During my morning commute today, I found myself stuck behind an older lady driving about 10 mph slower than the surrounding traffic; the brake lights of her Cadillac remained lit. Now, I realize that this lady (who had to be in her 70’s) is probably at the age where she is less comfortable with her driving skills. The other possibility for her overly cautious behavior might have been that she simply didn’t want to wreck the car and suffer the consequences of her mother finding out. Regardless, she reminded me of what I observe many people doing in life: cautiously inching through life with their foot constantly on the brake.
I am not suggesting that one should cast caution aside and recklessly make whatever decision they feel is right at the spur of the moment. After all, wisdom and discernment are wonderful virtues that I pray for every day. Rather, I am referring to the person who consistently avoids anything that challenges their comfort zone. They look for the path of least resistance or the one that will please the masses.
How do I see people living with their brakes on? How about the person who avoids commitment in a relationship in an effort to keep their heart guarded, even in marriage? I see parents who would rather be friends with their children than make the difficult decisions that might cause their child to be unhappy with them. I see church leaders who make decisions based on what the vocal minority in the congregation says they should do. With that kind of leadership, the church will never grow.
I believe most people don’t take their foot off the brake because they don’t have a clear dream or vision of where they are going. To enjoy a relationship with intimacy, one must be open and vulnerable. To have children who respect authority and will not grow up feeling entitled, a parent must learn to say “no” regardless of the children’s feelings. If I am tired of working for someone else, I must be willing to step out and take a few calculated risks.
Fear also keeps our foot on the brake. We might find ourselves playing the “what if” game to a point where we suffer analysis paralysis. Some people are energized by a little risk while some are frightened by any risk. If you know me well now, you might be surprised to know that when I was younger I used to think way too much and was afraid of making a wrong decision. My Dad used to tell me, “Wib, don’t just stand there, do something. Even if it is wrong, do something.” I think sometimes he regrets releasing me from my overthinking and fear and wishes I would reconsider some of my decisions. He knew I would learn from my mistakes. Even if we decide that a direction we take was a poor one, hopefully we learn from that decision. If we don’t learn something, it is a total waste of physical and emotional energy.
I don’t want to live with my foot on the brake, especially the older I get. I see too many people who get to my age and are already looking to slow down, sit down, and rot. I, on the other hand, am looking to build that homestead Janice and I have always dreamed of while keeping up my coaching business. I am not promised tomorrow, I realize that. For this reason, I want to leave this world exhausted, not well rested. For this to happen, the foot must come off the brake.
If you are interested in taking your foot off the brake and want some help doing it, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.