For some unknown reason my daddy decided that when his daughters learned to drive we would both learn how to drive a stick shift (a 5 speed, if you will).
Which would have come in handy if I was ever abandoned on a tractor out in the middle of a hayfield with no civilization in sight.
Which never happened. What did happen – at least the way I remember it – is this:
My daddy bought me a car after I turned 16. It was a BEAUTIFUL 1980 Honda Civic hatchback in a LOVELY rusty-orange color.
I loved it, except for one little problem. I couldn’t drive it.
Daddy took me out a time or two, trying to show me how to ease off the clutch and move the handle into the next gear, but all I seemed to be able to do was fling my foot off the clutch, jam it into gear and throw him into the dashboard.
And let’s not forget I grew up in Birmingham – home of places such as Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, etc… Trying to stop mid-way up one of those infamous hills, put the car in 1st gear, ease off the clutch and actually go forward proved to be way harder than I thought. More than once I had to wave the driver behind me to go around my little Civic out of fear I would roll backwards and onto the top of their car.
So after a few outings my dad had enough. One day he and I drove to my high school, my mother following in her car. He got out of my car, got into my mother’s car and left me there. All alone. No cell phone. Just me, a 5-speed and a lot of hills between where I was and where I wanted to be.
Now I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to get home, but it should have been 10, maybe 15 minutes. I vaguely remember it being closer to 2 hours. I finally got there all right – mad, crying, red-faced, & furious. I told my daddy to sell that car and I didn’t care if I ever had a car (OK, so I was slightly dramatic back in the day…).
But guess what? He didn’t sell the car. And I eventually mastered driving a 5-speed. My daddy took me out of my comfort zone and got me to try something I didn’t want to try and I actually ended up good at it.
God does that, too. He took a stutterer and used him to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. He used a murderer to write about 2/3 of the New Testament. God often takes us out of our comfort zones and uses us in ways we can’t even imagine. I think of friends who never thought they would be traveling to foreign countries and ministering to children in those places, or others who didn’t think they would be heading up a local ministry. And me? Who ever thought I would write a little story every day hoping to spread the Gospel?
God wants to use you, too. He wants to stretch you and mold you and get you to do things you can’t even imagine doing. So when you hear that voice in your head (yes, that would be the Holy Spirit if you are seeking God’s will for your life) and you hear Him speaking, try a “Yes, Lord!” instead of a “You got the wrong girl (or guy)!” response.
Get in the car. Listen to His guidance. Then drive.
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