Sunday I went to my pastors house after church. Tim and Pam are so amazing about sharing their life, and food, and heart with people. I have learned so much about the value of breaking bread with people and transparency at the Wolfe house.
Anyway, they live on top of a hill, while the ice was mostly gone there were still patches of slushy stuff on the side of the street where I normally park. The sun was out, I didn’t need my coat, my tires were firmly on dry pavement. Ice was not on my radar. I know that I had just spent an entire week hanging out at my house because the ice on the roads weren’t safe for the school buses. Our local news spent the entire week showing film of cars sliding on the ice and smashing in to things. And yet I was completely oblivious to the ice where I was about to park.
I pulled up and slowly my car lost traction. Before I knew it I was stuck on the only patch of ice left on the road big enough to get stuck on. This cannot be happening, I thought. I am from Toledo, Ohio and every Christmas we would make the trek to north of Albany. I am not new to snow banks and black ice. So why was I spinning my wheels on a patch of icey slush smaller than an area rug?
The truth was, I wasn’t paying attention. People who know me well can tell you that this is a theme in my life. I bring the baby but not the freshly packed diaper bag, I miss a turn I have taken every day for 6 months, I forget to sign in (something I do every. single. day. at work). I do all of these things because I am not the best at paying attention. People who know me really well can tell you that this is also the case in my spiritual life.
I will really struggle with something. Selfishness, anger, lack of discipline, the particular sin doesn’t really matter. I think about it, pray about it, remember to be vigilante. Pretty soon what was once an icy road of anger is now just a slushy patch. And when I stop paying attention, I run right into it. And before I know it I am stuck. And then things really get interesting.
My tires were spinning, my car was sliding and yet I didn’t think I needed to get anyone to help me out of my little situation on the hill. I still thought I had it under control. All I needed to do was to back up enough that my tires were no longer on the ice. Then I could drive around the corner to my second favorite parking spot and pretend as though I had everything together all along. What kind of yankee gets their tires stuck in Atlanta ice? You have got to be joking!
So I tried backing up, which led to sliding around a little bit, and a little bit more, and a tiny bit more. I tried trying to go forwad, then backward. I tried and I tried till I was practically touching a car on the other side of the street and Pam and her neighbor are outside of her house watching me. Lovely. So much for that no one has to know thing.
After getting the neighbor to move their car so no one has to call the insurance adjuster I became completely unstuck. I was fully embarrassed, and well aware that there really was no one to blame but myself, and that my refusal to admit I was stuck in the first place only made my problem worse (or maybe I just blame it on the lack of four wheel drive……) Which is also the case spiritually. And I doubt I am the only one who has this problem.
The scenario is always the same, I sin. I feel convicted. Instead of acknowledging the sin, asking for forgiveness, and truly repenting, I pretend it isn’t there. Full speed ahead! Even as the tires on my spiritual life are spinning and squealing. Pretty soon the rest of my life is slipping out of my control too. But I don’t repent. I don’t admit that I messed up and need some help. Before I know it I have some sort of wreck in my life that is far beyond the initial slip. Because I wouldn’t stop and acknowledge that I have a problem.
I spin my wheels, I back pedal. I do pretty much everything but stop and look at my Lord and tell him, I am stuck. I refuse to repent, to God or anyone else in my life. I decide to turn my life into a car wreck. I’m learning that this isn’t the best way to go. I am learning to hit the brakes and call for help.