The Passenger Seat

            What do you feel when you ride in the passenger seat? Most of us feel weird, a little anxious and sometimes we experience a lot of critical thinking. Riding in the passenger seat exposes us to some realities that God wants us to see. One of those realities is what it’s like to live with you. Parents and spouses should really consider this. The passenger seat of “life” is a great place for you to spend some time in meditation. It’s a great classroom. But, I warn you it can be painful. Any parent who has taught their children how to drive can testify here. If you are shallow and don’t want intimacy and transformation then you can stop reading now. But, if you know God has called you to intimacy with Him and others and believe that part of that pursuit is rooted in self clarity keep reading. Riding in the passenger seat can show you how people may be feeling as they live with you and it can show you how you might be able to make life easier for people to love you.         

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            The challenge for some of us is that we are always in the driver’s seat of our lives. Or so we think we are. This can keep us from seeing the beauty of the passenger seat. Some of us are control freaks who love to drive in every aspect of life. But God has designed the world to be a place where our ability to control people and things is limited. No matter how hard you try to be in the driver’s seat of life you will often be placed in the passenger seat.

            And perhaps for some of us the challenge is that we love the passenger seat too much. We like it because we feel like we can relax and we don’t have to make decisions or take responsibility for anything. Maybe we struggle with identity issues and ability doubts so the thought of being in the drivers seat is not desired. Or maybe we are just tired, frustrated and ready for a break.

            God’s greatest commandment is to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. This mandates that we take the drivers seat of our lives at times. However the call of the gospel is to consider others more important than ourselves and to think about ways to love others like Jesus has us. That means we need to be willing to let other people “drive” sometimes. I would never advise someone to get into the car with a drunk driver or a 15 year old who’s never driven before. However, the challenge remains and we have to be honest, most of us prefer to drive. The passenger seat is a vulnerable place and often scary. You get taken places you don’t like and don’t want to go. You can get into accidents and even get hurt. Decisions are made that you will not agree with. But, in the end there is no such thing as a healthy relationship with anyone, God or man, if someone doesn’t get into the passenger seat. I’ve found the passenger seat analogy to be particularly practical and helpful in leading people and equipping leaders.   

            One of the reasons why I love Jesus so much is that He got into the passenger seat so well and so often. He lived in perfect submission even to the point of death. And, He did it all for God’s glory and our good.