Thursday, April 11, 2013

Driving in Circles

 It was the fastest he had ever driven, and it was both exhilarating and a bit frightening.
 My husband, Alan, was turning 60 and I wanted to buy him something special for his birthday. However, I’m not that into buying stuff. We have enough stuff. I’d rather buy a memory; an experience that might be fun, or meaningful, or unique; something that will create an unforgettable memory.
So I thought about it, and came up with this; he has always wanted to drive a race car. Drive it really fast; hopefully without wrecking. So I found a Groupon for something called “NASCAR race experience”. You pay to go to one of the NASCAR tracks, drive an actual car that has been raced, and see how fast you can go. Sounds fun, right? Alan was ecstatic!
race car
To add to the memory Alan’s brother, Pete, and long-time friend, Floyd, went with him. Before they let them on the track there was some preparatory instruction. They learned how to read gauges like the tachometer, and where you’re supposed to run on the track. Grooves? There are grooves on a racetrack? Turns out there are.
Once that’s completed, they still had to sign their life away. THEN they got assigned a car to drive. Each of them had a “spotter”, who gave them directions through the radio in their helmets. He relays information, like how many rpm’s to run and where to drive on the track to get away from traffic. His job was to keep them safe. They were in constant contact with them, and if they didn’t respond verbally and physically to their instructions they could actually shut the car down without permission!
The three guys competed to see who went the fastest and thus earn bragging rights.
They had a blast! It was certainly a memory Alan will treasure. No one crashed, even though they went over 142 mph. But the funny thing is; the car just kept going in circles. Left turn. Another left turn. Another one. None of them ever really went anywhere.
Looking back on my life, I recognize I had seasons just like that; going really, really fast and thinking I was getting somewhere. But in reality I was just going in circles and never got anywhere different.
Why did I think that busyness was the same as meaningful activity? I’m not sure; maybe it was just a habit. Maybe it was the tapes playing in my heads, thinking that as long as I was doing something I was productive. Either way, I wasted a lot of energy!
I wish I had understood them that going fast isn’t the point. Going deliberately and intentionally in the direction God chooses is all that is necessary. He never means for us to go through life without direction. He wrote His word to give it to us! He promises that He will “instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” (Proverbs 4:11-12) His is the voice we hear, saying “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) The best part? He takes us places we could never have gone on our own. Those places can be fun, or scary, or challenging. They all serve to demonstrate that He is the ultimate memory-maker!
Because driving in circles is fun in a race car. But not in life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.        Proverbs 3:5-6
Further reflection:
1. Describe a time when you, too, felt like you were going in circles without really getting anywhere.
2. How did it feel?
3. Use your concordance to find verses that promise God will give you direction when you seek it from Him.
Father, I am so grateful that You not only promise to give us direction when we seek it, but You are so creative in where and how You take us there! Help me use my time and energy to do those things that matter—those things that get me where you want me to go. You are the best memory-maker there is!

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