Check Engine: “Spiritual Maintenance Required”

I’ve been struggling to find the words to write something of quality or even just about where I am in life or mentally. I’m not the kind of person to just churn out pointless content. I value that the words I write paint a picture I love. Like art or God, it’s/He’s in the details. That is, until the other day when I was driving my grandparents’ car and the words “Maintenance Required” popped up on the dashboard. I instantly felt myself thinking, “Wow, you too? I feel ya.” Haha. This is of course after a choice word or two slipped out and me thinking about how my grandparents are going to try to pin this one on me. They barely let me borrow their car while mine was in the shop. My mom had to persuade them that I would take “real” good care of it because “she didn’t trust my car” to drive to Chicago. Turns out I didn’t trust my car either and at the rate I’m going I’ll never get written in my grandparents will. 😉

I always think that I’ll write about my feelings later on down the road when they don’t hit quite so close to home. Don’t leave me so vulnerable or exposed for others to evaluate as weak, ungrateful, victimizing. But I’m the type that when things get tough, I cut people off, cut my feelings off, go numb, put my head down, and truck on and through. I always want to be someone who rises above it all, but why is it so bad to talk about the lows of it all? In this world where everyone wants rainbows, butterflies, motivation, and positivity, where’s the real? So let me try to open myself up again after locking it down to people, feelings, and all the little things in between. It sucks to truly feel it all, but it’s much, much worse when you just go numb. And I’d like to feel again.

Like any big life change, there will be a period of transition. It differs for everyone depending on their own life situation and the people and things involved. So, while I’ve had other athletes tell me to just get over it and move on, this is my story and nobody else gets to tell me how to feel during my time of transitioning to the next version of me. These last few months I’ve been running around being crazy busy, always doing something, waking up at 7am and getting home around 8pm. Partially because I didn’t want to feel; I didn’t want to look that familiar stranger in the mirror.

Lately, I’ve felt like a bigger mess than usual. As if things were spinning out of my control and some parts of my mentality and life were breaking down. Like I needed new tires from driving them into the ground just to keep going. Riding on grace. Yet, even grace seemed to take a back seat for a bit while I tried to gain control after a little rain. You see, I needed maintenance. I needed physical maintenance because I wasn’t taking care of my body the way I used to, as I adjusted to working a job behind a computer. I needed mental maintenance, as I neglected what was going on underneath, trying to speed through this chapter to get to the “good stuff”. I needed spiritual maintenance as my relationship with God somewhat fell through the cracks of my jam-packed schedule as I attempted to do it all on my own. I’m stubborn, or so my parents tell people. I’m not good at asking for help or receiving help, but I am good at doing the helping.

My mentality is that I love to HELP people, but how can I do that if I can’t help myself?! If I can’t do it on my own, then why would I give other people advice on how to do it? I’ve been single for so long. Independent for so long. Done so many terrifying things alone. Relying on someone else is difficult to me. Sadly this isn’t the first time I didn’t look to God first before trucking on, isolating myself and my feelings; unintentionally cutting off the conversation with Him in the process. I went to church, felt close to God on Sunday’s and stuff, but Monday came and it was back to speed racing with nobody in the passenger seat. I didn’t stop to open the door to invite Him along for the weekly trip. I didn’t have anyone to help me with directions or help read the map (Google Maps of course because Lord only knows what a paper map looks like). Oh, what a guy thing to do and not ask for directions because “I’m not lost! I know where I’m at. I know where I’m going!” … But I don’t, this is all new to me.

So here I sit, after experiencing a good amount of anxiety, burn-out, and a loss of control, and recognizing a little bit of the old me missing. This is me pulling over to the side of the road, telling you that I’m getting maintenance. I’m getting my system checked, new tires, breaks, an oil change (on the “Poppens’ Farms tab of course cause that’s a tax write off 😉 jk Dad… kinda). And of course, getting back to having a daily dialogue with the Big Guy Upstairs instead of a monologue of me asking for his help when I “need” it. I’m working on not being so stubborn in difficult times that I don’t bow my head seeking Him first before trucking on. It’d be nice to have my path lit before I take off in the dark. It’d be nice to talk to God more than I do to Siri searching for my next direction. It’d be nice to look to God more than I look at Google Maps while it leads me through the bad part of town as the so called “quickest” route to my destination or doom.

I share this because I know some of you will relate in some way. You’ll recognize a bit yourself in my message and in my weaknesses. We all go through it and we all occasionally need to get our systems checked, preferably before that dashboard light comes on. But hey, even Lamborghinis need a little maintenance. Not saying that’s me, no, right now I’m just a 2009 Ford Fusion with an unknown amount of miles left to give, but I do have God as my mechanic and co-pilot. I may not always trust the car I’m currently driving, but I do trust Him. So there’s that…just me riding on Grace. Take me as I am.

“Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.”

Proverbs 3:6

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