My daughter is a new driver. So, for about 20 months, the passenger side door grip and I have become very close.  The ride has grown much easier for the both of us, as I’ve embraced her maturity in the driver’s seat and even entirely released my grip of the door in the past year.

Now for those of you who haven’t yet advanced to this level of parenthood, let me explain.  It takes a tremendous amount of courage to walk around to the passenger side of your own car, open the door, sit down, buckle your seatbelt (well that part is relatively easy) and watch your almost 16-year-old person climb into the driver’s seat and start the ignition.  At this point, I always had to remind myself to breathe. What I hadn’t prepared for, was the idea of her following me, while driving in her own car.

I do remember, however, the day I identified my growth in this area with her.  The change that occurred when I wasn’t looking.  It was the morning that I climbed into my own driver’s seat, of my own car and watched as my daughter climbed into hers.  I pulled out of the driveway, and she pulled out behind me on a journey that I won’t soon forget.  She would repeat my every move, as if she were competing in a game of Simon Says, minus Simon.  I found myself intrigued by every detail of our ride from my rear-view mirror.  When I signaled, she signaled.  When I changed lanes, she changed lanes.  I was so involved in what was happening in my rear-view mirror, that I failed to pay much attention to what was happening ahead of me.  At times, I even became annoyed if she lagged behind and someone pulled in front of her, getting between us, blocking my view.  It was as if a commercial had interrupted the cliffhanger that I’d been waiting to be revealed on my favorite television show.

Of course, there were times when I had to catch myself and grab the lingering reminder that my own windshield view was far more important, because that was the view that dictated our safe arrival.   We did arrive safely, and I stopped to relish in the moment.  It was then that I recognized not only my growth, but hers.  All of the heart stopping, near death –or what appeared to be near death to me- experiences had all produced this… a pretty good, teenaged licensed driver.  Wow!

Today, I’m still challenged with my focus on the windshield in everyday scenarios of my life.  To be honest, some pretty important things happened in my rear-view; but I have to find ways to look ahead and leave the past behind me in order for both me and for those following me, to arrive safely at our destination.  In my mind, it’s all about keeping my eyes ahead, watching and listening closely to God, and realizing that He alone, is my personal navigation system.  He consistently offers me clear direction, with flagged detours to help me avoid unnecessary obstacles and potential wrong turns.  However, if I keep looking behind me, I could miss something.  When I think about this, I am reminded that my daughter is watching and repeating my every move.  That speaks loudly, even yells at me, that I’ve got to do better.

So, this year, my goal is to check my rear-view perspective every now and again, but once given the all clear, to quickly turn my attention back to the much larger windshield view or the big picture. As I do, I invite you to join me by working to keep your attention focused on the road ahead and make 2018 your year to embrace change!