My daughter Simone got her driver’s permit last week. For her very first time behind the wheel, I took her to the parking lot of a nearby mega church. I knew the lot would be empty during the day, which would give her plenty of room to practice. As long as Simone practiced driving along the painted lanes, it went well. But then it came time to venture out onto the residential streets.
Keeping it to under 25 mph, she did great. I was really proud of her (and really proud of myself for not white-knuckling the arm rests the entire time). Then we came to an intersection where I wanted her to turn left so we could avoid a busier street up ahead. The turn happened to be on a slope downhill, so we picked up more speed than Simone anticipated.
She made the turn.
With about an inch to spare.
We narrowly missed a parked car as I found myself instinctively reaching for the wheel. For a split moment, I really thought we were going to hit it. In a barely audible whisper, I asked Simone to pull over and park the car.
In a disappointed voice, she said, “Are we done already?”
“No,” I answered, “I just need to take a deep breath before we start again. That was pretty close. And a little too fast.”
We found a residential square block where we could circle it several times making all left-hand turns. I was on high alert, ready to take over in an instant.
I had purposed in my heart to be a really calm parent for our driving practice together, and I was. But it still surprised me how hard it was to relax in the passenger seat, especially after “that one turn.”
Of course, it’s only right that a parent be extra aware with a brand new driver behind the wheel of a car. But I wonder how often I react with the same anxiety whenever I ask God to take the lead in a certain area of life? Sometimes in prayer I give something over to God, then I sit perched and ready to take it back as soon as I perceive things to be going downhill.
Simone’s lessons in driving are revealing to me how much I prefer to be “behind the wheel” in most areas of my life. It’s hard to let go of total control. Thankfully, with Jesus at the wheel, I am in good hands.