“In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” – Proverbs 3:6 Amplified
“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18 Amplified
July 2nd 2013
Last week I took my road test for the first time in Texas and failed. I had become crippled by the spirit of fear. When I went to take the test I was not sure about my performance of one particular driving maneuver. That lack of confidence paralyzed me so that I was not able to get out of the DPS (Department of Public Safety / Department of Motor Vehicle) parking lot! The maneuver was parallel parking.
This was not my first time taking a road test; it was my 5th. The prior 4 times I took were in New York. My first attempt was when I was 17 years old; I am now 34. My father had paid for me to take a new driver’s education course offered by my high school at the conclusion you were scheduled to take your road test. The other three times were over a one year period as I began the process of preparing myself to relocate to Houston last year; I signed myself up for lessons at a local driving school. The same school actually that had sponsored the driver’s education course I took when I was a teenager. Unlike in New York, I would be living in a more spaced out and rural area where I would need to know how to operate a car.
Before last year, it had been about 13 years since I had been behind the wheel. See, when I first took my road test it traumatized me. Without any exaggeration on my part, my road test examiner appearance resembled that of the Unabomber. However instead of a hood, he wore a black baseball cap that read, “DMV” with aviator sunglasses that hid his eyes. During my exam, I had missed his verbal cue when he instructed me to try a parallel park. As I proceeded with the road test, a motorist from the other side of the road screamed “You are going to fail!” This shook me up so much, that my next maneuver, a left-hand turn was wider than the broad side of a barn. As I exited the vehicle (after being told I had failed), I almost left my learner’s permit. I was so distraught, and in tears, I just wanted to get out of the vehicle. It turned out that I was my examiner’s last tester, and when I left the car he got in his own, and peeled off like a bat out hell.
I waited about a year or so later before getting back behind the wheel. My old choral teacher from high school was gracious enough to offer to teach me how to drive. One day as we were exiting the highway onto an extremely narrow two way street; we were side swiped by a car that wanted to get passed me illegally. I ended up rear ending a parked car. In that moment, I saw my short life flash before my eyes. My former teacher’s car was totaled, and we both suffered from a few injuries. For me, I had lingering back and knee spasms.
Fast forwarding, I began to take driving lessons again about two months before my wedding and continued to till just weeks before my relocation to Texas. I ended up taking about 18-20 or so lessons in total. After each sixth, lesson, they scheduled for me to take a road test. Looking back at why I failed was always the same. I did not indicate the confidence needed to be behind the wheel; that my steering was inconsistent, and I did not perform sound decisions when making maneuvers during the test.
The funny thing is by all accounts from my instructors (including my husband and an uncle who is a truck driver); say I am a skilled driver. However, because I have the tendency to over think while I drive I have in the past allowed my own nerves to freak me out. In my husband’s words, he says I complicate the process. He often says while we are out “Just drive, babe, just drive!”
On my road test day, I just knew I was going to pass. My husband had me up driving the highways and byways that morning since 7am; my exam was not till 4pm. However, when we pulled up into the designated area where I had to wait for my turn; I noticed that the first maneuver I would be tested on was parallel parking. At that moment my heart sunk in my chest. I realized I had still not mastered the very lesson God had been trying to teach me through the entire experience… how to truly rely on him with blind faith in this situation. I was still placing all my confidence in my abilities. I was still somehow operating on my own timetable. God’s ultimate plan in all this had not completely materialized through me yet… I still had to learn how to yield to the wisdom of God’s Positioning System (GPS)… the Holy Spirit.
To be continued… in Part 2.
© 2013, Lela Jefferson Fagan. All rights reserved.