April 29, 2014
Easily 6:00 a.m. if not earlier
This was not supposed to happen – ever. I can’t stress that enough. I fought this, ignored it, lived in denial, threw passive aggressive pity parties and had some pretty epic temper tantrums alone in my car. I wish I could say that my emotions ebbed and flowed between excitement and rage, but for the most part I just fumed with anger at God. Not my most productive season.
Why all the anger? Because my little sister was getting married the next day. While thrilled, proud and over the moon excited for her and her fiance, at the time, it killed me. Without knowing, she represented yet another person getting everything I wanted and seemed so far from getting. I cried, yelled, and I berated God as if I knew what was best for me.
So with all of my feelings boiling over and with nowhere else to push them, I began the pilgrimage to Austin, Texas to marry my little sister off. My two-door Grand Am hurled down Highway 75 South just past Okmulgee, Oklahoma with the dark cloak of night still covering the fields whizzing by, and in that moment I let all of the emotions and feelings I pressed down burst out. Not because I wanted to, but because I could not find anywhere else to push them down. This was happening. I committed to stand by my sister as the Maid (not the Matron) of Honor in her wedding the next day.
Going faster than I am willing to admit down a dark road, I grew more and more angry. Other cars were going slow (the speed limit) so I switched lanes like a Formula One driver destined for victory. Frustrated, mad, and irritated I continued to speed.
Mad that another person got to get married when I selflessly gave of myself and didn’t get what I want. Pissed that God left me single in a place I never even really wanted to be. Mad that my sister gets a honeymoon and I have to go back to a classroom after this beautiful celebration. Mad that the number of single people shrinks each and every day, but I am never pulled out of the pool. Sad that my life did not look like what I knew it should.
You see, growing into an adult is hard. Just because you get older does not mean that you magically have all the answers and can get things done with ease while managing your emotions well. Adulthood makes those things harder. You have more responsibilities. For instance, before I left I knew I should get the headlights of my car cleaned because the beam was so faint. I struggled to see unless I used my high beams. Where I drove day in and day out, this did not prove a priority. However, this morning, this added yet another problem.
As I weaved back and forth down the road holding nothing back from God, livid, I now had the added annoyance of constantly adjusting my headlights. With my regular beams I couldn’t see at all on the dark highway, but if I used my high beams oncoming traffic couldn’t see. I kept adjusting my lights as cars came from the other direction. The radio blared, tears burned as they poured down my face. I yelled out to God. Exhausted and a little hoarse (mind you I was about one hour into about an eight hour drive), I stopped yelling. I flipped between my regular headlights and my brights for what felt like the 95,931 time. With my voice quiet I started to listen for the first time in a long time.
Just drive. I kept hearing “just drive”. Still annoyed, I thought, “um, yeah, got it” as I threw my hands up to switch my headlights emphatically again.
Wow, really God? What else would I do? Pull over on the dark road and run away? Of course I am just driving.
This time it permeated my soul. “Just drive.”
“Stop worrying about what came before. Stop worrying about where you think you should be. Stop stressing out about what other people think, just drive. You can feel all these feelings, but know that I’ve got you. Just drive. Trust me. Just drive. Don’t try to rush it. Just drive.”
Time and time again those two simple words have proven themselves to me. There are seasons that seem to be full of me wanting to rush ahead and control all the moving parts. I want to know exactly what comes next. But with simple and beautiful reminders, God brings me back to hurling down 75 South on that early morning in April. “Just drive.” He knows what lies beyond my headlights, and I don’t need to right now.
Even in the present day, years later, I still continue to learn to enjoy the ride wherever it takes me or doesn’t take me. God sees what lies beyond where my headlights stretch and strain to pierce the darkness. He sees the whole picture. He knows the whole path. Right now, I don’t need to know what comes next. I just need to trust God. This is the the chapter my story is at. If I try to skip ahead I won’t be ready for that part yet. It won’t make sense. The most beautiful stories develop naturally. This, right now, is beautiful. God authors the most poignant stories that glorify Him in the most intricate and beautiful ways. Who are we to rush them?
Whether it is your relationship status, a job, a move, a friendship, a relationship, grief, or feeling overwhelmed and stuck, trust God is at work. Trust He is good. Trust His plan. Let’s all just drive knowing as we lean into God He leads us to something more beautiful than we could ever fathom on our own. He knows our hearts and hears our cries. Rest in Him. And maybe get your headlights cleaned from time to time.