I tried to be in the driver’s seat whenever possible. Being a passenger wasn’t my thing anymore…because I couldn’t be in control.
That was my main issue. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my parents anymore. After all, they had so much more experience than I did! They were the ones who taught me how to drive! But I wanted to be in control. For some reason I felt safer that way.
Oh how easily this parallels to my walk with Christ! I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was only 6 years old. I came to him with that child-like faith because I was a child! I understood and knew all that I needed to know – that I was a sinner and that Jesus was the only way for me to be clean again. I trusted everything I knew about God and Jesus as TRUTH. And it was easy to trust Him. I had no reason to question Him. He loved me and kept me safe and happy. I was His child and I knew that nothing could happen to me with Him behind the wheel.
I grew in maturity, learning more and more about the character of God and growing closer to Him. But as I did, I also grew physically and emotionally and socially…and I began to want something I hadn’t wanted before…control. I started ignoring the call of God to surrender my life, giving in to the temptation to get behind the wheel. Even though God had never given me a reason to doubt His ability to lead me, it sounded much better for me to just make my own decisions and do what I wanted, rather than consult God and have him decide for me. I liked the direction I was driving my life, because it was easier than the direction God wanted to drive. I stayed at intersections of life indefinitely, because I was too afraid of something scary and dangerous speeding up out of nowhere, surprising me.
As I took more and more control of my life, I trusted less and less in God. I thought I could make do without His leadership. Sadly, all of this was happening without me even recognizing it. I thought it was just a part of growing up and making your own decisions. What I didn’t realize is that even as adults, God calls us to have faith like a child.
Thankfully, my path was rerouted, when God allowed a circumstance to enter my life that I could not control – no matter how hard I tried.
When I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 14, I had limited options. I could face disease on my own, trusting in doctors and medicines that offered worldly “hope” for cure, but no real comfort. Or I could surrender to the God who created me, who loved me before this world was made and who has proven his faithfulness time and time again.
I chose to trust God.
He never disappointed me. I walked through adversity with poise and with an attitude that many did not understand. I cannot take credit for that. Not every day was easy, but I knew that God was in control.
There is nothing like the peace that comes from knowing that no matter what happens, your life is in the hands of the Living God. I don’t know why we as humans keep choosing to take control of our own lives, when the most fufilling life comes from surrendering it. Sure, it’s scary. It is absolutely terrifying! And it isn’t easy. Surrender isn’t a one time thing. It is a daily choice to lay down your life at the feet of Christ. It is sometimes a moment by moment, situation to situation choice! And you will be tempted to try to take back the wheel. I was. But I would always soon after become miserable with my circumstance again…and need to surrender.
I spoke on this topic almost exactly a week before I had the spinal tap that revealed I had relapsed. I suppose I knew in my heart that something was not right. I know that God already knew what I would face in the coming weeks and years and that He was preparing me to yet again make the choice to trust Him completely.
I think back to that morning at First Priority so often, because I so often try to take back the wheel from God! Even after all He brought me through and continues to bring me through, I want control. Hasn’t he proven that He knows where I’m going better than I do?
I think what I have learned is this:
If I feel like my life is spinning out of control, it’s probably because I’m the one trying to control it.
Something to think about.