Off Road Driving.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, and it is a common thing to see the big trucks with lift kits and jeeps that have been fitted with special seat belts. It is a beautiful place to live with lots of land that has not yet been touched by the development of homes and strip malls.

It is not uncommon to see a truck or jeep covered in mud from a day of off road driving because there are some great places to do that. I saw a jeep one day covered in mud. The doors were off and the driver also had mud all over himself. I remember laughing with my daughter about the jeep and the driver. We both made comments about how much fun that must have been.   

It must be the trill of adventure, that feeling of 
pushing yourself up a steep hill and then flying down the other side of the hill that makes people want to do that. How cool it must be to climb over rocks and fallen trees, like nothing can stop you. How much fun it must be to see the mud flying as you hit a mud pit at high speed. I can almost hear the sound water and mud make as they hit the tires.  Sometimes it is fun to play in the mud, to have the feeling of freedom to just get dirty, to laugh, and to enjoy the thrill of the ride.

Off road driving is fun. If it weren’t fun, people wouldn’t do it!  One summer my husband and I took his truck into the mountains of Idaho for a day hike into Hunt Lake. What a great day that was and my husband even came up with his talk that he was to give at church. In order to get to the trailhead we had to take a logging road up the mountain, and the road did not make for a smooth ride. One time we hit a bump that bounced my husband so hard he hit the key and turned the truck off. At first we didn’t realize what happened. In my stomach there was the “what now” feeling, we are in the mountains, no cell service and now the truck is broken-down. We had a good laugh when we realized that we were just fine and about how fun it was when we lifted out of our seats from that bump.  

In those roads the forest service comes along and makes “Kelly Humps” which are drainage ditches and at times they can get big enough to swallow a little car right up. What was to be a short drive to the trailhead became a bumpy and at times an uncomfortable ride. Our poor dog bounced all over the back of the truck that day and I was thankful that my husband was behind the wheel so I could sit and panic to myself about how narrow the road was and how steep the drop off was at times. When it comes to panic, I am good at it. Just ask my friend Guy--he’ll tell you how I am always FREAKING OUT!

We never found any mud pits that day, but the truck was dirty and it got a few marks from the tree branches. I had one of the best days ever with my husband as we bounced around in the truck, drove over a few small broken trees and carefully drove in and out of the large Kelly Humps. The beauty of the drive and the hike were the icing on the cake.

Off road driving can be a fun thing and I have to say I would love to take jeep at a high speed into a giant mud pit. Maybe someday I’ll do that. It is fun to play in the mud and get dirty.  Everyone of those men and women I have seen driving a car covered in mud looks so happy.

There is a different kind of off road driving that seems like fun, it gets us all dirty and at the time thrill of the ride is exhilarating. The problem is this kind of off road driving is done when we let sin take hold of the wheel and we just roll with it. Eventually sin takes us right down into the biggest Kelly Humps ever and then we are stuck in that giant pit with what seems like no way to get out.

Unlike the mud that flies from the tires of the trucks and jeeps that off road, it is shame, a feeling of unworthiness, and helplessness that is kicked up when we let sin drive us off road. We may find ourselves broken down, covered in the dirtiness of our sin, lost and alone. The “SIN” that drove there is not going to help us out of the pit or giant Kelly Hump it has left us in. As a matter of fact, it is going to stand on the side and kick dirt on us, laughing like the bully on the playground. If we look back it is often clear to us where we took a wrong turn and got off path but at the time it was hard to see when we are letting sin take the wheel.

It is when we find ourselves in this kind of off road driving we need to ask God to get in and take the wheel. Only God can carry us out of the mud pit of sin and shame. Think of His Holy Spirit as a powerful car wash. Let it wash you clean and when you give up your sin with a heart of repentance.  LET IT GO!!  When we leave a car wash we leave the dirt and grime from our car behind we must do the same with our sin and shame. If we don’t let God wash us clean and drive away fast without looking back, the sin will continue to hold onto us and slowly pull us back into a new form of shame that come from the guilt of never letting go. When we hang onto that guilt it is like saying that Jesus gave up his life in vain. Guilt is that mud that we seem to roll around in when God has already forgiven us. Guilt is not from God.

Who thinks that when God takes the wheel life is no longer going to be fun?  Thanks to God I have had some off the biggest thrills of my life and in the scary times it is he who keeps me safe. That day my husband and I hiked to Hunt Lake we were sweaty and dirty. I had mud on my legs and shoes, some scratches on my legs and arms, but I had joy in my heart and that was what mattered. Let God show you all he has to offer, play like a child, dance in mud puddles in the rain, get down and play in the mud but do it in the right kind of mud. Not the kind that comes from sin.

Let God take the wheel of your life, the road is going to be bumpy but you’ll always stay on the right road with God at the wheel.  Off road driving is for trucks and jeeps and someday I hope to really get dirty as I see the mud fly from the wheels of one of them as I am safely buckled in. In my day-to-day life I think I’ll keep my eyes focused on Jesus and let God take the wheel. Will I get off on to the wrong road from time to time?  Yes, I will because I am not perfect, but I refuse to live a life covered in sin and shame. No Kelly Hump is too big for our God!!!

The picture is of a women I know who just went "Off Road Driving" the correct way for her birthday!

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