I kind of hate driving.
I passed drivers ed, passed my driving test (although that story is an article in and of itself), and even though I’m not old enough to get my license, I can drive myself to the classes I take at the public high school.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be able to drive. I wanted the freedom. I wanted the independence. I wanted to go where I wanted to go without the constraints of my family’s schedule.
But once I turned 14 and got my learner’s permit (on my birthday), the illusion faded.
Driving was scary. It was a lot of pressure to anticipate other drivers’ actions, and remember all the traffic laws, and everything else to keep track of. I made countless mistakes, some of which could have been disastrous.
For a long time, I avoided driving. I hated the feeling of worry and anxiety. I hated that I wasn’t perfect at it.
But then something hit me: maybe God was using my lack of confidence in my driving abilities to teach me an important lesson.
As a perfectionist, I have a tendency to get wrapped up in my successes and failures. It’s an unhealthy mental process that leaves me swinging from feelings of failure to feelings of pride. I become so focused on myself, that I forget about God.
The Bible is far from silent on the issue of pride. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In fact, pride is one of the most rebuked vices in the entire Bible.
Why is pride such an important issue to God? C.S. Lewis sums it up perfectly: “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
As long as we are proud we cannot know God.
As long as we are focused on ourselves, our wants, our desires, our shortcomings, our successes, we cannot focus on God.
Whatever it is that drives you to pride, whether it’s your grades, your athletic ability, your musical talents, your accomplishments in your community–even your consistent Bible study, or your regular volunteerism–you have acknowledge it.
It’s so easy for us to slip into pride, to compare ourselves–positively or negatively–to others. The only way to get rid of our pride is to acknowledge that we have it, and then to ask God for help.
We have to take our focus off of ourselves, and onto Jesus.
We have to remember that we will never be good enough–not good enough at driving, not good enough at school, not good enough at sports, not good enough at following God’s commandments–to deserve God’s grace.
That’s why Christ laid down his life. If our hearts are filled with pride, we can’t appreciate the importance of Christ’s sacrifice.
We are not enough, but Jesus is enough.
And that is the power of the Gospel.
Over a year after I started driving, I’m still not an overly confident driver. I still make mistakes, and I still run through worst case scenarios in my head.
But now, I can keep my focus in the right place. When I make a mistake, I remember that I’m not perfect. I remember that God is watching out for me. And I remember the boundless grace God has given me.