Driving forward through life


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It’s the season of learning to drive, as the days are getting lighter I’m seeing more and more learner ‘L”s on the roads of Milton Keynes. 

I think when you’ve been driving a few years you tend to forget how nervous you were learning, how you counted down the gears in your head, freaking out when your instructor introduced driving on the ‘real’ roads with very real roundabouts!

One of my first lessons  there was a pigeon in the middle of the road and I decided I would try and drive around because I didn’t want to squish him. My driving instructor was not best pleased as I swerved onto the opposite side of the road, avoiding the pigeon who then flew off anyway.

The scariest part of learning to drive for me wasn’t in the run up to the test, wasn’t in the taking of the test (twice!) and passing one minor short of the limit. The scariest part was going it alone when I’d passed. The realization the instructor had taken me as far as he could and now it was my turn.

My first solo driving experience started when my sister was late for work and had asked for a lift, I’d said OK and not registering that as soon as she got out of the car I would have to navigate my own way and had no one to back me up! You see I never realized while learning with my instructor that actually when the time came to drive without him, that’s when a lot of my learning would take place.

The learning started when I’d passed the test. There were bumps in the road, my second drive out in the car it ended up written off when someone went into the back of me – that was a serious confidence boost – not! After the tears and frustration subsided I realized that it’s not a failure if you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. You only fail if you don’t try.

We never stop learning, ever. We are all newbies at something, all the experts had a beginning.

Our journey to driving is a lot like our journey to finding Jesus. Before I became a Christian there were many people who were instrumental in pointing me to find him. Sunday school teachers painstakingly told me stories followed by juice and biscuits, there were many people in the church with a heart for young people, some role models even, the most instrumental ones providing space for me to ask questions.

I made a commitment to Jesus when I was 11-years-old, however at that point I still believed that I had to be ‘good’ for him to love me. I had to pass the test, when in reality the only requirement was for me to ask Jesus to live in my heart forever.

My 11-year-old brain grew into the sixteen year old who had an encounter with the Holy Spirit for the first time, in a worship service where I felt an inexplicable calmness that could have only been God – a deep set peace. There were bumps in the road, the times when I fell completely off the tracks so to speak but God didn’t give up on me.

My sixteen year old self continued on a journey of discovery, still thinking she had to work for God’s approval – my teenage self grew into a twenty-something who got involved with a house group. A group of amazing family that opened my eyes to the love of Jesus even more, they helped me discover the true meaning of Grace. That I couldn’t do anything to get God to love me any more than he does already, that I didn’t need to do anything more, this freedom made me want to dig deeper, I began to realize the Grace I had been given hadn’t come cheaply, and I wanted to know more, to serve better, to build a better relationship with God.

You see, while the learning had begun before I gave my heart to Jesus, that learning never stopped, if anything once I became a Christian, while I was growing I was discovering that the most important thing was to keep learning, keep reading my bible, keep discussing, keep digging deeper to find out more and more, to learn more, to press in and to go deeper.

Imagine if you learnt to drive, bought yourself a car, insured it and then just left it on the drive.  Would you learn anything? Would you grow in confidence driving, would you discover new routes, learn new things, reach new places? Nope. How pointless would that be? You’d have the freedom to go to so many places and do so many things but you’d not be using them and building on them.

This is what discipleship is all about – it’s about pursuing God, not stopping when we make a commitment to God, but carrying on, keeping on going to church, picking up the Bible, meeting with people to learn together. This salvation we are given is a gift, this freedom we’re given calls to be used to point other people to Jesus, if we sit and do nothing we miss out on so much.

So if you’ve made a commitment to Christ, if you’ve decided to follow him, don’t stop learning, don’t stop pursuing who this Jesus guy is, there’s always more to learn.

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