Thursday, September 9, 2010

Take the Wheel God

A couple of years ago I did a book signing for my first book, Life is a Buffet So Save Room for Dessert.  It was at the Discover Life Bookstore and Café in Norfolk, VA, a really nice bookstore with café lattes and nice comfortable chairs.  I was kind of nervous because being in the public eye is something God is using to stretch me like a rubber band.  Sometimes I feel like I’m going to snap, but I don’t.  God just keeps on stretching and I always manage to survive the thing I dread all day the day before.  
The book signing was not your typical two or three hour event.  This one was from 9:00am to 3:00pm, six hours.  The store wanted me there to accommodate all of their Sunday services, which started at 7:00am.  Yes, I said 7:00am.  These are serious Christians.  I would be snoring underneath my seat if I attended church at 7:00am.  God would be saying, “What in the world is that noise?  Let me reach down there and slap her up side her head and wake her up.”  That’s why I don’t attend church at 7:00am.  It’s best for my Christian walk if I attend a later service.
Anyway, I got up early and put on my Sunday best.  I made my sister, Robbie Lee go with me since she’s the one that arranged the six hour book signing telethon event.  We jumped in the car and headed down the road.  I was driving along when I suddenly realized that we didn’t pray about the success of the book signing the night before.  So I suggested that Robbie Lee pray while we were driving there.  Robbie Lee gave me a look because I think she was planning on sleeping during the drive to the store and I had rudely interrupted this plan with my request for prayer.  Robbie Lee agreed, however, and bowed her head and closed her eyes.  Out of habit, I did the same thing.  Fortunately, God gave me a kind reminder that He appreciated my faith, but He wasn’t up to driving the car that morning and that I should keep my eyes open and on the road ahead.  I quickly opened my eyes and lifted my head.  It was true, I was driving the car.  Right in the middle of Robbie Lee’s sincere praying I busted out laughing.

“What in the world are you laughing at?” asked Robbie Lee, with an angry look on her face.  “Can’t you see I’m trying to pray?  What happened?”  It took me a moment to stop laughing.  “I bowed my head and closed my eyes to pray along with you and God reminded me that I have this whole driving thing going on over here,” I said.  “You closed your eyes and bowed your head while you were driving the car?” asked Robbie Lee in disbelief.  “Yeah, isn’t that a scream?” I replied.  Robbie Lee looked worried.  “Why don’t we both pray with our eyes open?  That way I can watch you while you watch the road,” suggested Robbie Lee.  “Can I help it if I’m a real woman of faith?” I asked proudly.  Robbie Lee stared at me, trying to figure out if we were truly related.  Perhaps I was an alien from another planet.  I just smiled and continued to drive, with my eyes open of course.  
After the prayer we stopped at a fast-food restaurant to get something to eat.  We went through the drive-through and ordered a sausage biscuit for Robbie and a cinnamon raisin biscuit for me.  We ate the biscuits as we were driving to the bookstore.  Then the thing happened that I had feared.  Icing from my cinnamon raisin biscuit fell into my lap and got all over my  pants.  I was trying to wipe and drive at the same time.  (I know you’re thinking you don’t want to be around this woman if she’s anywhere on the road.)  The more I wiped, the worst it got.  I had icing and biscuit crumbs all over me.  When we pulled into the parking lot I tried again to get the icing stains out of my clothes, but they just smeared everywhere.  I wanted to cry, but we laughed instead.  “Can’t take you anywhere,” mumbled Robbie Lee, laughing behind my back as we walked into the store.  
Once inside, we were greeted by the store manager and we smiled and acted very professional.  They had no idea what had gone on before we arrived and God must have heard our prayer through all the laughter because the book signing went very well.  Fortunately, my jacket was long enough that it hid some of the icing stains on my pants.  I managed to sneak into the bathroom and scrub at them with wet paper towels for a while, but you know how wet paper towels just leave bits and pieces behind on your clothes.  Finally, I just gave up and made sure I stayed seated for most of the book signing. 
I couldn’t help but think about how much I had dreaded the day and yet, I ended up laughing through most of it.  I remembered what Joyce Meyer said in her daily devotions book, Start Your Day Right.  She says, “Dread is a close relative of fear.  When dread enters, joy leaves.  Dread sets you up for misery, because by choosing to dread you decide that you cannot enjoy what you must do today.”  It made me realize that I had wasted too much time dreading things that I ended up enjoying afterwards.  God thumped me on the head on the way over to the store and said, “Lighten up, you need to laugh.”  
New experiences can be scary, but they can also be fun and make our lives more interesting, especially when we let God take the wheel. We can trust Him to lead us through anything that comes our way, good or bad.  Don’t dread the opportunities God puts into your life.  Enjoy them.  He promises to equip us and to carry us through those things we fear and He always keeps His promise.  Just remember to keep your eyes open if you’re prone to praying while driving the car.

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