My Ambition is a Race Car!

by Shenay Shumake

I’m afraid.

I’m a private person and this is a public confession about my deepest fear. Sometimes my ambition really scares me.  I can see what’s ahead and it’s both exhilarating and frightening.

So here it is. I no longer look at the world as a stage and think I can never make it there.  I now think, “What will I wear while everyone’s watching?” As if they will be watching me.

Before you write me off, you must know I am not an attention-seeker.  After wrestling with insecurities, unbelief, rejection, doubt, abandonment… I am just really confident in God’s passionate love and encompassing Great Grace toward and upon me.

Still, there is a fine, barely perceptible line between God confidence and nasty pride.  Sometimes we must squint to see it.  Though fine, this line is eternal and rigid.  Crossing it most often ends in tears.

I’ve been working on a series of blog posts called, “When the Mirror Lies”.  I’m tackling the subject of identity.  I’ll bring you up to speed if you haven’t read them.  I make the case that God’s word is the only true mirror.  God knows who we are even when we don’t.  God makes extravagant and incredulous claims about us.  All true.  I only want to balance those truths with this: “We are only something when we give Him lead in everything.”

Some days it seems that my ambition has the engine of a race car.  My heart runs away with dreams and I can see God standing in the rear view mirror holding a sign that says, “Come back, you forgot Me.”

For a fleeting moment I hesitate.  Do I make a u-turn when I’m covering so much ground?  Should I slow down and let Him catch up?  My spirit shakes sense into my head and I slam on the brake.  My life comes to a screeching halt.  And I wait.  But He does not come.  I must return to Him.

I make a u-turn on this narrow road, swing around behind Him, and pull up beside Him.  I look to Him with tense expectation. 

“Are You getting in?”

I know better.  My heart is anxious as I reach across to the passenger side, hands white knuckling the steering wheel, and fling open the door for Him.  For a fleeting moment I think about how He’s always opened the door for me.

We’ve got so much ground to cover.  There are people waiting on us. We are already running late.  I should have been there years ago.

Interrupting my tirade of thoughts, He whispers, “Who told you to drive?” 

My eyes widen in embarrassment.

I look around all around me.  I didn’t know where I was or where I was going.  I didn’t know how to navigate the winding road.  I can’t see in the dark. I fling open the car door, weeping, my knees buckling from my own weakness. I kiss His hands and taste my salty tears.  I dive in the backseat as He takes the wheel.

“I’m so sorry, Lord, so sorry.” I weep.


I buckle in and brace myself as the car pulls off reaching speeds I never knew possible.

I have learned that there are at least 3 reasons I’m ill-equipped to drive to my destiny: I don’t know the obstacles that lie ahead.  I am not strong enough to keep the car steady on a bumpy road.  I can only go so far, so fast, and for so long before I tire or run out of gas.

The fulfillment of our life’s purpose and pleasing God rests in this: We are only who He says we are, and we can only do what He says we can do.  Absent from His breath, we are only dirt.  I share with you the Spirit’s whisper to me, “Let your ambition melt into submission and you’ll go farther, faster than you ever dreamed imaginable.”

I am the vine.  You are the branches.  If a man remains in me, and I in him; he will bear much fruit.  Apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV

How do you keep your ambition in check?  I’d love to hear from you.                                                                                                                                                                    

About Shenay:
I am a passionate woman, who is so in love with Jesus, my husband, my children, and my purpose.  Detroit is where I call home and where we lead a congregation of people to Big Life.  I was born to refresh thirsty hearts and inspire people to see life as God sees.  I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  Speaking for even longer.  God has given me beauty for ashes, and life is good.  Not bad for a Black girl from Detroit raised by teenage parents and later a widowed single mom on the east side of town.

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