I can’t believe that I learned to drive for the first time in a Pinto! That shows my age right there doesn’t it? I mentioned it to my son once and I think he thought I’d lost my mind to refer to a bean as a motor vehicle.
But, I did. My sister Robin took me not far out of our little town and I learned to drive her orange Pinto. Standard transmission and all! In fact for me the hardest part was easing out on the clutch, knowing when to push the gas and how hard, and the “H” formation I memorized for knowing the gears. We were on some long red dirt road and not one car came within a mile of our existence. What a great way to learn right?
It was later when I actually started my Driver’s Education class as a sophomore that I realized there was a lot more to driving than just shifting and driving alone on a red dirt road. Our school had a very new vehicle for driver’s ed. and it flourished with lights and controls that shot way past my mind’s imagination. The pinto had maybe three dials on the dash. The driver’s ed car might as well have been a cockpit of a 747 to me. I felt incredibly overwhelmed.
Growing up in rural Oklahoma, everyone had been driving since they had been birthed except for me. Most kids grew up on farms where they drove their dad’s truck during harvest, or had a three-wheeler, or a big riding lawn mower, a steer, a horse, anything and everything. I did well to drive my bike over the tar bubbles on the black top in the summer. All the kids in my class knew of my inexperience and longed for the day when the teacher would call my name for the driver of the day.
The day came sooner than I cared for. I could hear bets being placed in the back seat on what object I would strike and when I would strike it. Most of the laughter wrapped around the idea that I would not get 50 feet before I hit a post, another car, or a tree in the parking lot.
After being told and nearly threatened by my patient teacher I managed to accelerate the gas long enough to actually start down the street and leave the parking lot. As I finally felt physically sound enough to push the gas and steer at the same time I told myself to ignore most of the other distractions. That is until my teacher reminded me to check my side mirrors, my rearview mirror (I didn’t want see the goof balls in the back seat making faces), and all my indicators on my dash, all while I am looking through my windshield driving down the road. I decided right then and there that I cared very little about driving and it was time to consider establishing a strong friendship with those that could actually drive.
I eventually learned to breathe normally as I trucked on down the city street by our school. What was hardest for me I think – other than seeing over the steering wheel – was keeping the car positioned between the yellow line and the white line. I had a lot of trouble measuring distance. I wasn’t used to knowing how much capacity from being in a 4 door vehicle compared to the width of my lane in the road. Constantly, I struggled mentally and physically to stay within the lines.
Here I am all these years later. As I Christian I still struggle to stay within the lines. Do you know what I am talking about? I think you do but you may not want to admit to it (wink wink.)
When I tell people I am a writer I usually receive for the most part the same general reaction from the public. When I tell people I write Christian books/Christian columns, a slightly different element is introduced. The “you must be perfect” veil of disapproval then appears on most faces of those I have told.
As a Christian writer most people either out of stereotyping, innocence, or whatever the reason, they have this bar set way up high in the sky which equates Christian Writer means this person never sins, never swears, never lies, never yells, never misses church on Sundays, never lets someone sneeze without saying “God Bless You!”, and never wears anything but high collar shirts and long long skirts.
Nope that’s not me. I am a Christian writer because simply enough I was saved when I was 5 and God inspires me to put some things into words to share with others. That’s about it. From the time I was 5 right up until me, now, I’m still just trying to keep myself in between the lines. I try to stay within the boundaries that God wants me to . . . Sometimes I manage to stay within those lines and sometimes I do not. Sometimes I have crossed the lines and ran off the road and gotten stuck in the ditch for a very long time. Metaphorically speaking of course.
Even if you are not a writer but your are a Christian, you may find it easy to stay on the right track and other times you may be swerving a bit and drive a little on the outside of the lines. Maybe you have been saved in the past but feel a bit lost. And then if you have not accepted Jesus into your heart and you have found it hard just to find a road to stay on . . . No matter what – God loves you. He is there for you whether you are on the right side of the road or the wrong side. The definition of unconditional love is only exemplified best by God’s love for us. We can be bad, we can be good, we can be swerving, we can be tempted, we can be not even paying attention to all the controls/ mirrors or goofballs in our backseats of life. Nonetheless our God is watching, waiting, and loving us all the while.
Now I ask you . . .how can anything beat that proclamation? I submit nothing can. That should put some spring into your step!
I Peter 5:7