My middle age van is starting to show its age. The oil has been leaking, and I, of course, have no idea where it could be coming from but I want it fixed before it creates any more problems. I know it is leaking because it leaves a little stain on the driveway; it is very easy to notice. I know it needs dealing with because I believe, unmechanical as I am, that this could lead to greater and more expensive trouble if it goes unaddressed. Therefore I do what anyone would do, I go the mechanic and pay whatever it costs to fix the issue. I see this as important and urgent and so it is handled quickly.
Another leak that happened is a slow flat on one of the bikes in our house. When, on first inspection, I could not locate the hole in the tube I merely re-inflated it and waited and watched (idiotically hopeful that somehow miraculously the air will hold). Of course, two days later the tire is completely flat (such things never just “fix themselves”). The smallest, imperceptible to the looking eye, leak renders the bike unusable until it is dealt with. In our house, at least, this is urgent and important and so it is handled swiftly.
These quotidian little adventures in life has me thinking about where there might be leaks in my life that I am failing to notice or do anything about, or, maybe even more likely, leaks I know about but willfully ignore or simply hope will magically “go away”. I heard someone on a podcast recently say the hard part about hitting middle age is accepting who you are because it is increasingly less likely that it is going change; as in “I used to think I would ‘magically’ ‘grow out of’ character trait XYZ but that hasn’t happened, it turns out this is just who I am.” Sometimes the leak, like the van’s oil, is easy to notice, like anger that bubbles up too easily or often or the inability to turn down a strong drink when one has had enough already, or watching porn. Other times it might be, like the bike tube, more subtle: has my financial savvy turned into a lack of generosity, or my daily prayer time rendered me prideful?
More often than not, in my experience, we want to ignore these truths, we may naively hope they will just go away, but they don’t just go away.
The good news is that we are on still in process. We all have leaks of some sort and those leaks only lead to one outcome if left unaddressed. If we are to flourish as God intends us to then we must pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to where we are leaking and then to help us to actually fix the issue. Being in Christ means knowing we are loved and forgiven and this gives us the power to face the hard truths in our lives. Christ being in us also means we are not alone as we face them and strive to resolve them (God as car and/or bike mechanic???).
As a practice sometime this week resolve to fix one issue in your physical life (the door that sticks, the lightbulb that needs changing, notice these are intentionally small and easy to fix) and one spiritual or character flaw that needs working on. You don’t have to pick the biggest hardest problem (though that might pay the most dividends in your life) just take on something you feel you can handle, like sweeping out the garage or cleaning the pocket in the car door of your soul. You will be glad you did.