'Are you sure we're going the right way?'
'Oh, watch out!'
'Be careful, Slow down!'
And so it goes.
These phrases often used by (loving, well-meaning) friends and family can be coined as "back-seat drivers".
The term, 'back-seat driver' emerged in the USA, in the early 20th Century as motoring was becoming widespread, however it now references the annoying habit of people giving unsolicited advice to vehicle drivers.
The Year has begun - 2017
Last week, as I was driving with a friend, we started discussing how we perceive the world we live in and what our outlook for 2017 would look like; our dreams, our goals and our upcoming plans, as I slowed down at an intersection. My friend then turned to me and said I needed to turn left (onto a route which I take approx. 4-5 times a week). I replied, "I know, I know, stop being a back-seat driver."
Even as I spoke those words, I realised that all this time I have been discussing what I want from this year but not necessarily asking God what he had planned for my year or rather, allowing him to drive my steps. This thought continued as we drove to our destination, so much so that when we got there, I turned to my friend and said, "who is supposed to be the driver of our lives?"
Who is in the driver seat of your life?
Thinking through this answer I realised there could be a myriad of responses but I'd like to highlight three that I could think of in my own life in varying seasons, stages or even weeks:
Myself - Much like me, you may be wary to release control and want to have the last say on all your decisions. This is great at building independence, but potentially could be taking God out of the decision making process resulting in only really asking for advice or direction when you get lost.
Others - It is easy to get caught up with all the naysayers or potentially even having great mentors, friends & family around you who often have the last say on your decisions. This may come in handy when making group decisions that affect everyone, and seeking counsel is biblical as we are called to do life together with others, but sometimes this can lead to following the crowd on decisions that may not be the best for you and where God wants you as we are "trying to keep up with the Jones'"
God - Finally; this is potentially the hardest of them all. When it comes to seeking God's counsel on decision making it is easy to make God a back seat driver or potentially seated in the passenger seat of your life. But truly understanding what it means to allow God to guide us, trusting him wholeheartedly and choosing to wait upon him is something else!
There's a song I think about every time I sit in my car about to drive by Carrie Underwood in which the chorus says:
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel
This song is about a redemptive soul, choosing once again to come back to God and allowing him to direct our steps.
Choosing to allow God to sit in the driver seat of our life may sometimes feel like we are driving blind, or perhaps timing isn't always ideal or more often than not, every decision we take may not be applauded with an audience; but boy, there is a sense of conviction, strength and security that comes with that choice.
So, at the start of 2017, I pray that you have a year filled with laughter, learning and love to fill every aspect of it! It may not all be wins, victories or even joy - but with Jesus at our wheel leading our decisions, helping us articulate and undertake our goals for the year and our everyday, it will be one we will never forget.
Meenal Chandra is one of the Sydney-based writers is choosing to give God the steering wheel.
Meenal Chandra previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html