Sunday I took my 15 year old out for a driving lesson. He's had his driving permit for over 6 months. He's had many hours of behind-the-wheel experience. He's completed all of his driver's training and he's a decent driver (better than his sister's were at that age). He's driven our SUV and our "little car" (Hyundai Accent) to the point of boredom. He's actually turned down driving opportunities - "Nah, it's okay," he says, "you drive."
But Sunday was a special driving lesson. One that he'd been waiting for, eagerly pestering me for months. "When can I drive the Mustang?" You see, the Mustang has a manual transmission. And 8 cylinders. Very powerful, very cool, but also a little trickier than what he was used to. He was very confident in his skillz, however. Undaunted as only a 15 year old can be in the face of new challenges.
We went to the local park and drove around the parking lot for a while. It didn't take long before he had a healthy new appreciation for the power, yes, but also the challenge of mastering the clutch and gear shifting. He practiced starting in stopping, slowing, turning, etc. all in 1st gear. Then he practiced 1st to 2nd to 1st to 2nd. He only stalled out once, so he got to practice starting the car up. And finally he experienced putting the car in reverse and backing up.
It was a short driving lesson, relatively speaking. The more important lesson may have been the reminder not to be overly confident in our ability: past success doesn't always translate to competence in something new.
I see this often in myself and others. We're good at something so we assume we'll be good at similar things. We don't always appreciate the hidden challenges, trusting in our innate abilities. I believe this is an inherent flaw woven into the fabric of our human nature. It's this weakness that leads us away from seeking God's hand in all things, at all times. We believe we've got it, life is well in hand. Then, after a few shaky attempts we realize we're not quite ready after all. It's then that the wise turn to Him and the weak turn to "crutches".
Lord, help me to remember that you're always with me. I don't have to prove anything. Where I lack the skills I need, you complete me.