I’m sitting at the car dealership where there’s a computer kiosk, right beside a vending machine selling 5 Hour Energy Drinks. Really. In a car dealership you need 5 hour energy drinks? Maybe so. I don’t know if you would like to drink one in a waiting room though.
My car has needed an oil change for the longest time. It’s one of those new kinds that instead of looking at the lovely sticker that the last oil change put on your car saying what mile to bring it back on, it tells you you’ve got 15% oil life left, 10% and so on. Let’s just say I’m way over after the 0% and when you do that it flashes at you at all times this little yellow wrench. You would think that the little wrench would have been annoying enough that it would have spurred me on to take the car in. Quite the contrary. In some ways it was a fun game to see how long it would take me to notice. Especially on a drive to Columbia, there were many miles that I didn’t notice and then out of the corner of my eye I would think, what is that thing flashing and lo and behold I would remember the wrench.
Yes, it would inspire some guilt and I would think gosh, I am really stinking at getting things done right now but then I would remind myself it’s the end of the semester, things are crazy, a break is coming.
I don’t know about you but it seems like that’s a habit in my life. There are times when I push through the busy and just keep going well past the yellow light of the wrench blinking. Last night I began praying before I went to sleep and in my mind I started saying the words to the blessing I often pray when sharing a meal with the students. That’s not a good sign folks. When what naturally comes out is just the pattern and is not so much the heart, that gives me pause.
But is it a pause that I will do something about? I don’t know.
You see, I would like to think that if my prayer life or my family life or my work life or my scale of sanity had a blinking yellow wrench every time I woke up to show me that I need to get a tune up, I would actually do something about it. I would right the wrong or at least make an intentional effort. You would think this, right?
But then again, I have gone hundreds of miles with this blinking light and as much as I feel guilty when others drive my car or if someone sees the blinking light, it hasn’t forced me to remedy it. I may know that it needs fixing, others may see that it needs fixing, but if I don’t make the choice to do something about it, than it languishes in it’s oil-less misery getting worse and worse with more and more damage.
I think there are seasons where we wonder, is this the time? Is this when I should make the change? Is this the moment to make some new habits?
And then – at least I – think, well it’s not New Years and it’s not my birthday and it’s not some milestone moment. Am I really going to do whatever this Is at least 6-8 times to actually make it a habit? Is this a good enough moment? Is it a dire enough situation?
When I first talked to my neurosurgeon about the brain tumor, one of the perhaps idiotic things that I asked, was if taking my vitamins now and exercising now what make a difference. I’m not saying those things would have made any difference in the grand scheme of things but I look back at the irony of that question, like – can I get a do over and actually do things “right” and that make everything better?
We don’t do things like take seriously our devotional and prayer life, be fully present with our kids and treasure our spouse, and try to live as an example of the love of Christ instead of just a harried, frustrated, tired person, just because it’s “right” or it’s going to be the cure all. We do these things because they help to make as whole. God doesn’t command things just for the heck of it or so that we can walk around with halos. God commands things because God wants the best for us and wants to save us as much heartache and hurt as possible. The Honda company doesn’t just have the wrench light up for no reason, but because it’s something that I need to deal with NOW and not 1,000 miles later.
So what are some things that we need to take seriously? Is our check engine light on? Or is it just an oil change that is needed? What are some areas that we see as things that need our attention?
The awesome thing is that we don’t do all the work by ourselves. Just like, I’m not the one in the shop working on my car right now, I’m also not the one who has to try to “fix” my life all by myself. It’s not even really about fixing. It’s about being open to God and God’s leading and opening our eyes to our growing edges. This is not because God loves us any less or that anything can separate us from the love of God, because we know that’s not true, but it’s so that we are firing on all cylinders and are ready for whatever life may throw at us.
Oh my all of these cars references are killing me. One more though – let us this day, this Advent, not just waiting for New Year’s, let the Great Mechanic open us up and give us the tune up that we need. Let us be open to that. Let us be ready for that. Let us take it seriously and be ready. Even in the midst of the hustle and bustle, there are times when we need to take a breath and pause things for a bit so that we can continue on in the most full and abundant way that we can.