Buckle up.
Turn the key.
The ignition starts.
Foot on the brake.
Release the parking brake.
Put the car on D for DRIVE.
Check your mirrors.
Hands at 10 and 2.

Slowly release the brake, and
put that foot on the gas.

Go 10 mph.
Okay, go a bit faster.
Stay on your side of the road.
You’re too close to the shoulder!!
Go towards the middle a bit.
Too far.
Go back.
Check your mirrors.
Hands at 10 and 2.
Turn left here.
Park on the side.
Okay, stop the car.
Put it on Park.

Breathe.

Let’s go again.
This time,
You decide
where to go,
And I’ll watch
And warn you
If you get
too close,
Too far,
Too slow,
Too fast,
And if you need to stop.

Now,
Start the car,
Release the brake,
10 and 2,
And go–
While I hold
This door handle
And my breath.

——-

Exercising Faith
If you want an example of exercising faith, there it is:  Teach a 15-year old how to drive your family vehicle for the very first time. This is my son…and me…right now.

This is a “deep breath” and “white knuckle” season of life for parents who’ve ever faced the task of teaching their child to drive.

It’s a challenge to let go of the controls of a vital part of our everyday-ness, and let someone untrained, unexperienced, and unfamiliar with it all do the driving while we literally sit on the passenger seat…learning to trust someone we truly have no control over…(but wish we could at times).

Trusting our inexperienced child–(with all the foolishness, bravado, and timidity that goes with that age)–at the wheel of our car is difficult, but we still do it. Why do we find it difficult to trust the Creator of this earth with our life, our life’s plan, and even its direction?  He’s the one who set in motion the stars and planets and cycles of life. He’s the one who, of all the titles we could give him, asks us to call him “Father”… because not only does He love us, but He also knows our dispositions, our tendencies, our heart, and loves us despite how we feel about Him.  And still, we find it difficult to trust Him.

Is it just because we can’t see him? Because we don’t or sometimes can’t understand His ways? Is it because we can’t tell Him what to do…or, essentially, control or direct Him?

Perhaps it’s because we can’t control the outcomes nor the causes of events. And we don’t know the end of something that we’ve started or whatever it is we’re going through. And we have to trust that He knows not only what will happen in the end, but that He’s well aware and involved with us as we go through it even though we can’t see Him. It’s like driving with our eyes closed, and he’ll be the navigator if we let him.

Not my Will
I just find it interesting that when we submit our will to God as we live our life, it is like being the willing student driver. We don’t know what to expect. We’ve never done this before. We’re still learning what the rules are, what we should do, how to do it, and the results and consequences of our actions. So we listen carefully, do our best, and follow the instructions given to us.  We, as the student, willingly align our will to the teacher/navigator.  We obey…not only because we need to…but because we want to…because we trust our navigator and teacher to show us the way to go and what we need to do.  This puts “not my will, but yours, be done”…in a very practical way.

But there are also times when the teacher practices “not my will, but yours, be done”.  This is when he allows the student to choose the direction in which to go, when to stop, when to go.  The teacher doesn’t take control of the wheel at all…but sits as the guide, the navigator.  The teacher may warn, give hints, give advice, teach, and chastise…but ultimately, it’s still up to the student driver to do the actual driving.  He may heed what’s being said or ignore it.  He may do as instructed or not.  He may go as directed, or go his own way.  Ultimately, this is where the teacher recognizes that the student will still do as he will…and allows the consequences of those actions to take place.  In a very real sense, the teacher is saying, essentially, “I will give you the teachings, instructions, and direction to point you to where you need to go (my will), and if you follow them, we’ll both get there successfully.  Still, not my will, but yours, is what eventually will be done.  You’re the driver.  You choose which way to go.  But I’ll be here by your side if you need help.”

Such is our Heavenly Father.  Such is what we call “free will”.  He will not take over our will and drive for us.  He would much rather allow us to choose to do His will…willingly.  If we will align what we want to match what He wants, and do so because we want to, then we have only begun the process of “not my will, but Thine, be done”.   We’re not giving ourselves up.  We may be giving up the idea of doing our own thing in our own way, but in the process of “losing our self” and following God’s will instead, we discover who God is…and become a little more like Him.

In that sense, we don’t have to be driven to be with God or be like Him.

Rather, we are self-driven, willingly aligning our will…to His.  It takes practice.  It’s challenging at times.  It’s a white-knuckling, deep breath kind of experience. It requires trusting Him…even though we can’t see him.  Someone once said, “Of course, risk-taking is inherently failure prone.  Otherwise, it would be called ‘sure-thing-taking’.”

To be able to willingly say, “not my will, but thine, be done”…

That. Is. Faith.

 

The LDS Lamplighter

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