Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble. – Proverbs 28:14
Long ago, when I was learning to drive, my Dad thought it would be a great idea to take me out in the jeep, so I could learn on a stick shift.
On one hand, taking the jeep was a stroke of brilliance, since I could… well, you’ll see why soon enough.
On the other hand, apparently the man had never met me, known me, or spent any time in my presence. I mean who would expect ME to be multi-tasking and coordinated? Really, people. I just have to shake my head.
Ok, so we’re out on a series of country dirt roads that have zero traffic. Check. I’m in the driver’s seat, and have received both proper instruction and perfect examples of driving technique and skill. Check. Seat belts buckled, mirrors and seat adjusted. Check.
Off we go. I must brag about the straight shots. I was awesome. Flawless. Ok, maybe there was a hint of grindage when switching gears, and we might or might not have lurched with each release of the clutch. But, hey, I’m feeling good, wind in my hair, loving the control I have over this exotic vehicle on this unknown road.
Then it happened. I had to make a turn.
Internally, I have a running commentary. “Foot on clutch. Slow vehicle. Shift gears. Shift gears again because I missed the right gear. Foot off clutch. Turn wheel. Foot on gas.”
Did you see what I missed there? I forgot to release from the wheel turn. The sharp pull of the wheel required to get us around the corner just kept going and we ended up nosediving into the ditch that ran along the roadside.
Apparently I had too much on my multi-task list.
It happened again and again. And again. Now do you see why using the jeep was such a brilliant idea? 4-wheel drive got a work-out that day.
I kept trying to make that turn. If I straightened the wheel out, I forgot a step and ended up stalling out. If I remembered the rest, I always forgot to let the wheel go back to straight.
Do you know what my problem was? The problem was that I kept trying to make that turn! You see, all I had to do to get it right was to simply let go of the wheel once the corner was rounded. Let. Go.
Those two words are what kept Dad and I in the ditch that day.
It’s what keeps me in the ditch most days even now.
When I’m loving the feel of the control over where I’m going, how fast I’ll get there, and when and where to stop, it can feel an awful lot like failure to release that grip. Feeling that steering wheel slide back into place in my open hands can feel even scarier than ending up in the ditch over my own stubborn will.
I so badly want it all to be under my own power, when that power is actually a mirage. I pray that today I can remember to let go.
Mighty God, whisper it to me when I forget. Thank you for your infinite patience and grace for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…
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