My first car was not a clunker. But the air conditioner stopped working. My dad took it (before it was technically mine) to the shop to get that and some other things fixed. The shop called us and told us it was fixed so we went to pick it up.
I got in the car and drove to a gas station across the street. I pumped the gas and then got in my car and it wouldn’t start. Nothing. Nada. It wouldn’t start.
Needless to say, it went back to the shop. The mechanic diagnosed the problem and after a few days, they called us again to let us know it was ready.
When we picked it up, it ran well but the air conditioner still didn’t work. It would blow air, but it blew hot, dusty West Texas wind.
So, back it went. Again, the mechanic diagnosed the problem and fixed the issue. And again, we went to pick it up. The air conditioner worked for about 10 minutes and then it stopped. Again.
But this time, I didn’t have time to take it back. So I lived with it.
A while later I took it to another mechanic...who diagnosed the problem and then “fixed it”. For about ten minutes.
Every time I took it in, it was in better shape and ran better than it did when I took it in. But the problem I took it in for wasn't necessarily fixed.
I eventually just stopped trying to get it fixed. The car ran well and air conditioning is luxury...so I just stopped putting money into it.
A while after, I had trouble getting it to start. A friend diagnosed the problem and showed me how to get it to start without really fixing the problem...with the intention that I would temporarily use this method and then get it fixed when I could.
But my car started so I didn’t get it fixed. For over a year, before I could start my car I had to lift the hood, bang on the thing my friend told me to bang on with a long screwdriver and then run to get in the car and start it. There were times when I didn’t hit it efficiently so I would have to start the whole process over again.
I feel like my experience with my car is kind of what I’ve experienced in my spiritual life.
I identify my problems and get help fixing them. Only to discover there’s a whole other level of stuff to fix. Or I have fixed the problem on a surface level but there is an oceans depth underneath that I didn’t even know was there.
And sometimes I’m so excited about the growth that I don’t even realize how bad something still is. Like, it’s better than it was and I don’t realize that it still isn’t good. I grow complacent, simply because I don’t realize that it or I could be even better. I set my expectations low because I focus too much on myself and what I think I’m capable of, instead of trusting God to do whatever work He sees fit to. I think, well, this is great, better than I ever thought it could be...because I don't expect to receive really good things. I believe that I deserve livable conditions but not an abundant life. So I don't expect it. I stop allowing God to work because I don't think I can have really good things.
This is also true in our marriage.
Michael and I have been getting some counseling. And last night he looked at us and said “how on earth have you made it this long?”
I don’t know the answer to that. The thing is, I feel like we didn’t and maybe still don’t know how bad things have been. I mean, we’ve always known that things were bad. But, I guess we didn’t know how bad they really were. Like, you know how sometimes people who have been abused don’t realize they were abused because they thought it was normal? Like that.
I guess God has allowed us to see things as we were able to. And I am thankful for that. And I am thankful to know that there is something better. That God can make this new. That somehow he can find that boy who held my mints and this girl that asked him to and make us into the people He always meant for us to be and we destroyed in our sin.