Now of course, learning to drive taught me to trust the brakes, start the car in neutral before engaging a gear, and check my blind spot before reversing, but there were ten other lessons learning to drive taught me about God, myself, and life. So without further ado, here they are.
- Don’t be oversensitive. Learning to drive meant being taught by people who didn’t always explain things as clearly as I needed, or who corrected me after I had tried so hard to not do that very thing. It taught me that just because someone was picking up on something I did wrong, did not mean that I as an actual person was in the wrong and a complete loser. It just meant I made a mistake.
- Accept correction. Along the same lines, it would be hard sometimes to accept what my instructors were saying. I would be driving along, sure as anything that I had turned that corner perfectly or was going at a good speed, and then they would tell me I was going too fast or they felt I was out of control of the vehicle. I didn’t do this perfectly at all, but things went a whole lot better, and I actually – believe it or not! – improved, when I took on board what they were telling me.
- Accept it as a hard thing and work at it. So many times I’d end up in tears because I just could not do certain procedures, no matter how hard I tried and how close I was to success. Dad constantly reminded me that learning to drive is simply easier for some people than for others. I find other things easy that others find incredibly hard, too; that’s just the way God’s made humanity. It was my ‘hard thing’. Once I accepted that, it gave me the grit to tackle a challenge, and a constant reminder to apply the principles from The Rebelution to my driving.
- Practice makes perfect, and good days follow bad ones. To be honest, there were times I actually felt like giving up and just forgoing the whole license thing, normally after a bad driving session. I’ll never learn to drive, I’d moan, let alone drive by myself. Then I’d remember how when practicing the piano, sometimes my fingers feel like two left feet, or I can’t master the timing – even if I did yesterday. In times like that, I’ve learnt that the best thing to do is to hop off the stool and come back tomorrow. When I do that, I often find myself playing that piece better the next time I pick it up, than I ever have before.
- My identity is in Christ. Who I am is not what I do or what I accomplish, let alone what others think of me. I was constantly given a hard time for being a late learner and taking a long time to learn to drive, but I learnt at the pace my family could cope with and where my confidence levels were up to. It helped to remember that I am a holy, loved, innocent, redeemed child of God, not a ‘learner driver’ or a ‘late comer’.
- It’s okay if a dream or ideal doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I really wanted such-and-such a person to teach me to drive, but they weren’t always available to teach me, and it actually caused some tension between us sometimes, as we struggled to communicate with each other. I had to let that ideal go, and find another solution that would actually work for me.
- I am me with all my flaws and that is okay. Say that out loud (or if you’re in public, whisper it!): I am me with my flaws [in my case, un-coordination!] and that is okay. I learnt to find ways to overcome my co-ordination difficulties that tries to judge distance and do three things at once. It was often tempting to just give up and say, ‘oh it’s too hard’, but then I’d think about the people in car accidents [oh the irony] who learnt to walk again, or those born with learning or physical difficulties who overcame them and reached their goal of Olympic runner or CEO, or those who just have a downright hard life in poverty and make the most of it anyway. When I think about people like that, how can I say my slight trouble with poor coordination is too big a hurdle to jump over? Sure, it’s hard, and yes it’s okay to have those flaws, but don’t let them stop you. Accept yourself for who you are and grow with it to accomplish the things in front of you.
- It is okay to fail at hard things (but don’t give up). We say that all the time; we say that failure makes you stronger, and it sounds… cliché. But looking back, it really is true. I have grown in character and in determination and in my self-confidence, and in driving itself, through learning to drive, and I am so glad I didn’t let failure stop me. It took a lot of prayer and I had to constantly remind myself of truth – I had pinterest graphics saying things like, do not feed the fears, and, I will not let fear of failure consume me; I will live out my calling – as my phone lock screen, and I pounded them into my memory, and I think all that helped me to rebuke fear.
- There is no danger in learning and doing new things. Okay, so not true. There is danger in new things like jumping in the ocean with a bleeding leg and trying to feed White Sharks, or jumping out of a plane without a parachute, or knee boarding (okay, so it wasn’t my first time knee boarding, but I did end up with ten stitches on my face! True story.) But my point is, if you’re like me and take time to warm up to new things, don’t be afraid of them and shy away from them altogether – yea be cautious, but new doesn’t always equal bad (example: when jumping out of a plane, you will have a parachute on]. Don’t be afraid to tackle a challenge with a set goal of learning a new skill at the end of it; it might turn out to be one of the best things you’ve ever done [like knee boarding – honest!]
- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Believe his word, and know that God is a real God who cares about our real problems. Recently as I’ve read through the Psalms, I’ve realised that the enemies David writes about are flesh-and-blood, real life enemies, and he praises God for giving him the strength to bend a bow of bronze, outrun his enemies, and physically rescue him. It’s okay to ask God for success in __________ (see Nehemiah 1) – he says to ask, and he loves to give good presents to his kids, and he says we can do everything he wants us to do through Jesus who will give us strength; but we also need to keep our hands open to receive that success however and whenever God sees fit.
So there you have it, folks! Ten things learning to drive taught me. I hope these things encourage you not to give up on the hard thing you’re facing at the moment, and I hope that I remember these lessons for the next challenge in front of me.