I don’t like maintenance. No, I’m not talking about the maintenance department. I love those people. I wish they worked at my house because at my house, I AM the maintenance department. I have to screen my own phone calls and text messages to myself about something I noticed that is broken.
Maintenance is not exciting to me because it isn’t a step forward. It’s right there in the word: maintain. You don’t maintain new things. You maintain things that already exist. I’d rather get something new. I’d rather be moving forward, onto new exciting things, rather than just working on something that is already there. That’s boring…
A few weeks ago, my car started making a noise. It wasn’t much at first so I ignored it hoping it would go away. (Why do we do this? It never goes away.) We all know where this is going: I ignored the sound, it got worse. Ignoring sounds on your car is like giving sunlight and water to a plant. It just grows.
I knew what was wrong. It was my brakes. I knew that it wouldn’t magically fix itself.
I don’t know what snapped in me but finally I got over myself and went to the parts store to buy the things I needed to fix my car.
Did I get to spend hundreds of dollars on a vacation? A new video game? A toy? No. Brake pads. I got to spend hundreds of dollars on something I can’t see and I only knew existed when they were broken.
Why was it hundreds of dollars? I thought it was way cheaper when you do it yourself? I’m glad you asked.
I haven’t given you the entire story yet. The noise that was coming from my car was not just a “brake pad” sound. It was what I would call a “brake pads+” sound that only leads to you needing more than pads, spending lots more money. I was afraid of the sound and that’s the part that kept me from jacking up the car and taking off the wheels. I was afraid of what I would find.
Isn’t it great when what you were afraid of… Turns out to be real.
It wasn’t just brake pads. The driver’s side rear wheel had a stuck caliper pin. We don’t have to get into all the details. The important piece is that I didn’t know how to fix it. It required prayer, YouTube, and a call to a friend. Think we’re done? No. It also required better gloves, a blow torch, and even more prayers.
Is it fixed now? Yes.
Hallelujah, thank God it is fixed. The process was difficult and scary. I even said some words that would lead to broadcast fines. I despaired a few times, thought about giving up, even calling a tow truck, but in the end, I fixed it.
Our hearts are a lot like those brakes of mine. They hide deep inside of us until big moments happen. A sudden need to stop brings those brakes to the forefront. The way a sudden “thing” in life, brings the best and the worst of our heart out. If those things aren’t properly maintained, what’s suppose to be just a quick stop crashes with consequences.
What kind of sounds is your heart making right now? Squeaky? Grinding? Shakings of dread? I can tell my heart needs some maintenance. It’s clear when I have what a disproportionate response. I rage at someone on the freeway. I rage at extra work that gets assigned. I rage at spilled coffee. When it seems like I get mad a lot over day to to day worries, I can tell something needs maintenance.
It doesn’t have to be anger. For you it might just be sadness. You cry at things. But, you know that you’re really crying about something else. You need to have a difficult conversation with a friend but instead you ghost them until the friendship ends.
My little “disproportionate responses”, are my squeaking breaks.
It means I have to take the wheels off and see what’s going on, but just like with my brakes, I often ignore the sound. Hoping and praying it will go away. That’s even worse. I use God as my excuse to not do the work. An excuse not to do the things that I know need done. Jesus never intended to be our excuse. He came so that we might have life. He expects us to take the wheels off and get to work.
Does He abandon us during our maintenance? No way. He gives us what we need. He heals us. He works with us. He guides us.
I know how to replace my brakes because when I got my first car, my dad started showing me how to maintain it. At first, he changed the brakes and the oil while I watched. It was over time he started having me do it. He was there to help if I needed, but he was training me so I could do it myself. I called him about my stuck caliper (I also called my friend Jason who used to be a mechanic. Shout out to Jason!).
Jesus wants to save us, heal us, and help us. But… He also wants us to learn, and to grow. Look at Ephesians 4:14-16
No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are easy prey for predators. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Whether it’s car maintenance or heart maintenance, the Holy Spirit will help us. He isn’t helping us so we can get lazy. He’s helping us because He loves us. He is helping us grow in Him.
So let’s get to work!