As Christians we many times feel an obligation to do everything, to try harder to wedge in one more thing to do for Jesus. It can be an exhausting trap.
Trying to do things alone without the help of another, others and the Other is like trying to push a car uphill. Well, at least that was my enlightenment during my prayer time this morning.
It was like a movie playing in my head and went something like this.
I am pushing my 1962 Ford Falcon. We called her Old Blue. She has dents in every fender, bench seat, a three-speed manual column shift and no air conditioning, but I’m 16 and I love her.
However, in my picture she has decided to quit on me and I am trying to push her up a slight hill. There are several things wrong with this picture. First, I can only push her a couple of feet and she rolls back to where I began. Second, there is no one to steer or guide her if I do get her going. Third, I am constantly aware of the fact that I am getting no where in the effort.
A friend is with me. Old Blue still refuses to start. The friend offers to steer. She also notes that the car is still in first gear. She puts it in neutral. I push and she steers. We get farther this time because someone is directing the vehicle and because the wheels are rolling better.
I can even push Old Blue up the short incline and let it coast down the other side, it builds speed for the next small hill but even with me pushing we can’t get up the hill. As she starts to roll backwards, my friend wisely puts on the brakes. I am keenly aware that even with teamwork, this car is going absolutely nowhere without Someone who knows what to do.
There is a large person with me, most likely a man but he is not my father. Old Blue still refuses to go anywhere. The man checks to make sure I have gasoline, oil and water, checks the engine. He jiggles a few wires and tells me to start the car.
She starts with lots of spurts and sputters. She’s running rough, but she is running. He offers to ride with me to make sure I get somewhere to get help for Old Blue. We start out, but I have no idea of where to go or what kind of help to get for the car.1
I don’t want to appear stupid and so I just begin driving thinking I will figure it out after a while. Understanding I am wandering aimlessly and feeling self-conscious that I don’t know where I’m going and being unwilling to admit it to the man, I tell him I think Old Blue’s running well and offer to drop him off. We stop and he gets out.
I am aware I am going somewhere, but I have no idea where.
I am in Old Blue, but the man is driving. I am in the passenger seat. The man knows exactly where he is going and I am simply along for the ride. I feel safe knowing he knows where to go.2
We aren’t on the way to get Old Blue fixed because when the man drives her, she operates perfectly. He is driving me to an important meeting but I don’t know how to get there. However, he knows exactly where it is. I relax and enjoy the ride.
For the first time in a long time, I am at rest.
The man is still driving Old Blue because I have learned, he is the only one who can get me where I need to go and he seems to be the only one who can drive her successfully. She has refused to cooperate with me at the wheel.
I am no longer in the passenger seat though. My friend3 is there and I am in the back seat. I have given my friend authority of certain aspects. And I am okay with that. I am still in charge, but I need another to help me grow into what I am destined to become. I have given her authority and so I allow her to ride in the front.
My back seat position allows me more time to focus on the rest I need to be in charge of other parts of me that are burgeoning and need my direct attention. She is in charge of those that are running and require maintenance.
My life has become bigger than me and I am so grateful for the other.
Old Blue has morphed in a van, still blue of course. The man is still driving. Thank God because we would never get anywhere if it wasn’t for him. My friend is in the passenger seat, but there is now a tribe of people in the van.
There is so much to be keep tabs on that my friend has recruited more to help. I am all the way in the back. There is now a special bed made for me and my job is clear and specific. I am to rest more. The resting is all about connecting and releasing the things of me that can be given away.
Whatever is happening with me has outgrown anything I could ask, think or imagine.4 The one thing I know beyond all other things is this happened because I stopped trying to push the vehicle and allowed the Other to drive. In addition, I gave authority to another who then brought on others to make things happen.
Still I am just me, only more of who I am because I stopped trying and just started resting as Jesus took the wheel of my life. Finally, I have learned, I can only be self sufficient if I rely fully on Christ’s sufficiency.5
Self-effort gets me no where fast. Allowing Him to be in charge and others to help me, I become an unstoppable force for the Kingdom of God.
“We have become His poetry, a recreated people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.”6
What about you? Who has the wheel of your life? Who is your Other? Who is your another? Who are your others?
1 Proverbs 19:21 NLT
2 Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Ephesians 3:19-20 TPT
3 Ecclesiastes 4:12 MSG
4 Ephesians 3:19-20 TPT
5 Philippians 4:13 AMP
6 Ephesians 2:10 TPT
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and coach. Her bookSweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the #1 Christian weight loss memoir on Amazon. Sweet Grace Study Guide gives practical tips on weight loss. Her new book, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, published Dec. 2014, shares the stories of 17 individuals on the weight loss journey and includes much information from Teresa. Downloadable pdfs of all books are available under the products tab.
Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group provides support, encouragement, weekly videos, action steps and an online group for those wanting to be intentional about their weight loss efforts.
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