Slipping on the Hills of Life

Living in Colorado, we get snow.  Generally, I don’t have issues with driving on snow, but the other day, that was not the case.  Our car was in need of new tires, and I had been putting it off for financial reasons. Well, that ended up not being a good decision.  

I had gone to the ministry property, and while attempting to go up the drive, I was unable to get all the way up.  When backing down the narrow, snow covered, slick drive with inadequate tread on the tires, I went off the side and into a tree.  With one tire suspended in the air and the side of the car implanted in the midst of tree branches, I was stuck.

Asking for help

After crying out to God that this was not in my plans for the day, I had to come up with a way to get the car out.  Dallas was at home and could have brought our other vehicle, but it likely wouldn’t be big enough to pull the Acadia out of its predicament.  So, a little hiking was necessary.

I walked the roughly half mile to the neighbors and humbly knocked on the door to see if he could help.  (For those of you who read my blogs regularly, you are familiar with my humility lessons.) Fortunately, the neighbor was home and willing to help.

Enough Power to Pull

The neighbor brought his little tractor up with the thought it would be sufficient to pull the car out.  After trying a few different angles, it was obvious that the tractor wasn’t enough. We needed something heavier, with more power.  Time for plan B. He drove the tractor back home and brought his pickup truck.

It required some effort, but with enough weight and power pulling, we were able to get the Acadia back on the driveway.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t all that was needed. The tree branches tore off the passenger side mirror. And, in the process of sliding, I managed to slice one of the tires.  I backed the car down to a relatively flat part of the drive and changed the tire for the spare.

An Acadia isn’t a small vehicle, nor is it a large SUV like a Suburban, but it is big enough that one of those Mickey Mouse spares just drives weird.  Especially on snow covered, dirt roads. Alas, I was able to slowly drive home. A couple hours later than planned.

Get a grip

As I was hiking back from the neighbor’s, a little calmer than on the walk down, I knew that there was a lesson in this adventure.  At the time it wasn’t very clear. The next day, when telling a friend about the event, it became obvious.

In our spiritual lives, just like when driving, we need to have good traction.

Regardless of the length, and breadth, of our journey with the Lord, we will have times of difficulty.  These may look like hills to go up, where, without the right amount of grip, you aren’t going to make it.  Maybe it is an unexpected slick spot, like an ice patch or snow on the road. In our journeys, these may look like temptations or difficult people.  It may be somewhere that you have been a hundred times before, but this time it’s different. Whatever it is that comes your way, do you have enough tread?

When we don’t keep ourselves properly treaded, trouble and damage may result.  In the case of our car, it was a sliced tire, a broken mirror and dents and scratches along the side.  In our spiritual journey, the damage could be to relationships, peace of mind, or comfort; or there may be any number of other problems arise from our slipping.  

How do you make sure that you have adequate spiritual tread?  It all depends on our connection with the Lord.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit are our tread.  When we have Him as our connection to the things of this world, we can maintain traction.  In His love and with the fruits of the Spirit, we are able to safely navigate the hard days of life.

Damage Repair

After the accident, I had to assess the damage and go about making repairs.  New tires were purchased, a new mirror and matching paint were ordered. The scratches will remain as a reminder for the future of things to avoid (and of my gratitude for Dallas being a forgiving wife).

When we get off the path in our life journey, we need to assess the damage and make repairs just like with the car.  There will often be a cost involved. Despite how much you may try, shear force of willpower will not correct the damage and make it all go away.  You must make time and space for repairing the damage in your life.

What repairs are needed and how we go about them will depend on the damage done.  Often, this requires going to other people to apologize and seek restoration of relationship.  In all situations, we need to go to our Heavenly Father and ask forgiveness, which He promises to grant (1 John 1:9).  

Some scars may remain as reminders for us in the future.  We all have baggage from our past (and sometimes our present).  It is easy to beat ourselves up for years. That is not a healthy response.  Instead, when we receive God’s forgiveness, we need to also forgive ourselves.  We need to use the lessons of the past for a healthy walk in the future.

For about a week, while waiting for the part, we drove with a broken mirror.  It made lane changes a bit interesting but there was enough there to still see and drive safely.  Mirrors on the car allow us to see what is behind and beside us. It is important to remember the past and be looking around, but our focus needs to be on what is ahead.  

How’s your traction?

When you look at your spiritual life, are you well-treaded in Jesus?  Do you have a good connection with the Lord, and are you walking continually in communion with Him?  It is vital that we spend quality time in Scripture, prayer and worship. It is also essential that we have Godly accountability in people that journey with us.  

We all have our moments when we slip.  When you slip, make the repairs necessary to move forward well.  As you grow and mature, those times should become less frequent. Don’t allow mistakes to define who you are and inhibit you from doing the things that the Lord has called you to do.

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Finding Forgiveness

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