When it comes to vehicles, I am illiterate. I can change my oil, replace wiper blades, and put air into my tires, but outside of that, I am lost and hopeless. So, when my check engine light came on and the mechanic said, “we won’t touch your engine, you will need to take it to the dealership for repair, but it should be good to drive for a little while,” I took this timeline a little too far. Perhaps this scenario is one that painfully resonates with you. Day-to-day life gets busy and going to the dealership will turn into a full day trip; something I do not have
time for. I foolishly pushed forward with the check engine light on. After six months of ignoring it, I decided that an additional twenty hours to my parents’ house in Florida would not be that bad. Frankly, I was wrong! My vehicle made it to my parents, but it was forced to remain at the dealership. According to the mechanic, the diesel fuel filter “could turn into a fireball at any moment if you leave with it unrepaired.”
If our souls had visual dashboards, for some of us the check engine light would be shining brightly. Too often, like me and my vehicle-illiterate friends, we ignore that light until it is too late. Maybe we have a devastating interaction with our spouse that leaves us thinking, “There is no way to repair this.” Or you made some financial decisions that are finally catching up to you and now your commander is involved. Or maybe you think you have failed as a parent because your child has made some unchangeable decisions that greatly impact their future.
If you are sensing that your soul’s check engine light is on, here are some suggestions to resolve the issues before they can cause harm:
1. Put your phone down
Simon Sinek writes in Leaders Eat Last, “Just as an alcoholic removes the alcohol from their house because they can’t rely on their willpower not to drink, you need to find ways to keep yourself away from the addictive power of your devices.” Your devices are likely one key reason why your soul’s check engine light has not been serviced. Put them away, find time to connect with a friend, to meditate, or pray. You’ll struggle at first but give it time and you will see the positive impact.
2. Forgive someone who has hurt you
In my faith tradition, forgiveness is at the core of how someone lives. The instruction I have been given in how to pray includes the phrase, “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” When Jesus’ disciples ask him how many times they should forgive someone, Jesus replied, “seventy times seven.” Forgiveness can help us heal, reset, and recognize why the soul’s check engine light is on.
3. Celebrate the victories of people you care about
Celebration does not depend on perfect circumstances or happy feelings. The prophet Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, wrote, “My soul is downcast within me, yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” To set ourselves on this joy reminds us that we can choose how we respond to any particular moment.
Fellow Airmen, take time to check on the condition of your soul before a major problem happens. Find quiet, forgive someone, and celebrate a victory today. For information about Luke AFB Chaplain Corps programs & events, “like” us on Facebook @ Luke AFB Chapel. Feeling like you need to talk? Give us a call: 623-856-6211.