I got a flat tire today.
It was a normal morning. Woke up, got ready, drove to Frothy Monkey. Yes, the usual routine. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that my wheel was getting harder to turn as if it was on the verge of locking up.
“Odd, “I thought before putting my car in park and skipping into FM to get my morning coffee.
When I came back out, I got in my car, turned on my iPod and started the drive to work. As I went through the gravel lot, I kept getting a sinking feeling that something felt wrong. My car felt like it was dragging a handful of dirty diapers underneath. (You’re welcome for that image).
I pulled into a parking lot and got out of my car. Sure enough, there it was. This wasn’t just a flat tire, this was a BAD flat tire. The kind of flat when the bottom of your tire is parallel to the ground.
As frustrating and inconvenient as this was, to be fair, I had an inkling something was wrong. A couple months ago my car began having trouble starting, shortly following, I started feeling like I was getting a workout when I would turn my wheel. Last week I parked my car on a hill and the tires seemed to have trouble grasping the ground, creaking even with the emergency brakes on. The noise was so concerning that I moved it, “just in case it crashes into the car behind me.” If that wasn’t enough warning, a day or so later my “your tires are low, dummy” light came on.
Sometimes life gives us warnings when we’re headed for destruction. It’s easy to ignore the warning signs, because if you’re like me, fixing problems is such a timely annoyance and there’s just not enough time in the every day business to deal with it.
Yet, as we continue on this road, the emergency lights come on, the road signs flash heavily along your drive. We don’t brake, we keep trekking, making little lies to ourselves that we’ll “deal with it later.”
Last month I started getting a call from an unknown number from California. Each time I would miss the call and there would be no voicemail. When I finally picked up, it was an automated message telling me it was time for my next tuneup. I sighed, pictured my emptying bank account, and deleted the message. After that, I started getting a weekly reminder email from my mechanic that I needed to bring my car in.
“I don’t have time! It’s such a pain to bring my car in!” So, like a good car owner, I continued to ignore the signs.
During this time, I spent a lot of time in my car. I spent over an hour and a half a day driving back and forth from work, I went on a couple long roadtrips and spent any opportunity I could taking shortcuts via the highway. If you think about it, there were a lot of opportunities for me to have crashed, there were also a lot of opportunities for me to ensure I was driving safely.
That’s the thing about destruction, we not only put ourselves in danger, but the people around us.
Amidst life’s warning signs, we also have opportunities to escape our pits. We can choose to forgive those who have hurt us, stop holding grudges, avoid complaining, make an effort to stop doing something (or maybe start) and surround ourselves around people that influence us well and lift us up. All of these steps lead us into a greater path. One that fuels our hearts and souls and gives us the tools we need to make wise choices and have a safer drive.
As I’m sitting here reflecting on this morning, I can’t help but think about how divinely wonderful our God is to us. There were so many terrible driving situations I could have been in then parked in a parking lot next to Frothy Monkey. It could have been this past weekend, when I was driving through the country with a car full of people I love or even this morning when I was weaving through traffic on the highway. Sometimes it takes slowing down and being home to realize you’re standing a few feet form the edge of the cliff.
If you’re reading this today and you’re driving down a road that just doesn’t feel right, stop. Turn around and find a new path. These signs are tugging your heartstrings for a reason. You’re never too old or too far gone to make a change. The only thing stopping you is yourself.
I know it’s hard and finding a new way make add a couple extra months or years to your destination. But here’s the thing. God is bigger than your bank account. He is bigger than your zip code, your relationship (or lack thereof), your disappointments or dead ends. Take some time to map out a new destination for yourself. Surround yourself around good people along the way, I’m talking about the kind that helps you change flat tires; their the ones who will encourage you through this.
Today is the day you drive down a new road, the kind that leads to good stories and happy endings. Jumpstart your dreams and don’t forget to change your tires before you go.