Vehicular Incompetence - the parable of the handbrake

One of my tasks on Wednesday night was to drive Sally Morgenthaller to her hotel after a women's dessert and coffee night. I had borrowed by husband's work car in order to chauffeur the important international guest. Apart from this being a much nicer vehicle, a recent altercation with another car has left me unable to open the passenger front door of my own car... and I didn't think putting Sally in the back seat was a good look.

But after I had loaded up Sally and her luggage, I realised something was wrong with the car. It shuddered, it lacked power, and my first thought was "Oh... something's wrong with the fuel or exhaust system." I drove some distance, but thought I'd better return to the church car park lest we have a breakdown somewhere in transit. Fortunately, I quickly found a volunteer who was happy to drive Sally to her hotel... a young woman in ministry who seemed quite pleased to be able to chat with Sally further. Sally's luggage was duly transferred into the other vehicle.

I hopped in the work car to ring my husband to check whether this car was eligible for RACV roadside assistance. After dialling the number, I looked down and thought... "I don't remember putting the handbrake on then but it is on now... oh..... surely I didn't... oh, maybe I did.... oh...."

Yes... once I released the handbrake the car drove smoothly and beautifully. I then cringed to recall the number of times Sally had hinted... "do you think the brake might be stuck? I can smell burning rubber!" etc. In fact, I alternatively cringed with embarrassment and laughed out loud all the way home in the car.

As I drove too, I thought about those things that can be a "brake" in our lives... those things that stop us from being fully alive, from doing acts of goodness, from being courageous, from surrendering to the God who brings Real Life, from knowing the power of God's Spirit within.

I think my biggest life "brake" can be failing to carve out space for deep prayer. But just as I was foolishly ignorant of the handbrake in my husband's car, it may be that there are other "brakes" in my life of which I am unaware.

What do you think are the "brakes" in your life? Fear, or laziness, or circumstances, or depression, or self-will, or failure to grasp the love of Christ, or lack of awareness, or failure to listen to and validate your heart's cry, or power structures pressing down on you, or others in your life, or self-criticism or... well I guess it could be a myriad of things.

I invite you to reflect on that which might hold you back from being all Christ is inviting you to be, and from doing all Christ is inviting you to do. And to share some of this, if you are feeling brave!


Sharon said…
Hi I just got an email about an up-coming conference in my home town in Victoria.. May 24th.. Won't share exactly where I am.. LOL.. because this is a public place..

Wow and on the end was your blog address.. I too keep a blog.. I think I have hardly ever met another person from so close who journals online.. and you are in the same state too.. I have a few journals.. one at brave net for posting stuff on healing and one at My Space where the children have sites too!! So nice to meet you..

I am interested in the prophetic talk by Maggie.. the only draw back being I am hard of hearing and I am afraid I will miss so much even if I go.. But I will pray and see if the Lord wills it for me.. in any case nice to find your journal!!

God bless..
Sharon said…
Just in case you wanted to comment and don't want to join MySpace.. silly that you have to log in to comment.. You can comment to me at brave net.. sorry..
Janet Woodlock said…
Hi Sharon... so nice to meet you too!

I've just finished reading your story about Tyler... very, very moving stuff. Thank you for sharing with such heartfelt honesty. My eldest son spent his first 5 weeks in hospital after an emergency caesarian, so I was really drawn in to the story emotionally... although he's a strapping 11 year old now.

I'm happy to type for you if you have access to a tty, or find an interpreter if you know any Auslan. (Do you get support from the deafness association, or whatever it's called now?) Alternatively, I can talk to the very lovely Maggie about how to organise this so you will hear the most. I take it you know her!

The "log in" procedure is tedious with Blogger, but I'm holding out on changing now because a new Churches of Christ National forum will be launched soon, and I'd like to be part of that... getting conversations with an "Australian accent" going about women, church, God, life etc.

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