Jesus (Don't) Take The Wheel
We are teaching my middle son how to drive. Prayers are appreciated.
It's been over a decade since I did this with my eldest son, and I haven't changed a lot in my teaching style, which could best be described as: acute resignation mixed with a healthy dose of panic and a generous sprinkling of fear.
Lately, I have decided that in order to mitigate my anxiety whilst driving with my kid, I would take a different kind of approach.
Basically, I decided I was going to be as calm, and as matter-of-fact as I could be about the situations he guided us into.
For example, when he comes barreling up on cars stopped at a stop light, I have taken to simply saying quietly: "I would apply the brakes if I were you."
Or when he blows through a stop sign, I'll softly add: "Not that it matters now, but you blew through that stop sign."
And when he refuses to get into a turn lane until the last moment, I'll offer up the following statement: "You may want to start getting over into the turn lane it is coming up within the next fifty feet."
When you are teaching your kid to drive, you begin to respect the efficacy of small corrections. It only takes a moment of his not paying attention for the car to begin heading off course, and into other lanes of traffic.
My being calm about a gentle correction in the right direction seems to work a whole lot better than screaming and bracing for impact, which is what I feel like doing on the inside when it happens.
I got to thinking about this the other day after I heard a song by singer/songwriter Luca Fogale, that had this line:
Maybe all it takes to find your way is a slow correction of the wheel.
There's so much truth in that for life I'm thinking. Especially now in our current circumstances.
When you begin to see yourself drifting away toward what is life-giving and generative... when you begin to slowly veer down the wrong path toward darkness, despair and doubt... that is the time to begin correcting course.
Because if we wait and continue drifting, that is when panic can set in, and you run the risk of jerking the wheel a bit too hard in one direction or another. Overreacting when you are in need of a course correction can hold its own kind of disasters.
I'm trying to learn this right now because there is something inside of me that can feel so many areas of my life that need a course correction, and even some where I feel completely lost and out of control.
But to panic and begin veering wildly won't help matters. Instead, I am learning to slowly correct the wheel, begin aiming in the right direction and trust that the terrain will become familiar again.
This is the point in the devo where some of you are wondering if I will, in fact, say something about Jesus taking the wheel. I'm not going to say that no matter how tempting it might be... even though that song is now in my head.
Instead, what I would suggest is that Jesus doesn't want the wheel. Yes, as heretical as it may seem, I believe the song got it wrong. But to use that same analogy, I believe Jesus wants us to keep hold of the wheel because how else are we going to learn to drive?
The good news is that we have the still, small voice of the Spirit of Christ constantly speaking to us and telling us what we need to do. It sounds something like this: "Fear not." "I am with you always." "I am the Way." "Follow me."
If you have been feeling out of control and lost lately, don't panic. Listen for that voice, begin to correct your wheel, and know that Christ is with you in your lostness, beside you in your detours, and that you will find your way soon enough with Christ's help.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.