Hesitation kills…

My father was a marine in the Vietnam war and, all my life, I have caught on to little tidbits of wisdom that stemmed from his training in the infantry. One of the phrases I am intimately familiar with is: hesitation kills. Those two little words are actually packed with wisdom in certain situations and, when I find myself in doubt, I like to shout that little reminder to myself inside.  Sometimes I even use my father’s voice to do it.

That phrase sunk its claws into my skull when I was learning how to drive. Nothing will stop a sixteen-year old’s heart behind the wheel like an ex-marine shouting, “Hesitation kills!” from the passenger seat while he white-knuckles the dashboard. I am sure he feared meeting his Maker when I was in control of the vehicle.  My nervous personality did not take well to driving at first. It got to the point where I refused to drive with my father in the car because I found myself bracing for that boisterous reminder of what hesitation does. He meant well and, all of these years later, I am so glad he white-knuckled the dashboard from the passenger seat while giving me some crash course military training.

When I need it the most, I hear his voice shouting at me about hesitation and it makes me smile.

When there is a flaming locomotive of doubt barreling around the train-track of your mind, blaring its horn and heading for a collision, it is well of you to survey the scene. We need to scan ahead and glance in the rear-view mirrors. Sometimes, revisiting the starting place needs to be done for our own protection and safety.

Years ago, I took a class on the book of Genesis when I was teaching Sunday school and trying to get a broader understanding of our origins. Now, if you can be as neurotic as I can, you know that doubt is something that wages war on your brain and twists up your insides into millions of tiny knots. Those knots get harder and harder to untangle the longer the neurosis of doubt afflicts you.

Just the tiniest little sliver of doubt has a domino effect with huge ramifications.

Genesis 3:1 introduced mankind to an often unnoticed question that led to a giant fall:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

I have really been noticing that the opposite of doubt is trust. Do you know how difficult it is to trust someone or something as long as doubt keeps driving through the neighborhood? Whew. Those little detours are so not fun, especially when the doubts are directed at yourself.

I was so unsure of myself when I was learning how to drive, I was horrible at it. I remember my older brother laughing his head off as I accidentally took the car into the wrong side of the road making my very first turn. I was clumsy at driving. I hesitated, I turtle-crawled when I should have been picking up speed, and it took a while for the brake pedal and I to get used to one another.

The first time I drove my two younger siblings in the car without an adult present, I got into a car accident. I was so nervous about anything happening to them while I was driving that I checked, double checked, and checked some more. It took me by total surprise when another car ran into mine while I was making a left turn. Everyone was okay, but I was shaken for a long time after that.

I have been turtle-crawling with doubt all week and it has been starting to pull me under a cloud. I have had to survey the scene of my mind to find out where it started and how to get it stopped.

If you are gripping the wheel of doubt and your foot is hovering over the break pedal, uncertain of what to do, it is probably time to stop the vehicle and let your Father drive.

When it comes to doubt of any kind, remember the wisdom of my military trained father: hesitation kills.

Father God,

Help me to hand over all of my doubts to You and increase my trust in Your will. Sometimes, I need to be the passenger while I trust You to drive me. Help me to rest in You and forgive me for allowing the doubts to pull me away from Your presence. Thank You for the peace that surpasses all understanding!


James 1:6
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

This post appears in the book: Shattered in Him © 2016 JD Mays

6 thoughts on “Hesitation kills…”

  1. Hello, I absolutely love your interpretation of this challenge. Personally I have done much too much hesitating in my life. I am not at all a religious person but, nevertheless, your writing and perspective on this challenge really speaks to me. Thanks.


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