Picture this: I'm sitting in the driver's seat of my Civic looking through the windshield at everything that is familiar in my world: my house, my family, a few friends, and behind them all stands my Heavenly Father. As I sit in the car, I'm doing everything I was taught to do in Driver's Ed. My hands are at 10 and 2, I'm checking and adjusting my mirrors, and after everything is in place, I push the gas pedal clear down to the floorboard. There's just one little problem. Although the key's in the ignition, I'm too frightened to actually turn the car on, and therefore, I'm still sitting in the driveway of my comfort zone- getting nowhere- completely stalled. Oh, I've tried turning the key a few times, but at the first sound of the rumbling engine, something inside causes me to jerk my hand away. To anyone passing by on the road, it appears I'm in full control of the car and know exactly what I'm doing, but I know that nothing could be further from the truth. And I'm perfectly content to sit and enjoy the view in front of me. After all, this is home.
Eventually, I invite God into the front seat to ride shotgun, thinking that will give me the courage I need to back out of the driveway, but it's to no avail. Then one muggy morning in late May, it appears He's had enough of my hemming-and-hawing. He reaches His mighty hand across me, and with one flick of His wrist, the car is fired up and ready to go. Initially in a state of shock, I do the only thing that comes natural... I put the pedal to the metal. In the past, it's always allowed me to stretch my legs just so in a way that's both mind-clearing and energizing. Only this time, I no longer stay put in the driveway. Instead, I bolt out of my comfort zone in a way I've never experienced before.
Leaving all rationality behind, my body takes over where my mind's left off.... I grip the steering wheel until my knuckles are white and SCREAM. You see, Driver's Ed did wonders when it came to preparing me to drive. But the driving part itself? Yeah, nobody bothered to mention how to steer or, you know, stop the car. So before I know it, I'm flying down the road at 90 miles an hour through totally unfamiliar territory. I'm seeing things I've never seen before, I'm feeling things I never knew existed. And because I'm too afraid to take my eyes off the road, I never once turn my head 90 degrees to get a good look at my passenger. Oh, sure, I screamed at Him at least a dozen times to say "Make this car stop!" or "I wanna get out!!!" but I never once looked Him square in the eye. If I had, I'm sure I would have seen a twinkle there that let me know He wasn't the least bit scared of this wild ride we were on.
After what seemed like forever, I finally began to get used to my ever-changing surroundings. Maybe this wasn't so bad. It certainly wasn't home, but I can't say it wasn't exhilirating. Then one day, I notice something on the horizon. It's a brick wall.... which may not sound like much, but if you'll remember, I had no idea how to slow my car down or steer my way around it. Minute by minute, I find myself inching closer and closer to what I know will be my demise. Resume panic mode. As it turns out, having God in the passenger seat turned out to be a good thing, because instead of my car shattering into a million tiny pieces, the wall shattered upon contact instead (His super powers can come in quite handy, you know). And even better, the brick wall slowed us down just enough that I could finally, for the first time since I'd bolted out of the driveway, take control of the car that had previously taken me through life at break-neck speed. I'm finally able to turn and look at the One riding shotgun and promptly recieve a crash course in avoiding and/or manuevering my way around any future road blocks. And having that knowledge behind me has truly set me free.
Not only am I unafraid to continue down the road I started, but I've been known to take an actual detour- on purpose. No matter what crosses my path, I know how to get around it, and it only makes the ride more exciting. Yes, I do sometimes find myself uncomfortably isolated in the middle of nowhere, or in a place bustling with so much activity I can't see 10 feet in front of me, but I'm cool.
After all, I've got GPS- God in the Passenger Seat. :-)
Although it's written in metaphorical terms, this story is 100% autobiographical. In 2007, God took me on the most amazing journey..... it wasn't fun or the least bit enjoyable, but it was absolutely the biggest blessing I could have ever received.