I saw the sign taped to the back of her car.
I was driving my hour commute to work, heading from my apartment in the suburbs along the congested concrete highway toward the big city where the skyline is dense and the famous CN Tower stretches to the sky.
The sign was taped to her rear window on lined school paper. In thick black letters it read, “New Driver”.
Immediately, I scoffed. Who wants the world to know you’re a new driver? I don’t want the world to know when I’m new at anything. On the first day of my job a few years ago, I tried to act as confidently as possible when I walked into the massive ten-story building. Meanwhile, I had to remind myself to breathe. But I didn’t want to appear like I was new — I wanted to seem like I belonged there.
I shook my head as I read her “New Driver” sign. Merging to the other lane, I drove past her, but not before I saw her hands — white knuckles on the wheel, precisely situated at ten and two. Her glasses were jammed firm on the bridge of her nose, and her eyes were looking out only at the road ahead of her.
I softened, and the smirk on my lips left. I thought about all the ways I’m a beginner too.
I just started leading a small group in my home on Sunday nights. I have no idea what I’m doing, and frankly, I hate that feeling. My community groups pastor told me to keep it simple, saying a small group is just inviting a few people to sit on a couch, eat snacks, and talk about Jesus. The first Sunday my group launched, I forgot about keeping it simple and anxiously made a full dinner for the entire group. I was stressed out and vulnerable, wanting to impress them and ensure it was the best small group they’d ever been to.
You see? I’m such a beginner.
Maybe not in driving, but in a hundred other things. I don’t want to tell someone when I’m new at something. I want to be an expert — in dating and cooking and a new job — even hosting a small group. Instead of admitting my newness, I like to pretend I’ve been doing it forever. The vulnerability of beginning is scary to me.
It takes courage to start something new, to begin again. I see the courage it takes my friend who just divorced. She is beginning again, learning afresh how to trust God and people. She is vulnerable and she is courageous.
Zechariah 4:10 tells us, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . . ”
I wonder if you are in the midst of a beginning, if unwanted change came and forced you to start afresh, if you, too, feel like that girl on the highway next to me, a big “New Driver” sign taped to your car.
Maybe you just had a baby and feel like you have no idea how you’re suddenly in charge of raising an entire person.
Or maybe you’re in a new job, or you’re brand new at college, or you just got your license, or you’re picking up the pieces after your painful divorce and have to go home to an empty apartment.
Beginning again can be so hard and so scary, but God tells us not to despise small beginnings — however measly they may feel in the moment.
Because the truth is, that’s all of us. Each of us is at the beginning in our own way. Don’t despise your small beginning; God is rejoicing to see you begin.
And I think, on that day, God was rejoicing right alongside that courageous new driver — the way she boldly joined the congested highway and chose to bravely begin.
Beginning again can be so hard and so scary, but God tells us not to despise small beginnings -- however measly they may feel in the moment. -@alizalatta: Click To Tweet