I heard an old man speak once,
someone who had been sober for fifty years,
a very prominent doctor.
He said that he’d finally figured out a few years ago
that his profound sense of control,
in the world and over his life,
is another addiction and a total illusion.
He said that when he sees little kids sitting in the back seat of cars,
in those car seats that have steering wheels,
with grim expressions of concentration on their faces,
clearly convinced that their efforts are causing the car
to do whatever it is doing,
he thinks of himself
and his relationship with God:
God who drives along silently,
in the real driver’s seat.
~Anne Lamott from Operating Instructions
We want to steer life in the way we want it to go:
our plans, our timing, our chosen destination,
our hopes and dreams matter first and foremost.
And then life happens and suddenly the road ceases to look familiar and we don’t seem to be going the direction we intended.
Who is doing the driving anyway?
We are under the illusion that we are in control:
Sadness and hopelessness, frustration and anger stem from discouragement over our lack of control over where we are headed. We feel there is no turning back, unable to see the road signs to another path to a different future.
There is an epidemic of hopelessness and helplessness especially among children and young adults – their path is murky, their debts too great, their reserves too limited, their foundations too shaky, their hope nonexistent, their future too dim.
Relinquishing control by giving up the driver’s seat is not in our nature. We want to be seen as competent and feel as though we are prepared to be the captain of our fate.
Instead we need to give up our carefully planned-out life to the God who created us and has it all planned for us.
We turn over the steering wheel saying: may it be to me as you say.
May it be.
Your plans, Your purpose, Your promise.
Let it be.
Even if it may pierce my soul as with a sword:
You are there to plug the bleeding hole.
And I will follow wherever you steer me.
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One thought on “Being in the Driver’s Seat”
The last few lines from that poem make me smile. One can almost imagine God rolling his eyes and chuckling.
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