A year ago, we bought my dream car:
A 2013 Honda Odyssey.
Up until that point, our kids had never seen power windows or doors. The only car we had since they were born was our basic, basic Dodge Caravan:
No power locks. No power windows. No power anything. It did, however have air conditioning!
It was fine. I mean, many people all over the world would kill to have a reliable car, regardless of whether it had any bells & whistles.
When we first got our new car, our son said, “Wowwwwwwww! It’s like a limousine!” It really was. I can’t even say how fun and wonderful it was to have doors that closed automatically (softly, I might add–no more slamming doors!), windows that rolled down at the press of a button, and blue tooth over the speakers! It was just amazing to me. Our kids reveled in the backseat climate control and individual cup holders.
For months, we oohed and ahhed every time we got in the car. We drove to Mexico on a mission trip a few months after getting the car, and it was like we teleported. Driving in luxury sure can make a trip go by fast. 12 hours? It felt more like two.
Alas, the novelty of having all the bells & whistles slowly wore off. By the end of the year, it was the norm. No more excitement at being able to control the backseat temperature, no more comments about how amazing our car was. It had become comfortable, familiar. It was just normal.
To me, it’s still special. I love getting into my car pretty much every time I’m going to drive it. But for the kids, it’s just a plain ol’ car.
It made me think. (Sometimes that happens when I put my mind to it).
This car is a lot like our relationship with God.
It starts out fresh, new, exciting. We want to share it with everyone. We go sit in it at 10:00 at night, just to be in it. Every crumb, every speck of lint gets picked up right away. We keep it shiny, clean and we baby it as much as possible.
When we first make a decision to follow Jesus, we want to shout out to the world how excited we are. We stay up late at night, reading God’s word, yearning to hear from Him, just wanting to be with Him. We protect our faith–we make sure it’s a priority in our lives.
But then, familiarity sets in. Suddenly, we realize it’s been days since we spent time with God. We forget what that spark feels like.
We approach God with the same attitude my kids approach my car: not with reverence and awe, but just to meet a need.
It’s utilitarian. Practical. Yes, we still love it. We wouldn’t want to live without it. But it becomes more about efficiency instead of emotion.
Now, I’m not saying efficiency is a bad thing, or that our lives should be run by emotion. But God wants our heart. He wants to know we long for Him and seek Him, and that we would do anything just to be able to steal away for a few moments alone with Him.
But, how do you reignite that fire? How do you take a relationship that’s familiar and comfortable and “normal” and turn it back into something fresh, exciting and motivating?
What do you do with a car when you really want to spruce it up? You detail it. You meticulously vacuum the inside, clean the dashboard, wipe all the smudges off the windows. You hang a new air freshener on the mirror.
Take a good look at your relationship with God. Detail it. Dust out the cobwebs by finding something new and challenging to work on. Serve other people. Ask God to come in and revitalize your prayer life. Pray. Find a book or a devotional that will help grow you spiritually. HERE are some books that have motivated me to keep on keeping on (not all of them are spiritual).
Most of all, be willing to put in a little elbow grease to get to your goal. Living life complacently will only end poorly. Actively seek ways to keep your relationship with God alive, and you will reap rewards you never expected! Don’t let familiarity cloud the amazing blessing you have right before you.