The other day I “kind of” rear ended a guy. It was rush hour traffic and I was in my regular post-work decompress routine which, if itemized, looks like this:

  1. Ride elevator from 20th floor to 3rd floor.
  2. Person getting on from 3, gets off on 2. (Because, seriously, you couldn’t descend one flight of stairs you lazy oaf?)
  3. Get in car.
  4. Scream. Pound steering wheel. Hysterically ask “why” several times.
  5. Speed out of the parking garage. Mentally prepare for a ticket I will most likely get (ironically, they hand out speeding tickets in the NASCAR parking garage).
  6. Call friend or sister. Get v-mail. Leave sassy message.
  7. Turn on praise music.
  8. Sit in traffic on the way to the gym.
  9. Get lost in praise music.

This particular day I was listening to a particularly spirited song while sitting in stand-still traffic. Letting off the brake as the traffic started to slowly move, I was “thanking Him for the blood” with everything I had and with a fist pump, I threw my head back with my eyes closed, and before I knew it rolled right into the tow thingy of the Explorer in front of me. Whoops. His car was fine, mine is a little scraped up. Nothing major. Not even worth fixing immediately.

Which is what I said when I gently grazed the front passenger bumper against the red pylon in the parking garage last month. And the drivers side bumper on the purple pylon at the mall last fall. And the scrape on the rear passenger door which I have no idea how it got there but swear wasn’t my fault. Or the coffee stained carpet, compliments of the giant pothole in front of my Starbucks, which, incidentally, they should really do something about. All vaguely noticeable, but not major enough to fix right now. At least I put premium gas in it.

But my sweet ride is starting to look sort of….shabby. Uncared for. A luxury car with a face full of acne and curb rash. If I had just taken my time, kept my eyes open, entered/exited carefully it would look as new as the day I bought it. My haste and carelessness has sacrificed it’s beauty and any premium I had hoped for on the resale.

Isn’t that how so many of us are living our lives? Sort of haphazardly making daily choices – not big, life changing choices – but just sort of letting life happen instead of being intentional about it? Rather than anticipating and setting the stage for the big work that God has to come in the future, we just cruise along doing our daily routine and whoops, small wrong choice there – eh, that’s just a little purple pylon paint.  Instead of immediately taking care of it, determining what caused the misstep in the first place and nipping it in the bud, we pretend like it’s not there. Not a big enough deal to take care of. Until one day we turn around and our life – the one of a self-proclaimed Christ follower – just doesn’t look right. We’ve failed to meet the higher standard to which we are called to live as Christians.

I think at some point in our walk we all get pylon paint on us…sometimes because we get tired of the discipline, not immediately seeing the reward of it. Or because it’s just too much like work, it’s just easier to be a good imperfect person than an imperfect person who is, out of a heart of love, striving to live with mind, body and soul commitment. But I want to live so that my life would be used by God in the way he perfectly intended it rather than in a constant state of jeopardizing the work that the Lord might have done through my life because I’ve let so many little wrong choices add up and destroy me.

Because my mind runs at an exhausting rate, in 0.2 seconds my rationalization for actions can swing from “that nailed Jesus to the cross” all of the way to “What’s the worst that could happen?  They take away my birthday?” So I’ve been claiming this pro-active verse over and over again in my own life: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Making every thought and choice obedient is like using my blinker every time. Maybe not always essential,  but pro-actively avoiding total calamity. There is freedom in that discipline.

However… I’m thinking it’s time for a new car anyway.  I’m due for an oil change.

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