When we made an interstate move last year, I made a huge driving mistake. In all my many years of driving, I’ve NEVER made this error before!
Fortunately, I knew exactly what I had to do to correct things once the mistake was brought to my attention. But I didn’t just learn a valuable driving lesson, I also got some good life lessons out of it.
Watch this short video (3:37) to hear me tell the story just moments after it happened. Then read on to get the fuller version of the life lesson I also talk about. (It’s hard to make sure you say everything you want to say in an impromptu and unscripted video!)
Here are the salient thoughts and lessons I got from my driving misadventure, some of which didn’t even get mentioned in the video. (Oh, the value of writing out some notes!)
Stuck in Traffic
In this impatient day and age, everyone wants instant gratification. And if getting satisfaction takes longer than a minute, we at least want to see or feel definite progress.
So, when the pace slows to a crawl or even comes to a standstill, it’s tempting to look for shortcuts/detours, so we can keep the feeling of making progress. It felt good to be back up to speed, cruising along freely on that country road. But despite feeling like we were making progress, I wasn’t. I was getting farther away from my goal!
In life, there are NO SHORTCUTS to “Easy Street.” You can’t always avoid the tedious and unpleasant moments.
Admittedly, my excuse is that I was simply following a leader. I’m a patient person and would have endured the traffic jam graciously. But the lesson remains, because I can’t guarantee that I’m just as patient in other areas of life.
Beware of deviating from the correct path! Don’t let impatience or careless following lead you astray!
A Convicting Phone Call
It took Eric calling me to reveal my error. Thank the Lord, he called before I had gone too far! I don’t even want to imagine how stressful it would have been if my pseudo-leader’s path had already included a bunch of turns at intersections!
Eric’s phone call reminds me of how God responds when we get off track. When God convicts us, He’s calling us back to the right path, eager to rescue us from the consequences of our mistakes. Not to berate us or punish us.
And while it is possible for God to speak directly to us, His preferred method of communication—other than through the Bible—is through other Christians. The fellow believers in our local church are often the voice of God for us, able to advise, encourage, and warn. So, please be willing to let these godly colleagues into your life for quality accountability. Be willing to receive a word of correction.
If my husband had not called, who knows how long I would have traveled down the wrong path before I realized on my own the error of my ways! I was clueless! I needed his insight because I had no idea that I was following the wrong U-Haul truck. Which brings up the next point.
Pay Attention to the Details
Once I got back to following the right U-Haul truck, I started paying close attention to the details of the U-Haul I was following! I had no intentions of getting confused again!
I realized it wasn’t enough to just know that we had a U-Haul truck (instead of a Ryder or some other rental) or that it had Arizona license plates. By the way, I learned later that ALL U-Haul trucks have Arizona license plates! So those paint jobs of interesting facts about places have more value than just entertaining passing-traffic passengers!
And while the unique giant squid painting on the side had been helpful in making me realize my error, I couldn’t see that uniqueness when I was following directly behind. So, I began memorizing the actual plate number and studying the backside of that truck for any other distinguishing clues that would help me if I got separated again!
Likewise, we need to know as much detail about God and His Word as possible. It’s not enough to know the basics (e.g., God exists, God is love, sin separates us from God, Jesus died for our sin, and believing all that will get you to heaven). Yes, salvation and getting into heaven is as simple as believing these basics, but we’ve got to know more if we’re to stay true to that salvation until we reach the pearly gates!
“…evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned…”—2 Timothy 3:13-14 NIV
Repenting of My Error
Since I hadn’t been paying attention to those valuable details, I was led astray. But once I accepted the truth, I made a U-turn and traveled back to the right path by reversing my direction on the exact same route.
I didn’t try to find a new way that would get me to the right path. I didn’t try to continue with my country-road course, hoping to eventually end up intersecting the highway again.
Sure, I perhaps could have accomplished the goal that way, but at what cost? How much time would have been needed for such a circuitous route? How stressed out would I have been?!
And in our non-driving life, it’s best to simply “reverse our steps”—go back and face the people we’ve hurt to apologize, return what we’ve stolen, etc. as much as it is possible. Whatever you had been doing, you stop doing. If it’s something you should have been doing but weren’t, you start doing. It may not be easy or comfortable, but if it’s in any way possible, we need to do it.
Back to Being Stuck in Traffic
Did you notice the slow-moving background in the video? Yep, I was back to being stuck in the traffic jam.
Learn this lesson well: repentance does not guarantee a life free from troubles and interference with our goal. It only guarantees that we get back on the right track, making the goal actually reachable.
Life will be hard. Jesus promised His followers that they would indeed face trials and troubles (John 16:33b). Being a Christian does not provide an escape from life’s difficulties or impediments to our forward progress. In fact, very often, the path God puts us on seems to be full of “traffic jams” that test our ability to be patient and faithful.
But it’s better to be slowly but surely moving towards the goal on the right path, than to be making speedy “progress” down the wrong road!
Thanks for watching and reading!
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™