Last week I got a flat tire for the first time (if you know me I’ve probably complained about it to you). I was driving to work and heard that heartbreaking sound of my wheel reluctantly trying to turn, and pulled over to find a large screw lodged in the tread of my tire. Despite the fact that this caused me all kinds of stress and almost made me late to work (try a 30 minute commute on a spare), I’m actually very glad that it happened for several reasons.
1. It was a learning experience.
In my daily quest to attempt to become a semi-competent adult human, it takes new tasks and even a little stress to learn new things. If I had not gotten a flat tire, I would not have had to confront the problem and develop a new life skill that I believe is a necessary thing to know how to do. I would not have had to figure out where the spare tire is in my car, I would not have had to learn how to take the tire off of my car or put on a new one. Given it was an inconvenient task to learn, but necessity produces action. I did end up barely getting to work on time, and while I was there one of my students (I teach Tennis) was facing some self-efficacy issues. He would go and sit in the corner, refusing to participate in the class, because he did not believe that he was good enough at tennis, and therefore he could not play the game we were doing. There I was having to explain to this six year old what I had encountered first hand that day, that if we don’t face difficult tasks we don’t get any better. If we give up when something gets hard, then we never learn the things we need to know to be great. If I had called a tow truck, or a friend that actually knows how cars work, to help me, I would have not been able to get to work that day, and I would not have grown at all.
2. It took trust.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a 30 minute commute to work. This itself has been a source of stress for me since I began at this particular school because I have my own classes until 2 and then have to run to my car and make it out to the elementary school with time to set up and receive students as they get out of class. On days when traffic is good and nothing goes horribly wrong I struggle to get to work on time. This flat tire meant that I was running 20 minutes late by the time I could drive again. Getting on to the highway I figured I’d be at least 15 minutes late for the beginning of class, and even that was going to take a miracle. Praying as I drove, I told God that I trust him to get me where I need to be when I need to be there. I had no confidence in my own ability to get there on time or my car’s ability to go fast enough on a half-sized tire to get me there quickly, but still I drove and asked God to get me there. I pulled up to the school 2 minutes before class started and a front parking spot opened up for me as I arrived. It took half the time it should have to get there, and I walked in and was able to run class normally, marveling at the timing. Despite the stress and worry I had, this incident was an opportunity to put my trust in God’s hands and let Him provide, and he did.