Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It Was a Jesus-Take-the-Wheel Kind of Summer


I didn’t drive for a month.
I never thought it would bother me to give up the wheel. It didn’t even cross my mind until we headed to church the night before my flight to Honduras. My husband drove, and I would ride a bus to the airport and then I would be in Honduras for a month. I’d not drive until I returned.
The first ten days of my trip involved a lot of time on buses. I wasn’t in charge of where we went or what we did. I was along for the ride.
The final three weeks of the trip involved a lot of time in a truck. I rode shotgun, holding onto the handle above the window as we wove in and out of Tegus traffic and flew around mountain curves.

I HAD NO DESIRE TO DRIVE, PHYSICALLY.

I am a timid driver here in America. I’d be a pancake trying to navigate traffic in Tegucigalpa. I am told there are laws about driving there, but I have yet to see any evidence of such. Painted lines are barely suggestions. Lanes don’t matter in the least. I could count red lights on one hand.
Driving in Tegucigalpa wasn’t on my list of daring activities for the summer. I preferred zip-lining upside down in the jungle and playing with monkeys.

THERE WAS SOMETHING DISCONCERTING ABOUT IT … NOT DRIVING.

Or not being able to drive, really. Not having a car sitting in the driveway. Not having a ready-made plan of escape in any given situation and not being able to decide I was hungry and run to the store …
I’m struggling to even write complete sentences for these thoughts. The feeling was simply odd.

I’M A GROWN WOMAN. I AM IN CHARGE OF MY LIFE.

Except, this summer, I wasn’t. I thought I exercised my daring self-confidence by hopping a plane to a third-world country for a month. In truth, I yielded my will altogether.
Jamie and I went where we were told to go. We were welcome to make suggestions and often did, but ultimately, we were not in control of our schedule. In the mornings, I set my alarm so I’d have time to read and sip coffee before leaving for the day, but I didn’t pick what time we left. I didn’t choose where we worked.
I thought daring was all about doing, going, jumping in with both feet and making things happen.

IT TURNS OUT, THE MOST DARING THING I DID THIS SUMMER WAS GIVE UP.

I didn’t just give up driving for thirty days. I gave up on the picture of my future I have held close for at least the last five years. I had to let it go and consider other options.
Lord help me for using a cliché, but this was a “Jesus take the wheel” kind of summer, and I am still terrified of where this Holy-Spirit-mobile is taking me.

ALSO, I AM NOT YIELDING WELL.

I gave up driving a car way more easily than I gave up driving my life. But I am trying, little by little, day by day. I am examining my actions and their motives, and I am taking steps in a new direction, even when I want to yank the wheel to the left and get the heck out of dodge.
I let someone else lead the way, when I gave up driving.
Now, can I give up planning and let the Holy Spirit lead me also in this?

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