When driving there is very little that is more annoying than a backseat driver, especially when they try to grab the steering wheel, yank it without warning, and start taking you in a different direction and heading towards an unknown destination. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to have that happen? How much longer does it take to get where you were supposed to go? All of this frustration and wasted energy because someone wants to take control when they are not in a position to do so.
The reason I share this story is because over the past 72+ hours I am realizing that I’m living this story and it is incredibly frustrating. The most frustrating part? My realization that I am the one in the passenger seat trying to yank the steering wheel in a different direction. I don’t like the possible destinations that the driver is going and I’m doing my best to go somewhere else. Sadly, I know that no matter how much I try to fight it I know that I can’t, no matter how hard I fight it, there is now way that I can get the car to go anywhere besides where the driver is trying to take us. God’s driving, and I need to let go of the wheel.
Sometimes the Big Guy Upstairs just doesn’t get it – I fix things, I determine direction, I am the one that takes control in situations… C’mon Dude (with a capital D), let me take the wheel! Sadly, that’s often my mindset. Somewhere in my brain my ego tries to handle everything, control everything, and direct everything. There are some situations in life when this works very well, and there are many more when this is the worst thing to do. Even when it’s the worst option, I struggle and default back to wanting to control things. I see every situation, no matter how difficult and frustrating, as an opportunity to learn and get better at being me. So far it seems like God is pointing towards this being an opportunity for me to shut up and listen to him.
Last night my Uncles, Steve & Kevin, realized that I had hit a wall physically and needed to crash. I didn’t like that idea so I pushed back for a while. After some convincing I took their advice, slept for several hours, woke up refreshed, and was thankful for letting go of the wheel and listening to them.
This morning my incredibly awesome in-laws (seriously, I swear that I won the In-Law Lottery!) came to visit me. As normal I tried to jump into small talk and avoid the situation. If I go in other directions and don’t let the conversation go where I don’t want it to go, life is great, right? Seemingly mid sentence my father in law, Ken, looked at me with incredibly caring eyes. He reached out, took my hand from across the table, wrapped his other hand around it, and talked about what I needed to talk about. As I felt his hands on mine I felt love, compassion, and understanding. In looking at him and feeling his hands on mine I saw Ken, my dad, a father, a son, pure love, complete understanding and the Holy Spirit. It touched me at level that still leaves my eyes wet whenever I remember it. I wish there was a way to convey just how much love and understanding there was in his eye contact. It was an amazing moment that I will hold for my entire life. I can’t begin to thank him enough for it. God helped him to help me stop, let go of control and quit worrying. I was thankful for letting go of the wheel and listening to him & Him.
Later in the morning I was able to have an incredible conversation with Pastor Glenn. As he helped me walk through my emotions, frustrations, and concerns he helped me sift through things. Through a couple of great questions and thoughts he quickly helped me see that I was struggling to control the situation. After a while I was sharing why the story of Jesus was praying garden is the time I can relate most to Jesus… And it was a beautiful reminder that I need to follow His lead, it’s okay to ask, but at the end of the day, it’s really up to The Big Guy Upstairs. Pastor Glenn even used the analogy of letting God drive and it really helped to sink in.
One my drive home I pulled over for a quick breather. While I was stopped I pulled out a couple of little books Pastor had given me as we wrapped up our conversation. He nonchalantly offered them up as things that could possibly help. When I opened the first book, this is what I saw on the first page… God must’ve decided I could use a little more help 🙂
I got back on the road and decided to let go of the metaphorical wheel as I drove. I started just talking with God and my dad. I explained why I wanted more time, how much I love my dad, what my fears are, and everything along those lines. I left myself open and exposed to both of them and myself. It was humbling yet relieving.
Leaving my brain open I acted on the first impulse that struck me. Pulling over again I dug up a list of songs I’ve been putting together for my boys. In case of something bad happening to me I’ve been building a playlist that could help them with their feelings in the future. One of the songs popped right out at me… The Nights by Avicii. The whole point of the song is a father telling his son to live life, make it memorable, do whatever it takes to make it something special, and enjoy it. As I repeated, listened, sang, and took it all in I realized what direction I was being pointed to – enjoy the time I have with my boys. My dad and I have had our time (and of course hope for more) and I need to make sure that my boys can truly live yesterday’s post of having no regrets. God needs me to do that for them and I will. The clarity was amazing, and I know that my dad was smiling as I realized this. I was thankful for letting go, letting God take the wheel, and lead me to where I needed to go. https://youtu.be/UtF6Jej8yb4
There’s nothing I’d like to do more than fix this situation. Make my dad healthy. Heal the pain and frustration of my family. Get life back to what I want. But I can’t. It’s not my car, I’m not in the driver seat, and I’m only in the car because God asked me to sit in it. He knows where I need to go and how to get there. I will keep my hands off the wheel, roll down the window, enjoy the ride, and be happy where it takes me. Sometimes He’ll probably let me decide a little bit of the route, sometimes he’ll tell me to get out and put gas in the tank. Regardless, I will let go of the wheel.