Monday, 28 August 2017

Focus on the Passengers, Not on the Road

I don’t know when it started... my obsession with driving from the passenger seat.

I want to say that it was one of my husband’s infamous wrong turns that started it. That instead of staying right, we turned left. And that the resulting time lost and inconvenience piqued my interest and heightened my senses.

But that wouldn’t be honest.

For no matter how many times we’ve made a wrong turn, we’ve always found our way again, and besides my husband seldom makes wrong turns.

Wrong turns may be a bit inconvenient, rob us of precious time and even are a bit unsettling, but usually they are no big deal.


And that’s just the thing. When you’re in unfamiliar surroundings and you make a wrong turn, you’re never quite sure where you’ll end up... right there at that moment you have no way of knowing just how bothersome or even dangerous this turn off might be.

And the not knowing... that’s the part I don’t like.

You see I like to be in the know. Like to know where I’m going and how to get there.

So this summer, as we vacationed in Orlando, I might not have been the driver, but my eyes were on the road. 

Just in case... you know, just in case the driver [my-great-with-directions-husband] failed to pay attention and made a wrong turn.

It’s like I felt somehow that my involvement... my focus on the road... my well-timed nudges would prevent any unnecessary and unexpected detours.

But God has a way of teaching us big truths in the little moments of life, and He had one in store for me this summer.

You see, despite my watchful, controlling gaze, my husband did make a wrong turn. And you know what? Yes, it was a bit inconvenient and caused us to arrive later than we had anticipated, but it was all right... no big deal.

Furthermore, he drove several times without the ‘security’ that my presence assures (smile – who am I kidding?) and he was quite fine. Got where he was going ‘in one piece’ as we say.

It was then that it dawned on me.

Maybe I can just relax. Take my eyes off of the road.

And let me tell you. It was work. It’s not easy for a control-girl to release the reins.

But I tried.

And as I relaxed, I realized something.

Instead of multitasking... splitting my attention here, there and everywhere (but mainly on the road), I was able to focus solely on my daughter. We joked and laughed, enjoyed the passing sites and had a refreshing conversation.

It truly was a delight.

And that got me to thinking... about my spiritual life.

As a Christian, I’ve long since handed the wheel over to God, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still try to drive from the passenger seat.

I keep my eyes fixed on the road... because you know - I know where I want to go and I know how I want to get there.

And I try to let Him [God] know, as often as I can that I don’t like wrong turns.  Don’t like the inconvenience and the time or pain it takes to get back on track... back on the path that I think I should be on. 

But Jesus... He’s whispering to me – ‘Focus on the passengers, not on the road.’

It’s like he’s saying, ‘I know where I’m taking you, and I am the way to get there. Trust me. Don't let the destination you dream of distract you from the heart of the matter. Focus on the passengers. Be my hands and feet.’

It’s advice that’s playing over and over in my mind as we get ready to start our sixth year homeschooling. A journey that hasn’t necessarily followed the path I had in mind... I can tend to focus on the road... on the destination I have planned, but God is whispering – ‘focus on the passengers, let Me do the driving’.

It’s the hope-filled wisdom I will need in the nitty gritty of the daily grind. When my eyes are fixed on the road, and the wrong turns come - when life doesn't unfold as I imagine it should - I will need to remember Who's driving and focus on the passengers.

I will need to remember my role as God’s ambassador... to show Him to a hurting people... fellow travelers along the way. I will need to see interruptions as opportunities to minister for Him.

I will need to simply love them like Jesus.

And the ‘wrong’ turns? They are not really wrong. They are filled with purpose and designed by God to draw me closer to Him... and make me more like Him.

My head knows this, but my heart says - it's scary... scary not knowing when a 'wrong' turn can occur or which road it will take me down, but God... His plans for me... for my children are perfect. And His presence never leaves me. 

So... I can trust Him because ultimately I know what He wants for me. And it is good.

What about you?

Are you a passenger driver or have you handed over full control?
What road are you so focused on that you forget the passengers?
Are you missing opportunities to love them like Jesus?
Why not take a moment to reflect today, and trust God to do the driving.

Grace and peace to you,

Bible verses for Meditation

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ  loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God. Ephesians 5: 1-2

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34


  1. And there are times when I just simply prefer being the driver. How's that for control? Hahaha
    Thank you for the lesson here, which isn't lost on me, but I know God is working on my heart so it can soak in just right.
    Love you!

    1. I know you know what it's like, Marv. :) And yep, I'm pondering on this one myself. Hugs & kisses!

  2. It's so easy to focus on my list, my agenda and forget to focus on the people in my path as I check off my list. Thank you for the reminder. I love all driving analogies as I write a lot about overcoming my fear of driving. You would probably not want to be a passenger in my car, lol.

    1. Glad you can relate, Valerie! Helps me know I'm not in this alone. :) And yeah, I don't like driving so much either, not that you can tell by how much I try to control the driver. :)

  3. What a good word! I can relate (unfortunately) in many ways... Bless you as your start your sixth homeschooling year! I was just telling someone this week how our youngest would always come to the kitchen between subjects and was very interested in the preparations going on, and how I would send her back to complete her schoolwork first, until it dawned on me that she could be learning and helping me in the kitchen. My daughter, at almost 23 now, she has surpassed me in her culinary expertise! Hallelujah!

  4. What a good lesson, Lora! Thanks for sharing your wisdom! And thanks for your kind words and blessing.

  5. Visiting from Deb Kitterman's today. I can be a terrible passenger at times but I don't like to be the pilot all the time either. The older I get the less I am being a backseat driver!

    1. Yes, Susan, maybe that wisdom comes with as we get older or should I say with experience. Still learning, though. :)

  6. Carlie,
    This is such a great post! I had written a comment on it earlier, but I guess it didn't save right? Today I'm stopping by via the #DancingwithJesus linkup and I'm glad I did. Your words are a poignant reminder in a world that is too busy.
    Praying you sense the presence of God as you write to encourage others!
    Be Blessed & Refreshed Today!
    ~Sherry Stahl

    1. Oh, thank you, Sherry! What sweet encouragement and prayer; I truly appreciate it. Thank you so much for blessing me!

  7. Such a great analogy! Love this. I am going to enjoy the driver and the passengers and not focus on the road today!

    1. Thanks, Joanne, that's my goal everyday, too.

  8. such a hard lesson at times - i just close my eyes...and pray for the best when my man-in-plaid does his own thing in the driver's seat. ( trusting and believing, sue

    1. Hard lesson, indeed, Sue! Obviously, I still struggle with it. Trusting and believing, too! :)

  9. Thanks for pointing our eyes to Jesus, Carlie. Oh, how I need Him to be the one behind the wheel. I tend to want to control things and then I take wrong turns. After that I feel guilty about my mistakes but then remember His grace. Then I readjust my thinking and let Him lead once again. I'm so grateful He is patient with us.


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