When I was 16, I got my driver’s license. I didn’t do so well on the written test, but I kind of expected that. I have been called many things in my life, and have even gotten a few compliments along the way. “Book Smart” was never one of them. Since I squeaked by for the written test, I was understandably nervous when I got behind the wheel of my 1975 Chevy Malibu Classic.
The lady who administered my drivers test was about the sweetest thing I could ask for. She never called me by my name, rather chose to say, “Honey if you wouldn’t mind turning left up here.” Or, “be a dear and go around the block.” I couldn’t ask for better. Even though I got my grandmother as my tester, I was still totally freaked out. Most things seem pretty big at 16 and I am not sure if there is much bigger than getting a driver’s license.
Near the end of the test, my administrator told me to do two more things. She told me to breathe and to not hold onto the wheel so tightly. She could see the outlines of my bones in my hands. I guess it is fair to say I was a bit uptight. Come to find out I not only passed my driver’s test, but got a 100%. How you like me now?
The reality is, my standard way to handle difficult situations is to do the same thing. Care more. Work Harder. Breathe less. White Knuckle the situation until success comes about. I’m sure I am the only one, so bare with me.
From there, a cycle seems to happen in my life. When the outcome is less than what I hoped for or expected, there is a natural reaction that comes about. I am tired, and worn out. Burnt out and frustrated. Embarrassed and deflated. And frankly all of these emotions are appropriate. And why wouldn’t they be? If the calling is mine. The decisions are mine. The effort is mine. Then the outcome is also mine. And so, if all that is mine produces failure or at the very least, nothing, then I would hope my response is all of the above. Because I should do better.
But I am not alone in this life (as I remind myself AGAIN). There is a God in Heaven who is actively involved in all I do. As a follower of Christ, He has given me His Holy Spirit who dwells in me. He guides and leads me and teaches me how to pray.
As I progress in life, experiences, and age, I am discovering that there is a delicate balance between human responsibility and God’s sovereignty. As fantastically gifted as I think I am, the reality is that God does not need me. The Psalms remind me over and over again that He is powerful and I am not so much. “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” (Ps. 115:3,ESV) And the list goes on and on. He is Creator. He is Merciful. He is…
So there is something to be said for giving it your all. Become excellent at what you do and excel at your calling. We should strive for the highest quality in all we do and give it as an offering back to God. (Rom. 12:1-2) I will continue to do just that. However, I have been reminded often that no amount of effort can change God’s will and timing. I have the esteemed honor to be called a child of the Most High Creator, and He sees fit to involve me in His plans. “Involve” is the word that keeps coming back to me. Not “depends”. If I fail, it doesn’t shock God or catch Him off guard. He is in control and will continue to make the world spin and breathe identity into me.
As I type this, I think…this is basic life 101. Isn’t it? I have taught this, read about it, told others, and said I believe it. So then why am I right back here? Reminding myself and sharing it with others. As the process goes on, I am still learning. Trusting, failing, and desiring control.
For today, I am trying to remember to breathe and loosen my grip ever so slightly.