First of all…I did it! I DID IT!! I diditIdiditIdiditIdidit I did it!!!!! I finally passed my CDL exam and am now a licensed school bus driver! So there’s that…before I go into this.
I had this crazy (or possibly completely reasonable) moment when I thought quitting would be the right course of action. I convinced myself that accepting failure was not the same as defeat. That maybe I was merely attempting to rule out what things I’m not designed to do in an effort to find what it is I’m supposed to do.
Going back to the first time I failed…I couldn’t believe it! I knew I was going to pass that test because I was prepared. That’s always been the source of confidence for me. Study…practice…plan. I got this.
I had the first part. The part everyone else stresses about. It was a matter of learning what was on the that paper…knowing every little nook and cranny of the bus, then presenting it. It will never change or deviate from what it is.
From the get go my trainer was drilling that portion. “It’s a lot to learn… Do you want to go over it today? Are you sure??? But I had it. I was easily prepared so I was confident.
When the next portion came, though…Things were different from planned. My confidence quickly converted to fear. Fear is overwhelming. It’s like a strong emotional acid and if you don’t get out fast it will eat away your very ability to think. If I could have kept my composure I really did know what to do…but my confidence was so tightly wound in my preparation that it was over.
But I went back. It was a good lesson for my kids, I thought. Show them that if you want something you don’t take “no” for an answer. Anything good never comes easy.
This time I got so far into the test that there was no way I could fail. And then I did. Again. It was a stupid mistake and I started beating myself up. My confidence was absolutely shattered. There was no world that I could orchestrate long enough to pass that test. So I missed that sign this time. What will I miss next time? How could I have prepared for construction workers running across the road, cars braking down, congested intersections and interstate ramps being completely shut down? I couldn’t. So I had ZERO confidence.
I questioned my entire course. Why did I think that God cares if I drive a school bus? I had thought before that I was being led… that the universe had been bent to funnel me to this point. But why had I been so sure of that? Before I had felt like I was on the right path, but now…I felt stranded shelter-less almost to my destination with no way to get there. I felt like I was staring across the river, watching the reflection of the lights of the city dance in the rippling water. But I had no way across that water, and my heart was sinking in its beauty.
I made up my mind that I would go back one more time. I also knew I wouldn’t pass. I felt like I had been told no already. I honestly think I had. I have experienced God backing me into a corner. I know that He will. So until I was ready to listen I could only roam around the desert.
And I failed. Again. This time something I had passed the time before. So how long could that go on? I couldn’t even be sure I was prepared for anything now. So this is where that lesson I would share with my kids started changing.
The way I saw it, this is not all I can do. I am maybe suited better to something else. Something that is predictable. Something that I could learn and it stay the same. Some people aren’t inclined to do what I’ll be good at, but they’re better at hands on types of things. I thought that sometimes you can only try. You have to move through the fear that you might fail and accept that you might fail.
Isn’t that a lesson? Sometimes you can pour your heart and soul, time and energy…everything…into something and just fall short. And that’s okay. I tried. It wasn’t right for me. Move on.
Problem was, I can drive a bus. My trainer knew it. I knew it…even the fellow giving the test knew it. He actually told my trainer that when they spoke on the phone.
Keep in mind, this wasn’t just a matter of going. Personally I had people going out of their way to watch my kids. I had people going out of their way to ride up there with me (you can’t take the bus alone until you pass this test). The school was footing the bill for fuel and to pay that person riding with me, and I was shelling out a hundred bucks every time I went. It just felt like there were so many resources being used up, that at some point I just needed to call it off. I told my trainer that I didn’t want to put anyone else out any more than I had in the event I just kept failing. I was tired of spending the money and shuffling schedules for no clear end.
He told me that he would be more upset if I quit as far as we were in already than if I went twenty times.
So I went again. And I passed. What changed? First of all, the tester knew me by now. I almost crumbled a few times when things just weren’t going like they should and he pulled me back and kept me grounded. I thanked him, but I have to wonder if he knew how deeply I meant it.
I couldn’t prepare for an ever-changing set of circumstances. But God can. I can learn to parallel park a bus. I can learn all the mechanical parts of the bus. I can learn how to test the brakes for leaks and properly make a bus stop (cause let me tell you…there’s two ways: how you do it for the test, and then how you do it). But where my confidence was falling short was the point when I should have let my confidence in myself go, anyway. God gave me this mind and fully expects me to hold my end. But I am not alone. And where I fall short He will be there to catch me. I can’t keep my confidence in my own preparation. I have to keep my confidence in Him.
And He will put it in a tester’s heart to look me sqaure me in the eye and say, “It’s gonna be okay,” when every light on the bus starts flashing and the horn is honking and I can’t figure out how to make it stop in the middle of my air brake test.
So, what lesson do I share? All of them! Above all, have faith. Trust God and hold on. If you know what you’re supposed to be doing, do it. Don’t second guess yourself because it takes so long. Don’t let the devil whisper in your ear and make you forget that God will get you across that river as soon as you trust that He can.
Don’t look left or right. Don’t forget why you’re going. You’re going because God wants you to go. There will be other motives that present themselves along the way but just ignore them. If you start to stagger, even though still headed there, pray that God will stop you until you remember what you were doing. If you end up in the right town but in the wrong house, did you find your way home? I was headed to the wrong house for a minute. I’m glad He stopped me.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Step out of your comfort zone. Reach for the peach you can’t get on your tip toes. That’s surely the one you want. Bear in mind, sometimes it’s not your peach, and you might fall and break your arm. It will heal. And there will be more peaches next year…if you don’t decide in the mean time you like apples better.
What do you think? Is it okay to quit? Is it acceptable to cut your losses at some point? Or do you have to keep going until you get it? Has God ever led you anywhere that really didn’t make a bit of sense to you? Speak your mind!