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Pocket devotional: Stuck in Neutral
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I never really learned to drive a stick shift. Well, my big brother tried to teach me once, but that was pretty much a disaster. I don't remember any luxurious interior in Dan's tangerine colored Ford Fiesta, but my stomach tightens and my mouth gets a little dry when I reminisce. Dan had shown me what each pedal did, how the clutch worked and how to change gears. We had practiced by isolating the two; I took care of the clutch while he shifted. Then we got out of the car and reversed roles.

Now came the real test. Could I do all of it by myself? Confused, but too proud to admit the truth, I nodded.
Sure, I was ready to venture down our hill. Ease up on the brake. This thing is in neutral. No problem, all that I have to do is move that stick and mash those pedals.

Not quite a NASA launch, I pressed one thing and pushed something else. A wretched sound generously broadcast its way through the neighborhood. Vibrations climbed from the floorboard. I'm sure that a crowd gathered. Our car hadn't even moved. Calm quickly turned into panic. As soon as Dan could take over the controls, I hopped out, vowing never to try again. To this day, he still jokes about how I almost ruined his transmission trying to shift out of neutral. My only defense is that I told him that I don't understand anything about gears and gadgets. I'm still trying to figure out how to operate my ten speed bike.

It made me wonder. How many times do I get stuck in my life? How many times have I tried to make something work my way? When it didn't go well, how often did I quit? I'm sure that I have missed many opportunities.

Maybe before I jump on the next journey and claim that I'm following God's will, I need to be still and listen. I'm sure that if I did, I'd be able to steer.

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (Joh 10:27 NIV, NAB)