Getting it Right
Exactly two years ago, on October 1st 2010, I climbed up my personal rugged mountain and reached its peak. It had taken me a long long time to get there. What peak? Learning to drive a car! It was an enormous challenge for an over 50 year old. But with an excellent Instructor, a patient husband (who gave me lots of practice), the prayers of my family and friends and God’s abundant help, I finally made it.
And today, two years on, I received my full fledged Driver’s license! Yay!
It was a rainy day. As I came down our road that wet winter’s day I looked for my usual spot opposite our home to park in. Oh! A visitor to our neighbourhood had decided to park his car in that exact spot. I slowed down, wondering what I should do. There were many other cars dotted all over our street. A busy day down our usually quiet street.
I have to confess that parking is not my thing. In the early days after I’d got my provisional license, I would often need to park several times before I got it right. Either I was too far from the curb. Or I parked at a strange angle. It amazed even me how dense I could be about parking straight. And now – two years after I’d got my license – I still don’t get it right every time.
On this wet, wintry day where our neighbourhood seemed to be swamped with too many visiting cars, I drove towards the cul de sac at the end of our road. I decided to park near a neighbour’s house. But the road curved awkwardly just there and I didn’t do it right. Sigh! I moved the car. I did a U turn around the cul de sac and came back towards our home. Perhaps I could park in between two cars parked ahead? I did. Did I get it right? No. And there wasn’t much space to try moving out and re-parking. I decided to move again. It was beginning to feel a bit like a game of musical chairs (or cars) by now!
Next solution – go over to a side street, turn, come back and try again. So I did. I went up another little street, did a 3 point turn and came back towards our street. I couldn’t park by my home because there was a car parked right opposite and my parking there would block the way for other motorists. So I went further along and found yet another place to park. But guess what! No sooner had I parked there, than the car which had taken my usual spot decided to leave. Oh! After all that effort, my parking spot was finally available! Fancy that!
This time I was able to do it right. I went confidently along the cul de sac for a second time and came right up to my usual spot. And parked. Perfectly. And all was well!
You know, sometimes, I don’t get it right. And I’m not talking about my parking this time. I am talking about doing life. I make mistakes. I regret choices I make. I go down a wrong road on life’s pathway. I park in the wrong place. I wish I didn’t but I do. I say things I don’t mean to say. I am selfish. I want my own way. I am not sensitive enough to someone else’s need. Or I realise it but am too wrapped up enough in mine to care sufficiently. I get stressed. Or unhappy. I feel as if I can’t cope in life. Sometimes!
Do you find it happens to you too? Life is like a game of cards where I am dealt varying types of hands. I juggle my cards trying to win. Wanting to make it work. But not always getting things right. Trying hard. But stuffing up. Sometimes finding it hard to forgive myself when I do. Does that sound familiar?
I am encouraged to know though that I don’t have to get it right every single time. It’s good if I do. I can strive towards that end. But my goal is to live as best as I can. To live to an audience of One. To please the One who has my heart – my Father God. To love Him and to love others. If I live as best as I can in His eyes – all else will follow.
So yes, I will make mistakes. Mistakes that might make me wail, blush or shake my head in shame. I could grovel in them. Or I could grow through them. I could reject myself for every mistake I’ve made or learn through them. I could judge others when they fall or view their mistakes the same way I should view mine. With grace. With forgiveness. And with a special helping of God's amazing love.
Did you know that our God is a God of second chances? He is. I’ve made mistakes. Too many! Did they matter? Yes. But did they matter as in forever? No! I’ve gone to God with my sins, my shortcomings, my mistakes and have asked His forgiveness. And you know what? He’s forgiven me every single time.
When I was learning to drive, I made a very serious blunder. I pressed the accelerator instead of the break pedal. Thinking my foot was on the ‘break’, I kept pressing it! The car leapt forth like a horse, with painful repercussions. I went into a parked car. It turned into my worst nightmare.
I could have stopped then and there in my driving adventures. I could have told myself ‘It’s no use. I will never be able to drive.’ But God told me different. He told me to keep learning. And so I did. I have a healthy respect for my car now and also am cautious about my driving abilities. I depend totally on God as I drive so I would never make such a dreadful mistake again.
Yes, He is God of second chances – not just when it comes to driving but in every sphere of life. When I read the Bible narratives I am encouraged that God called many who didn’t always get it right – Peter, Moses, David, Jacob, Abraham… to name a few. They stuffed up. But He used them. Mightily!
How about you? Have your forgiven yourself for that wrong you did the other day? Have you forgiven your neighbour for the wrong she did to you? Our God is a God of second chances. And His grace is always enough. Do you need it today? Go on. Grab hold of it. Life is too short to live with regrets. He offers a brand new slate and a brand new beginning. Every day.