Are you cruising, speeding or at a dead stop? If compared to a car, is the transmission of your life moving in the right direction?
If you want to go forward, put the car in drive. If you want to backup…reverse. To sit idle…well that would be neutral. Just like the transmission of a car controls the movement of the car…so does your stance or position in life control the movement (or lack thereof) in your life. As we enter into a new year it is a natural time of reflection. Reflection on the year that has passed; what one did or did not accomplish as well as what one hopes to achieve in the new year. Questions for you:
Is the transmission of your life in forward movement? Are you in the right or wrong gear to succeed? What or who is powering your life?
In the standard automatic transmission the gear options are: park, neutral, reverse, and drive. Same is true with life. Understanding each gear is the first step to identifying which gear one’s life is in. I have added an additional gear, and while it is technically not a gear…it is a situation that can arise both while driving a car and in life…getting stuck in-the-mud.
Parking a car means to bring it to a halt, to stop and leave in a parking spot with no movement. Are you starting the new year off in a parked position? Have you abandoned your life and decided to do nothing? Maybe the current situation is too difficult or finding a solution has taken too long. Maybe your faith is being challenged or fear has paralyzed you into no action at all. There are several reasons a person parks their life. Getting into motion will take intentional action.
Neutral means the car is disengaged from the engine. It is different from parked because park is the intentional act of no movement. Neutral is neither deciding to move nor not to move…it is coasting. Are you coasting into 2018? Have you lost your passion and fervor for life? Do you stand for anything or nothing? If you have no convictions in your heart and are going with the flow regardless of what it is, that might be the clue that you are in neutral. Is neutral the correct gear to help you accomplish your goals in 2018?
Reverse is backing the car-up, opposite of forward or drive. In life, reverse can mean going back into the past and mentally living there. It can mean going the opposite direction in which you really want/need to go. Shame, guilt or low self-esteem could be the culprit keeping you from forward movement. Do you find yourself constantly battling the same problems of the past? Could childhood pain or unforgiveness be holding you captive? This year is the year to switch gears. Nothing can be done to change the past, but you can make a new future.
Have you experienced being stuck in-the-mud? The car is literally unable to move and no matter what gear you put the car in the tires spin and go nowhere. That happens in life too. There are times when we get stuck in pain, brokenness, the past, sin, or failure. No matter what one tries, it has a hold that won’t let go and one remains stuck. Have you ever felt this way? Do you feel this way now…are you entering the new year stuck in-the-mud?
To put a car in drive means to guide, control or direct a car forward; to go somewhere with forward movement. Is your life in forward motion? Don’t pay attention to the speed…just forward movement. Are you advancing in your life…growing wiser, accomplishing goals, becoming all that God intended you to be? Are you working on your shortcomings and sin? Is your character becoming more like Christ by developing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control? This is the gear for 2018!
If you have identified yourself to be in park, neutral, reverse or stuck in-the-mud one reason might be your power source. Are you trying to propel life on your own strength or by the thoughts and opinions of others? What about the culture …how is the culture impacting your core beliefs about who you are and how loved you are? Is your life based on truth or lies?
God is the single power source that can pull you out of the mud or infuse passion back into your life. He can breathe hope into the parked life. And He can change your reverse motion by using all situations for good, for growth and forward movement.
Drive is the ultimate gear for living, but beware. Even in drive position the power source can be wrong. Striving in your own strength to be loved, significant or to control is not a lasting power source. It will eventually leave you alone, beaten up and bruised. Do regular heart checks. Clean yourself of selfish motives by humbly confessing to God and asking Him to restore in you a pure heart. God is loving and kind, and He will answer your prayers.
There are many examples in the Bible of forward movement. It is faith in action. Do you think Peter would have walked on water if he didn’t take the first step (Matthew 14:22-33)? What about the woman who suffered from 12 years of bleeding…she moved towards Jesus and got close enough to touch the fringe of His clothing and she was healed (Luke 8:43-48). Noah had to take action and build the ark! The examples are numerous! But if you notice in each story it took forward, faith action…God will work with even the smallest step. He never forces us because He loves us.
“The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Use your shepherd’s staff- hold it out over the water, and a path will open up before you through the sea.” Exodus 14:15
As we start the new year with hopeful expectation of what is to come, if you found yourself in the wrong gear…STOP right now and ask God to help you deal with your present condition. It could be as simple as being aware of the situation, setting some goals and making an intentional decision to change. Or it could be much more complicated. If so, ask for help. Call a friend to discuss and be accountable to. If needed, seek counseling or schedule a visit with your pastor. There is no shame in needing help. We all need someone sometimes!
Start this New Year Off in the Right Gear!
Sincerely with Hugs,
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