Hi, my name is Whitney, and I’m a backseat driver.
I don’t really know when it happened. As a kid, I relished sitting in the front seat, serving as navigator to my mom or dad on long car rides. Back then I wasn’t concerned with how they were driving or the routes they wanted to take; after all, they were the adults and knew what they were doing, right? I was perfectly content to look out the window for mile markers and exit signs and compare what I saw outside with the atlas on my lap.
But anymore I almost can’t stand riding shotgun. Correction: I almost can’t stand myself riding shotgun. Nowadays it’s rare for me to be someone else’s passenger. I spend at least 10 hours a week in the driver’s seat going to and from work and running errands, and I am the one thinking about how I’m driving and deciding - sometimes last minute - which direction I’m going to go. So when it’s my turn to play passenger (typically to my husband), I can’t seem to fully relinquish control to the driver. My husband is likely too polite to say anything negative about my behavior; considering the number of gasps and *suggested* directions that pass from my lips, I find that quite impressive.
As I’ve been meditating on this, I realized this scenario is a metaphor for my relationship with God. God is of course the driver. In the driver’s seat of my life, he can look in the rearview mirror to see my past, check the side mirrors to see what’s happening in my present, and look forward through the windshield to see what’s up ahead. He’s like my parents were on road trips, handing me an atlas, helping me to notice the road signs placed along my path and setting parameters for my journey. As the front seat passenger, it’s my job to do what I can to assist him, the driver, which means listening to his instructions, trusting his judgement, and communicating with him frequently along the way. Just like I did when I was a kid. However, things start to go awry when I start acting like a backseat driver. I act as if I have the point of view of the driver, but from the passenger seat I can’t see all the he sees no matter how hard I try. Any decisions I make from this perspective are shortsighted. Busy focusing on critiquing, I’m oblivious to the signs he’s placed along the way, miss my exits, and land us on an unnecessary detour.
So I’ve decided to take a lesson from my younger self and sit back and enjoy the ride.
Written by Whitney
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.