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 Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I can really relate to what you are saying. I know it’s the pride in me that doesn’t want to look like I don’t have a clue. You’d think after all these years, I’d be an “expert” in my faith walk. I’ve been a Christian for over 45 years. Just the opposite…I think I grasp just how much I don’t know and won’t understand this side of heaven. One truth I’ve learned is that we/I need to “practice with the small stuff.” I need to practice trusting God in small situations in order to build my “trust muscles” for when the really big events come around. God honors our small steps. When we fall, God gently lifts us back to our feet, dusts us off, and beckons us to begin walking toward Him again. Beautiful post!
Thank you Aliza. Your encouraging words were very fitting for me this morning. I am trying to learn a new career/vocation at the nice young age of 60. Recovering from a divorce after 40 plus years of being together. These new beginnings are rough. I know I am not to despise them. Add in helping my oldest raise his preschooler, who I’ve had since infancy, and I tend to wonder where I’m being led. If nothing else, it’s a beautiful training lesson in trusting Jesus every step of the way. May God continue to bless us all as we stumble through our beautiful new beginnings.
Dawn Ferrguson-Little says
I agree with what you have just said Aliza. God is in the beginning of starting with some of us again. Some of us even as Christians like to show of think we are better than everyone else. Got the best car the best house the mobile. Like you said in today’s reading. That person with the bran new car. Telling everyone they have have bran new car with the sticker on it. Well the car might have all this and this on it and the be this model. The person that you saw with the sticker on it saying brand new. Might think I going to let the world know I got the best brand new car ever. Well I say 99per cent of the people that see their sticker are not one but bothered they have a brand new car and it has this and this and they paid such and such a price for it. It like this with me. I hear people saying too me in the past and I have stopped them. You have heard this Christian Preacher. He or She is so good Dawn you have too go hear them. They blow them up. They go on and on about them. How good they are. Yes don’t get me wrong. Yes they might be good at preaching the word of God. But I have to stop the person blowing the preacher up. Say to them too make them think. Are you going to hear the word of God or You just going to hear the Preacher. As too me it looks like you are going to just hear the Preacher not the word of God. If I go to hear Preacher I go not because of who the Preacher is or how famous he or she has become. I go to hear the word of God that God has given them to speak through them. Through His Holy Spirit. So as I can learn something through what God is saying through them. Then apply it to my life. If I need to make new beginning or changes in my life. I do that. But sometimes people don’t like me for speaking the truth too them. When I say this too them. But it does make them think. Or they just going to hear the Preacher or the word of God. So they might have to go back to the beginning and say God I sorry for going to these meetings because of just the speaker and not really to hear your word probably. When it should be the real reason I go is to hear your word and not because of who the speaker is. You God should come FIRST AT ALL TIMES. SO IT IS TIMES LIKE THIS THAT WE MIGHT HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING. LET GOD DO A NEW THING IN US. START AGAIN. GOD NOT INTRSTED IF WE HAVE FANCY CAR HOUSE OR MOBILE. GOD INSERTED IN OUR HEARTS AND WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES AS CHRISTIAN. NOT BLOW THIS PREACHER OR THAT PREACHER UP. EXCELLENT READING XXX
This devotional is exactly what I needed to read this morning. My husband and I stepped out this year and started a small group bible study that welcomes families with children. My pastor told us the same thing yours did: keep it simple. I listened, but I stressed myself out with cleaning my home the day before and the day of our family bible study. It resulted in being completely worn out the next day. I too am learning that I am a “new driver” in this area. I’m also learning that it is the Lord that will do the work in the hearts of each family that enters our home.
Thank you for sharing your new beginning, as it encourages me to enjoy the new season God has started in my life.
Dawn Blevins says
Thank you. I needed to read this. Definitely timely.
This is me, Aliza, embarking on a weight loss regimen again! I’ve lost weight before and I’m not very far gone, but 5+ pounds have crept back up on me and I want them gone! It’s such hard work and it’s not pleasant walking that same road. Again. For the umpteenth time. But I’m doing it. And, with God’s help, I’ll arrive at the finish line. Staying there will be another beginning. Lord, help me!
Theresa Boedeker says
Great reminder. Hopefully I never get to the point where I am not trying new things. It is easy to forget when we are an old hand at something how we felt when we were new at it. Because it is easy for us now. But remembering how we felt when we started is good and it can help us encourage those at the starting block. I remember being incredulous about listening to a women tell me she had discovered that if she cleaned her kitchen every day it was easier than waiting until all the dishes were dirty. Because then it took all day to get her kitchen clean. I went away laughing to myself. I mean I knew this as a child. But only because this was how my mom ran her house. Yes, that lady had learned something wise and was beginning to realize how to keep her kitchen clean. She was not to be made fun of or looked down on, but encouraged for her new beginnings. If we encourage those beginning maybe their learning curve will be easier than ours was.
Thanks, Aliza! This is a great reminder.
I, too, want to look like an expert at all times.
Pride is something I struggle with and have to remind myself that pride goes before a fall.
Thanks for honestly sharing.
I always love reading your posts! I am sort of at a beginning. I have health issues that need a whole lifestyle change. I also feel like I’m working in the wrong place. God provided a job in purchasing and I just finished my Masters in Peace and Conflict. It is provision as we need money. But It feels out of whack or a plan I didn’t expect.
At the beginning of a new decade & holding on tight but wanting to go more with the flow. It will be okay.
My husband and I have hit a very low point in our marriage, conversations include divorce. I never thought we would get to this point. We have been in marriage counseling for a while now. It is so hard to see hope for reconciliation, but hope is hope no matter how small. I see small changes in both of us, but I want to rush the process and see great things happen and happen soon, in my time. I am trying to trust Jesus in his timing and his pace which is perfect. He knows what my husband and I can handle individually and together. So here is hoping for a new marriage fully healed and restored.
Thank you for this Aliza! I just got my first apartment as I’ve been living at home due to grad school and then having a hard time finding a job that would provide the means for rent. Now that I’m out of grad school and working a good job I’m able to afford something! The place is SUPER tiny and I’m honestly having a hard time adjusting to it. I spent my first night there but longed for familiarity so I’m spending time at my parents place today because this has been a hard transition. My new place is not what I imagined it would be.
I felt God speaking this verse to me all day yesterday and so this was a much needed word. Thank you for your vulnerability! It was the encouragement that I needed. Small beginnings are good!
Kimberly Beth Bryant says
Wow, this is so timely for me! Everything in my life is new or at least it feels that way some days! My divorce was final in late November and in early December I departed the home I shared with my now ex-husband and our cat and the life I had shared with him for parts of 20 years (some years friends, some years boyfriend/girlfriend, some years engaged, and some married) for a new job a thousand miles away and a new apartment (2 bed/2 bath with no husband or cat to come home to, in contrast to a 4 bedroom home filed with memories, life, food, furniture, etc). I’ve been in my career field for about 20 years and suddenly i have to admit at work that i need to be taught or refreshed on certain things and i don’t mind asking but at the same time i feel like i’m too old to me asking people younger than me to teach me something so i don’t love the feeling of not knowing but i’m proud of myself for asking and being open to learning. i also don’t love coming home to an “empty” apartment and feeling like i have to be so careful because i don’t have the money or support i used to have (ugh, hot, painful tears pour down my face as i write this). I miss by ex-husband, i miss our cat, i miss our life, the comfort the stability, coming home to someone and knowing that someone had my back although things weren’t perfect. At 46 (almost 47) i feel like i did when i was 26 (almost 27) when i met my ex, when we were in school and i was ramen noodles living in a furnished studio poor and had almost no possessions of my own, living semester to semester and dreaming of a time when i could by healthy food and would have real money. There have been times in my career and my life when i felt like a rock star, when i felt like i had it all together and i didn’t feel new at everything and everywhere and that’s is what i’m looking forward to now while i’m proud of myself for continuing to more forward even in this place that i never dreamed i’d be (i never dreamed i’d be divorced and starting over!). but God is good, isn’t He? While i still have days that i grieve my old life and the fact that my apt is empty, i know down deep that nothing is truly empty nor am i truly ever alone and that God is always right here beside me where He has always been. It was okay in my 20s and it will be/is okay in my 40s 🙂