The times you shouldn’t ‘borrow’ cars.

So on this frosty, feeling-kind-of-baltic, Highland Friday, I am excited.

Because tomorrow is the weekend, and tomorrow, I get to travel to Edinburgh and hang out with one of my favourite-ever people for the day.

Now, me and Katie, we go back a long way. We’ve travelled some of life’s storms together, and she’s also a little-bit-crazy-in-the-best-possible way.

I have too many hilarious memories to possibly fit into in one blog post (I mean, who could forget that ‘pencil’ moment at that church party?!), but I do have a personal favourite which I just can’t not feature.

About 8 years ago, when I was a 20 year old fresh-faced-church-youth-worker and Katie was still called ‘Spud’ and one of my youth group… she ‘borrowed’ my car.

Let me explain.

I was running an after school club, it was the summer term, I think we were doing some kind of mechanics project outside, and my white Primera (also known as the ‘Dad wagon’) was parked up neatly in the school quad. My car was open, my music was playing and my keys were roughly thrown onto the passenger seat. What can I say? We (well, I was only supervising!) were working on a couple of cars nearby and I was pretty trusting back then…

I had my back to where my car was parked because I was talking to a group of young people, when I simultaneously became aware of 2 things. One. Katie was no longer present in the group of young people I was talking to. Two. My car engine had just started.

I turned around to see Katie, laughing her head off, sitting behind the wheel of my car.

‘Haha’, I thought. Very funny.

Until she put her foot on the accelerator.

And a laughing-finding-this-hilarious 12 year old girl began to drive my car across the school playground.

Fortunately, I don’t think she could change out of first gear, so I could at least run alongside the slowly rolling car, shouting ‘STOP!’ and feeling like I was being proactive. She had helpfully locked the doors, so I was left banging on the windows finding the whole occassional incredibly UN-funny, as Katie continued her vehicle-meander down the drive and towards the school gates.

As the school gates (and end of relative safety) approached, I, in desperation, did what any responsible youth worker would have done… And jumped on the bonnet of the car… (obviously, my extreme 7 stone of body weight would have always been successful in stopping a moving vehicle… obviously…)

Honestly, this scene is so funny to think about. A small laughing 12 year old girl slowly driving a huge white primera, with a small-but-now-kind-of-angry, red haired, still-looking-too-young-to-drive girl lying on the bonnet yelling, ‘Katie. This is NOT funny. STOP RIGHT NOW!!’

I would love to tell you that Katie stopped out of some kind of fear or respect for me. She actually stopped because she was laughing so incredibly hard that she couldn’t drive anymore.

And so, this story, that is another ‘become-the-stuff-of-legend’ type tale, was born.

I did see the funny side. About 3 years later 😉

But do you know what? It makes me think about being in the driving seat. And think about it hard.

Because whoever is in the driving seat, they ultimately direct where the car is going. They control the speed. They control the route. They keep the car safe. You can be trying to navigate from the passenger seat, or backseat driving from the rear seats, or lying on the bonnet screaming your head off… But it’s the one with the wheel in their hands and the pedals at their feet who is making the calls that really matter.

And in life, I’m really guilty of telling Jesus that He can drive, and then trying to take the wheel back. Or proclaiming that I trust Him enough to direct this whole thing, and then refusing to give Him the keys. Or pretending that I’ve given Him authority over ever area of my life, when actually I’m just allowing Him to sit in the passenger side of a duel-control car that means He can sometimes put the breaks on. Even worse, often when He is driving, and I have surrendered, I still sit in the passenger seat complaining that I know a better, faster and more effecient route, or I sit in the backseat telling Him that His clutch-control could be better, or I lie on the bonnet yelling, ‘Jesus. This is NOT funny. STOP RIGHT NOW!!’

But actually, I need to realise that He is God and He is good. He knows best how to drive this whole thing.

I crash into stuff. I get lost. I have no spacial awareness. But He does. He sees the beginning from the end. He is completely safe and completely trustworthy. And life is better when He is in the driving seat, with the keys, and with my company and conversation rather than my commentary and criticism. He’s more interested in the journey than the destination sometimes. And that’s ok. More than ok. He lets me choose the playlist. He invites me to partner with Him. I love that I can trust Him completely as I prepare to move halfway round the world. I love that this adventure that sometimes seems scary and unknown is none of those things to Him. I love that He knows my steps. I love that. But He can drive.

Oh boy, He can drive.

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Katie Lucia ‘Spud’ Basil Murphy. You are a legend. You are mental. And I am so glad to be seeing you SOON! This makes my heart happy.

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