Recently I took my car to the mechanic for a much needed inspection. About a month or so ago, a new driver (who shall remain nameless!) took a practice drive in my vehicle. While pulling up my driveway, the driver bumped into a stone landscaping wall. There was no major damage, just a few scratches which I wasn’t worried about, so I didn’t think too much of it. However, later that week when I was driving the car, I began to notice that it was making a screeching sound every time I made a turn. I knew something had to be wrong with it, but my schedule was too busy to get it into the mechanic, so I just kept driving it. Over time the screeching sound grew louder, to the point where I was actually embarrassed to make a turn and was starting to fear for my safety. Finally, I put aside all excuses and made an appointment with the mechanic.
After checking it out, Howard, the mechanic, told me that the problem was in the alignment. He went on to say that most alignments are done on a 1/16th scale. However, my front driver’s side wheel was off by 4 inches! That would account for the screeching sound! Howard said he’d done his best to align my vehicle properly, but with the length of time I’d been driving on it, it’s possible I’d already done some permanent damage to the tires.
As I turned out of the parking lot, content with my ability to do so quietly, I couldn’t help but think of another type of alignment – my spiritual alignment. Sometimes all it takes is a little bump in the road or a moment of being distracted by the world or inattentive to the Spirit to throw it off. When this happens, it’s easy enough to fix. I just need to stop and turn things over to the Master Mechanic, who has all the tools to re-align me.
The problem occurs when I put off that visit to the Master Mechanic. When I’m too busy and consumed by my schedule, my routine, my deadlines and responsibilities to stop and straighten things out. Instead, I just keep on driving and driving, doing my best to ignore the problem even while I know full well it’s there. It may not sound like screeching tires on pavement, but something feels wrong, and there’s often a nagging inner voice that says, “Please, STOP! You’re only making things worse.” And this is how in no time, I find myself off-kilter by 4 inches instead of a mere 1/16th, and possibly with permanent damage to my “vehicle” – in this case, my very self.
If you’re anything like me, you have to fight hard to stop. It’s much easier to be whisked along by the current of constant activity. But the longer we go on like that, the more we will find ourselves becoming aligned to the things of this world and out of alignment with Christ. To stop and to be in the Savior’s presence through prayer and the reading of His Word are the only things that can keep us properly aligned.
Lately I have been finding the joy of stopping and taking a rest from my go, go, go way of doing things. On one hand, it’s difficult, because I’ve become so accustomed to it that it almost seems like there is no other way. But on the other hand, it’s the most refreshing thing ever because I can see that some of the things I’ve taken for granted as ‘essentials’ in my life may really be ‘non-essentials’. In these moments of stillness and silence before the Lord, I am able to take a good hard look at my life and my activities and ask God to align them to His will for me.
One of my favorite Bible verses has always been Psalm 46:10a — Be still and know that I am God! When I stop, I am better able to see that He is God, and I am not. When I am still, I remember that it is not my constant flurry of activity that is holding up the planet, but rather His Almighty hand. And isn’t this the beginning of the very knowledge and understanding that is needed if I am going to be properly spiritually aligned?
So what are you waiting for? If you’ve been hearing a spiritual screeching, it may be time to stop in for a tune-up. But don’t worry, you don’t need an appointment. The Master Mechanic is never too busy to fit you into His schedule.