Jesus is a gentleman, not an abductor.
A couple weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time in Florida. My mom and I flew into Orlando and rented a car for a week. We drove around Orlando and then spent some time in South Florida and drove back up to fly out of Orlando, needless to say A LOT of driving occurred. Because it costs extra per day to add two people on car rental, we made the decision that it would just be my mom driving. That amazing woman drove so incredibly much over this trip, I was so blessed by her.
But there was one thing: her and I's driving styles are very different. Where I would usually wait for certain cars in a distance to pass before doing a u-turn, my mom would turn before them, causing me to stress and vocalize my own opinion. Soon before I knew it, I was vocalizing every opinion I had about driving and pointing out every flaw I saw in her driving. Which believe it or not, didn't help. It didn't help her driving. It didn't help my stress. And it actually caused division in our relationship while we were in the car. I spoke my criticism in my opinions, but behind the actual words I said, it spoke: "I don't trust you."
I spoke my criticism in my opinions, but behind the actual words I said, it spoke: "I don't trust you."
I wonder how many times I have said that to God through my criticism? "God, why did you take this from me?" "Father, what happened with this job, I thought I deserved that promotion?" Or maybe it's through actions: choosing what your kids pursue. Taking your own dreams and gritting your teeth to make them come true on your own.
I don't at all say any of this to condemn. I promise. I am right there with you guys. Following Jesus is hard. If anyone says it's a walk in the park, then I want to meet that person and see either if they are lying or if there's some secret that I don't know about.
Sitting in the passenger's seat driving down to south Florida, I was staring out the window, and Holy Spirit convicted me of how I acted with my mother. He revealed the division it caused, rather than both our joyful selves, we turned quiet and distant towards each other. I confronted my mom and apologized for talking AT her rather than with her on how I felt. I asked that she would forgive me. She did. It felt like a weight lifted up out of the car. Laughter and joy returned. Good memories started being made.
Soon after that, the song "Jesus Take the Wheel" popped in my head. I let myself imagine me actually giving the wheel of my life to Jesus. No matter how beautifully Carrie Underwood makes that act sound, 'giving Jesus the wheel' is a sacrifice and it is a choice you have to continue to make. It is not a one time thing. It's whenever I feel like I want to take it back, whenever I want to "go this way" or "do this thing", I have to say "No, Jesus, you keep that wheel, I want you to lead us. I want my story to be the crazy, fun, adventurous one and I don't have the talent or ability to write it like that, but you do!"
In this imagined thought of Jesus and myself in a car, I saw us laughing and singing along to everything from Disney songs to christian rap. It was so fun and sweet. Sometime later, the car hit a pothole and jarred us, I could see Jesus looking over to see my reaction. It scared me, but I knew what a good driver he was so I dismissed it. We kept singing and once we were done with that we just talked. We talked about hopes, dreams, everything. Then the GPS on iPhone we were using said to turn off on an exit.
"Jesus, we need to get off here."
"I know where we are going."
"But Jesus we agreed that we are going here, you need get off on this exit now to get there!"
He looked over, "do you trust me?"
Do we trust that he really knows where we are going? Are we going to choose to trust him to get us there or are we going to grab the wheel back and listen to the GPS (family, friends, our own thoughts, situations, distractions, school, etc) say that we are going the wrong way? Is his voice above all else? I'm not at all dismissing the wisdom of those who also value God and his voice from speaking into your life. Keep those voices very close. Dismiss those voices that dismiss God's. Those are the people that won't be there for you when your "car" gets totaled or a flat tire.
Here's the catch: God is not an abductor, he is a chauffeur that will be your best friend.
Here's what God won't do: he won't demand to be in the driver's seat and push you to the passenger seat. He won't tell you to be quiet if you criticize him (he might ask whether you trust him or not), you are in charge of your doubt and your faith. You are in charge of whether you speak death or life into a situation. It's more than words.
"A man’s belly is filled with the fruits of his mouth...Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life." Proverbs 18:20-21
Here's what God will do: if you tell him to get out of the car, he will pull over, and exit the vehicle and allow you to get in driver's seat. He, however, wants to be the driver, so he will get in the passenger seat but he won't speak. Not to spite you or anything like that, he just looses authority in your life if he's not in the driver's seat.
You won't have the fun, adventurous life you wanted, because you will be too busy looking at the GPS, avoiding potholes, and minding the traffic going on around you. You will not get the opportunity to really enjoy the friendship with the man in your passenger seat. You will become stressed as people cut you off and Siri says "turn right now!". You are bound to either have an emotional breakdown or never get to your destination, perhaps both.
I have made it my priority in life to always have Jesus drive. And if I ever look down and find my hands have that stinkin' wheel again (because I've had my fair share of stealing it back, sometimes subconsciously!), then I give it back and ask for forgiveness. Because of my value on having Jesus be the driver of our "ride or die" relationship, I am now moving to Florida and have been trusted to see a little bit of Jesus' road map for my life and where we are headed. It has been a fun adventure and I know it will continue to be a fun adventure even if he takes a couple of u-turns too early in my opinion.
A prayer for you!
I love you, friends. I am for you. God is more so.
Father, I pray for anyone who reads this post. Daddy, that you would reveal to them your love and character, and just the depth of your love for them. You want your best for them. Help them see that. Help them walk in it. Show them where they need to repent and give that wheel back. Show them where you have been so, so proud of them for allowing you to remain in that driver's seat. I pray for more of your Presence in their life, and for increased discernment to see you, feel you, hear you, and so much more. You are good. All the time, every day. I pray you will continue to reveal yourself and your purposes for them in Jesus Name. Let it be done.