Feeling Out of Control?

SPEED scares me.

You want to see crazy? Ride with me in a car going over 40 mph when I’m the passenger. Not only am I a “backseat” driver, telling people HOW to drive,

My palms sweat, there’s a knot in my stomach. The same symptoms I get riding on a roller coaster, ski boat, snow mobile, motorcycle. I ride the brakes when I’m on a bicycle going downhill.

So imagine my amusement when my husband and I visited Los Angeles where we had to drive on multiple freeways: THE 405, THE 105, THE 605, THE 710, THE 5, and THE 110.

March 2014 LOS Angeles 226

Driving for five days at speeds that far exceeded my comfort zone, and dodging five lanes of even faster, more aggressive drivers…drove me bananas.

When I wasn’t counting down the miles and minutes on the GPS, my eyes were clinched tight. I kept a white-knuckle death grip on the arm rest. And I prayed.

Bottle-neck traffic that had us crawl at a snail’s pace was answered prayer.

No joke. Speed makes me crazy.

On those rare occasions that I ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle (only on rural roads) I remind myself to breathe rather than fixate on the black asphalt rushing below my feet. I cling to my husband’s rib cage so tight that he can’t breathe.

Isn’t it strange that clinging to something or someone when there’s a perceived threat can provide a sense of security…albeit it a false one. 

I doubt holding on for dear life to an arm rest or my husband will keep me safe. Even a seat belt can only do so much at death-defying speeds. But I pretend.

Then again, perhaps speed is not the problem. Perhaps it’s a lack of control that scares me because I’m not in the driver’s seat.

Which makes sense. Because even when both feet are on the ground and I hear about someone who was diagnosed with cancer, or a commercial plane that disappeared in the Indian Ocean, or the earthquake that jolted Los Angeles the day after we left…..

My instinct is to GRAB something and PRETEND everything will be alright.

I want to feel safe, have some sense of control.

So I think of every contingency; take every precaution. Isn’t that what wise people do?

·    Get a vaccine for the latest flu germ.

·    Eat right, floss the teeth, exercise, and get an annual health exam.

·   Buy insurance for the car. The house. My life.

·   Save and invest money. (Hide a little extra under the mattress. Never know when the banks will crash.)

·   Stock the pantry for natural disasters.

·   Lock the door, the windows, set the burglar alarm…just in case.

And for good measure, and fire insurance against hell, become a Christian and attend church regularly because surely bad things don’t happen to good people, right?

Uh, where does it say that in the Bible?

Fact: Life Happens. Like seat belts, my best efforts to be safe and plan for emergencies can only do so much.

I have many choices in life, but I have little control.

“Faith, prayer, and obedience are our requirements. We are not offered in exchange immunity or exemption from the world’s woes. What we are offered has to do with another world altogether.” (Elisabeth Elliot)

So I Believe. Pray. Obey. Cling.

To Yahweh, the Only God who is Sovereign and in control over the affairs of men, nations, and even the weather. For I’ve been born again in Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit, studied God’s Word, and learned experientially …

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”  (Psalm 18:2 NIV)



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