Three of my cars have been a stick. Four, if you count the family car I drove in high school.
Learning to drive a stick in my teens was not fun. In the movies, people always lurch along, STOP-GO STOP-GO STOP-GO but my problem was hills. I could not find that sweet spot in releasing the clutch where the car doesn’t move, regardless of the road’s incline and my mom was determined that I needed to be able to do just that. At one point I remember turning to her with tears in my eyes vowing, “I’m moving to Kansas where it’s flat!”
She’d patiently coach me as I inched up off the clutch but then I’d slowly roll back downhill. She’d encourage me as I tried again and again but then either stalled or slid backwards. She’d calmly say, “Just be still,” and I knew she meant the car but she was also trying to get me to chill out.
Like most things, once I got the hang of the clutch it was second nature and I didn’t have to think about it. But I often remember that admonition to be still and how different it is from my wanting to take the easier, more definitive way. Let’s either GO in Drive or STOP in Park. Why do I have to idle in this place called Neutral?
What do I possibly get from being still?
And then God patiently whispers, “Me.”
“You get Me when you choose to be still.”
Sometimes I still take the easier, more mindless option and aimlessly Drive. Just start out, no real plan in mind, without taking the time to ask where He would have me go. And I have to constantly fight against the inertia to just stay in Park. Hole up and not venture out on any path, for fear it’s the wrong one or the embarrassing one or the one that reveals to others the secret truths in my heart.
But when I lessen my tight clutch on things. Things like
- Needing to know what’s next
- Trying to control outcomes
- Wanting to take the easiest paths
- Caring what others think
The unimportant stuff falls away and I am able to shift my focus to what matters.
Not exactly a walk in the park (I couldn’t resist) but I’m making progress.