This morning one of the warning lights flashed on my dashboard. With a couple of beeps, this little car on a curvy road lit up in the corner. I was driving on loose gravel, and the van was telling me that the traction control system was helping stabilize my vehicle. This got me thinking about how useful those warning lights on the dashboard are.
Sometimes it’s the little car on a curvy road light, just flashing to tell me that the road is rough and my van has got it under control. Sometimes it’s completely expected and scheduled — the oil light flashes to advise me that it’s time to have that routine oil change. Other times, my own procrastination or stupidity causes the flash — Hey, silly girl! You can’t drive a car without gas! *beep, beep, beep* Why don’t you go to a gas station now and put some in?! And sometimes the lights flash because there is a real emergency – the car is overheating, and a gasket is going to blow if you don’t pull over and deal with it.
Throughout the years, I’ve learned there are warning lights in my life too. My job is to pay attention to them.
When ThingFive is continually annoying his brothers and sisters, just looking for trouble, he probably needs some extra attention. I need to have him help me with dinner or sit on the front porch with me or send him alone with daddy on an errand.
When ThingThree, the introvert, seems really grouchy and irritable, he probably isn’t getting enough time alone to relax and recharge. I need to keep everyone else away from his room for a while so he can build with Legos and be by himself.
If I feel so grouchy I can barely stand to be near myself, then I immediately know that I need more sleep or that I haven’t spent any time praying or reading my Bible lately. My grouchiness is my warning sign.
Years ago, a friend told me that when she catches herself being super-critical of her husband, then that’s her warning gauge going off that she isn’t spending enough time with God.
Relationships are important to me. I want to be aware of the warning lights flashing with my children and with my marriage, so I can do the routine maintenance or fix the small problem before it becomes a huge problem. Because I know if I ignore the routine oil change light, then the check engine light will eventually come on. And if I ignore the check engine light, then eventually the car will completely break down. And repair work is a whole lot more costly than routine maintenance.
I know. My car has overheated a time or two. I’ve run out of gas a couple of times. And I even cracked the engine when I handled a warning light the wrong way.
When those things happen, I apologize, learn from my mistake, and move forward in grace, paying close attention to the warning lights that flash on the dashboard.
“guard what has been entrusted to your care” – 1 Timothy 6:20