Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lessons in losing control

I had two experiences this week that reminded me how much I desire to be in control and how I need the help of others. If you want to get a lesson in letting go of control, try teaching someone how to drive. I offered to help one of the refugees this week to learn to drive. We took my SUV to the Grace Point parking lot and switched places. I thought he'd had some driving experience in Nepal so I was not too concerned. He just needed to get used to driving an automatic and driving on the right side of the road. To my suprize he was like a young kid behind the wheel for the very first time. With some instruction about the brake and the gas peddle and some practice stopping and starting, I gave the go ahead to drive through the parking lot. Easier said than done. Everything was fine until we made the first turn. On one side of the lane we were turning toward was the end of the parking lot and a grassy ditch and the other a row of cars. Stupid me for having him turn into this lane because as he turned left, he began to press more on the gas which sped the car up. As he over-corrected the steering we turned toward the cars parked on the left. I'm glad we had practiced braking because I was screaming step on the brake! He stopped just in time, only a foot or so shy of one of the parked cars.
Over the next twenty minutes, it was all I could do to not jump out of the car and end the lesson. But I had to make myself trust that he could drive without hitting a car, a light pole or building. I had little to no control except through my vocal instructions. But until I let him drive, he wasn't ever going to learn. No damage done except to my nerves. It was truly a white-knuckle experienc.

Two nights ago, God seemed to further instruct me on the art of humility and dependence on others with another experience in which I ended up having no control. Barbara and I went for a walk in the early evening. We always take the garage door opener and lock the house. When we returned back from the walk, low and behold the remote didn't work. The garage door would not open. We had no keys and no way to get back into the house without breaking the door or window. Of course, I blamed it on Barbara. I let her know that she knew the batteries were low on the remote and she should have taken keys just in case. After checking the doors and windows to see if we had left something unlocked, which we hadn't, we realized we needed help. I wasn't the one to go ask, that was for sure. After all, I again reminded her that it was her fault. So Barbara went next door to humbly ask for help. Perhaps their garage door opener was the same as ours and had a battery. Well that wasn't a solution, but the college age son of the Iranian parents next door offered to take us to Wal Mart to get some batteries. They also had to loan us money to buy a battery because we didn't have any on us.
Our trip was actually very pleasant and we got to know the young man better. He was attending UTSA and studying premed. I got to tell a little about my ministry. After searching all over for the battery in Wal Mart we found the right one and it actually worked. All was back to normal in the Walters' house. Why do we have such a strong desire to always be in control of circumstances? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why can't I anticipate that the little trials are ways for God to work through me? Life is so much more interesting and richer when we have these kinds of experiences. (Looking back). Help me God to learn to trust you, to know that I really have no control of my life and to not hesitate to rely on you and others. Help me to not always blame others, especially my wife and to take responsibility.

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