Pressing that Brake Pedal
It was a busy busy day; yes, one of those days. I swung out of our home by 8 a.m. to have a blood test, returning an hour later for breakfast. After my rumbling tummy was gratified, I was ready to brave the shops to get my grocery shopping done. Once that was over, I turned my little car into our driveway, smiling in contentment as I approached our home.
Moving my foot onto the brake pedal, I eased along our driveway. I stopped a moment to open the garage door then moved my car with care into my allotted spot. I can’t stop thanking God these days for our beautiful new home. I can’t stop thanking Him for our lovely level driveway. I feel grateful to Him that I can now park my car inside a garage rather than out on the street.
I’m new to this facet of driving in and out of garages. In my former home it was way too steep to even consider going up our driveway. When I needed to wash my car, my husband had to drive it up for me. As I turned off the engine that day, I said “Lord, thank you for teaching me to use my brake pedal.”
There was a time when I should have pressed that brake pedal but didn’t. I was then an L-plate driver. We’d gone for a picnic and on our way back home, my beloved suggested I get some needed driving practice. It was the first time I’d reversed when starting my drive. It did not go well. In fact … it was a disaster. As I swung out of my parking space, I realised with surprise that I was on the wrong side of the road. I tried to rectify it as fast as I could, but forgot to turn my steering wheel first so it would stop pointing towards the parking space we’d just left. That parking space had a little white car next to it.
I pressed my brake pedal. Or thought I did. What happened next was the stuff nightmares are made of. My husband’s large beautiful white car galloped like a horse, shooting back into where it had already been. Apparently I was pressing the wrong pedal. Unfortunately I couldn’t change it. “Stop” said my husband. Did I listen? Not really. Well, I knew I had to stop, but I couldn’t. The next moment, I’d swept the little white car away. That wasn’t all. I kept going. Our car was a powerful steed—rising and moving with an agility and a swiftness to be reckoned with. Oh no! I saw a pond ahead of us. Would we land inside it? My heart was pounding. My eyes were large pools of molten lava. My husband spoke again, louder ‘Stop!’ Finally with great effort (and God’s welcome help), I managed to force my foot left and stopped the car. I was trembling.
The owner was angry. Very angry. Very very angry. Naturally. Fortunately her Mum and Grand mum were kind. It actually ended very well for them with the owner getting a brand new car. I shudder as I think back on the incident. I did learn to press that brake pedal, but what a costly lesson! It has made me extra careful when I drive, knowing that my car could well be a deadly weapon in my hands. Whew!
There are times when I need to use a different kind of brake pedal. Know what I mean? The moments when someone’s rude to me and my instinct is to retaliate in kind. When my son was little and his behaviour challenged me, I'd often forget to press the right brake pedal to stop me from saying things I didn’t mean.
There are times God says ‘Wait’ and it takes a lot of courage and patience to press that brake pedal. There are times I want to act rather than to listen. I have to press the brake pedal on my desires so I can stop to pay attention to my Guide. After all, He knows far better than I do what life is all about. There are seasons when it’s someone else’s turn to take over and then I have to press that pedal again in order to allow her or him to have the parking spot.
Sometimes pressing my brake pedal may be necessary. Sometimes (like what happened with my learner driving), pressing it is absolutely essential for survival. Oh that I might learn to press my brake pedal when the Holy Spirit prompts me. So that I drive not my own little car of self-importance but the vehicle of a God-honouring life to the praise of His glory.
Did you need to press your life’s brake pedal recently?
What did it cost you when you didn't?
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:6