by Joanie Butman
Not that this is newsworthy, but the makeshift ‘Band-Aids’ on my car have been replaced with a shiny new front end. One weekend and $1500 later, you’d never know I was in a fender bender. It’s such a great example of how my husband and I approach car maintenance. I would have driven the car as it was, held together by string and bungees, for the rest of the summer without issue, or at least until I was done driving into the city. When people see a car that’s tied together, they tend to give you a wide berth. Honestly, I probably would have waited until one of them snapped before even thinking about repairs.
My husband, on the other hand, is fastidious with his car. He doesn’t even like to sit in mine because it doesn’t live up to his standard of cleanliness and could definitely use some aroma therapy. In my defense, it is the car that is constantly moving furniture, taking the garbage to the dump, hauling plants and gardening supplies or any other number of utilitarian errands. It’s a workhorse – far from the pristine luxury of his vehicle.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but my approach to car maintenance is reminiscent of my approach to sin. I tend to let it go on far too long without doing the necessary repairs and maintenance. Frequently, I wait until I’m ready to snap before addressing the issue. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go away for a $1500 weekend and return totally refurbished? Hmm…come to think of it, I’ve tried to do exactly that on a number of occasions by attending spiritual retreats. Though it’s a great jumpstart, in my experience spiritual health is a life-long endeavor and never a quick fix. Spiritual maintenance takes daily diligence in order to ensure peak performance; and the better you feel on the inside, the better you look on the outside.
Like my car, there are days when I feel like my spiritual life is being held together by a tenuous string, dangerously close to snapping. What are the lyrics to that old Shirelles' song? “They’ll be days like this my momma said.” Even the spiritual giants of the Bible experienced ‘days like this’ (and lots of them) when they wrestled with their faith. The book of Psalms is full of their faith struggles, and there were no spiritual retreats available for encouragement. They just poured their hearts out to God – doubts, anger, fear, impatience, etc. I don’t think there’s an emotion they don’t address.
When I feel emotionally and spiritually stretched to the limit, I choose the Psalmists’ winning formula of laying any fears and concerns before the Lord, reminding myself of His promises, claiming them anew and finishing with praise and thanks for His everlasting love, patience, mercy and sovereignty over my life – especially when it doesn’t feel that way. I learned long ago that my ‘feelings’ can’t be trusted. Just because I feel something doesn’t make it true.
There are days I feel like I can’t do anything right, I’m worthless, I’m a loser, I’m stupid – you get the idea. Feelings are fickle. They come and go, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, and so are His promises. So, when my mind starts to drift into the wrong lane where negative thoughts run amuck, I choose to recite Biblical truths that never change. Therein lies the value of memorizing scripture.
There’s a reason Satan is called the father of lies. He loves to whisper negative messages into our minds undermining our intrinsic worth as children of God. Despite our polished exteriors, we’re all susceptible to his whispers on occasion; and he knows which ones we are most vulnerable to. Our best defense is a good offense because for every lie there is a truth to counteract it. It would be a wise choice to find scripture to defend yourself against whatever negative thoughts haunt you. The following chart is a perfect example.
In conclusion, the only reliable spiritual mechanic is Jesus and the only spiritual repair shop you’ll ever need to visit is the Bible. It contains healing balm for whatever ails you. My advice? Don’t wait to snap before availing yourself of all it has to offer. Best to apply the Word liberally and daily in preparation for the collisions of life. Our salvation and restoration come at a great cost – but not to us. Christ has paid in full. Why wait to join God’s universal restoration project? All are welcome, and no appointments necessary. He is in the business of making all things new. Will you choose to be one of them?