Recently my brother and I were discussing some fixes that were needed on my Jeep, which is a six-speed, manual shift. I would have it no other way. At any rate, for some reason we then started talking about the emergency brake, aka the e-brake. I told him about what my mechanic said the process would be to tighten the e-brake. He asked why it needed to be tightened. I told him that (there are no hills where I live) when I park on an incline, I tend to roll back a little. Listen really closely here, or should I say read really closely. He asked my if I relied solely on my e-brake. I said yes. I have since I learned, um, taught myself to drive a stick shift, in my 20’s. He was shocked!

My brother asked me over and over, if all I have ever relied on was my e-brake. He asked me the question in several different ways. It was the same question though. ‘You never put it in gear, in first or second gear?’ ‘No.’ There was silence, and then he said hold on. A few seconds later, there was a third person on the line. His mechanic. Yes, my brother called me out! But that was not his intention. I know, because I know his heart. He asked his mechanic how to secure a manual shift vehicle, whether it is on a flat surface or on a hill. The mechanic said he, along with 95% of the manual shift driving population, use their e-brake; but they also leave their vehicle in gear. Furthermore he said, and I knew this although I never did it, (remember, there are no hills where I live) you turn your wheels toward the curb so that if your vehicle does roll, it would roll into the curb.

OK, OK, I get it! So today, for the first time in my life, I parked my vehicle, and left it in a gear. I had to think about what I was doing. It really was a process! But wait, by now you are wondering what the point of this story is right? Here is the point: I believe I have been warned. I told my brother the same thing, and he readily agreed. But actually, I learned two lessons after that conversation with my brother. I had been seriously protected from tragedy over the years, having taken the risk to only use my e-brake. The other thing I learned was that I, we, could be doing the same thing for years; but one day find that it was wrong all along. We may have been putting ourselves and others at risk unknowingly. On the other hand, we could just be realizing that it is time to do some things differently than we have been.

After all it is not illegal to use just an e-brake. It is not bad, and if you live in a state or country where it there are no hills or mountains, it may never be an issue. But what if you need to learn the proper way to do something for a reason? What if God is getting you, me, ready for something new; and the only way I knew to approach this new thing was in the old process? A not necessarily bad way, but not necessarily the best way. Of course, the way we learn is being open to even listening and trying new ways in the first place. I am proud of myself for teaching myself to learn to drive a manual shift. I even later taught one of my sisters how to drive a manual shift.

It is OK to learn, teach, and continually expand your mind. But that expanding and stretching includes listening when God speaks to us directly, through others; and through situations. Have you been warned about anything?

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