For two weeks now, our car has been sitting out on the driveway, waiting to be fixed.
*insert rolling eyes emoji*
There’s an older man across the road who has his little “Mechanic on Duty” sign outside his house, so in an effort to support this local small business and also save the hassle of getting the car towed, my mum went and asked him to service the car…
For A WEEK, he’d been coming over and slowly looking under the bonnet, getting under the car, ordering parts then disappearing for a day or two then coming back and still not having any solution for what he was trying to achieve- just starting the motor. Â The whole time he is holding on to the keys of the car so that he can work on it at his own convenience.Â
Yesterday, needing to get into the car, I made my way over to his house to take the keys off him. Â He frivolously explained that he was waiting for parts and wasn’t sure what was wrong with the car, that he was sick and hadn’t had time to come over as he had promised. Yet he assured me he had another mechanic working with him now that would come and fix it with him…”tomorrow morning.”
Well many mornings had already passed.
•Mornings where my mum had to get up an hour earlier to catch a bus to work. (This is her car that she’s been allowing us to use with her for the last year!)
•A morning where my son needed to be at school at 7:30 to go to a sports event. (A twenty minute drive away that meant one of us having to catch a bus with him at 6am instead.)
•One morning where I had to get across town to go to my second job interview. (Which meant I had to walk 5km to pick up a friends car and use that instead.)
•Mornings where we needed to be at church early hours and had to search far and wide for a ride when time didn’t allow for walking there.
Frustrated at all of this and not understanding why we were waiting so long, I took the keys back and told him that if he wasn’t there in the morning, that we would find another mechanic. To which he replied “Why would you call another mechanic when you have two good ones here?” Hmm.
Morning came and I called another mechanic our friend had referred to us. He’s over here for thirty minutes and he gets the car started. Music to my ears! But in that, he diagnoses the real problem which was that water had gotten into the engine and it is going to need replacing! The good and the bad news.
But sometimes, good news is what we need to make us shock resistant to the bad news…
Sometimes, just having the keys in our hands so we can find out what the problem is, gives us power to resolve and restore what needs to be done…
Sometimes, all we need to do to get things started and get back on the road to our destination, is to take back the keys!
IT’S TIME TO TAKE BACK THE KEYS PEOPLE!
Here’s some lessons we can learn from my experience…
- Keys belong in the hands of the One who Loves you, not the one who doesn’t. The guy across the road clearly didn’t care enough about my car or the inconvenience it was to our family, yet the guy I gave the keys to in the end cared enough to get it working and find the problem in a short amount of time. Even though his wife was about to have a baby that day, he offered to help get it all fixed too when he was back at work. Now, this may sound pretty “savage” (young people’s term for “harsh”) but the keys to my life lay in the hands of a man for 21 years. That was my choice and it came as a result of a commitment I made as a broken teenager. Who I was as a person, what I thought about myself and where I thought I was going, were all determined by a man who confessed to me implicitly and expressively over and over again that he didn’t love me. Once we separated and I was able to be fully loved by a God who showed me what Real Love looks like, I was able to diagnose the problems in the depths of my soul and find the path to recovery. He was my recovery. He took me aside (to the city where we now dwell), placed me in a workshop (Bible College) where He could work on my soul engine and almost fully replace it to show me who I am and what my purpose is. Then He assigned the right people to work on the parts of my soul that needed extra attention- good friends, counsellors, and my family.
- Keys in your hands have greater power than keys in another’s. As the mechanic tried to hold onto the keys of our car, he hesitated and asked me “why would you need another mechanic when you have two right here?” He was not only trying to stall the whole process of fixing the car, but he was trying to cause doubt in my mind about the decision that I was making to take the keys back. Toxic people in your life will not only make you feel like you’re okay the way you are, they will make you doubt your own resolve to make things better. We are ALL in need of change. None of us are perfect, and we all are subject to a broken world that causes brokenness within us. Yes, that mechanic was “right there” but he wasn’t doing me any good! He was just there. He became the barrier to my solution. Doubting your own ability gives the power of your life to another, but the only person you actually have the ability to change is yourself! At least we can work on ourselves and change what’s going on deep down inside our engines if we take the keys back off those who are masquerading as our helpers and fixers.
- “Keys” (plural) implies that there is more than one door that needs to be opened. Do you know that when you take back the keys to your life, you don’t just take one single key- there’s a whole bunch on there. Each key opens different doors of your being: Your physical health, your mental health, your spiritual health, your relational ability, and your generational legacy.
- Physically I’ve taken back a new key this week. For years I’ve suffered from allergies and all sorts of ailments that I know come as a result of my sugar intake. I’ve decided to take the keys back off sugar and given the power to my body to withstand and restore the damage that sugar has done. There have been many disciplines I have put in place this past year to help me restore my physical strength so that my body doesn’t sabotage the destiny God is calling me into.
- Mentally I’ve taken back the keys from depression and given those keys to joy. I choose joy every day. It’s like when you change direction on your GPS because there’s a road block and you need to re-route. We have neural pathways in our brain that cause us to think one way as our default path. But we need to renew our mind (Romans 12:1-2) and set our minds to a different destination. I could be depressed and feel sorry for myself but I don’t. Jesus is our great “Re-router”. He creates new pathways for us and He does it so kindly, showing us the best way to go to get to our destination. He doesn’t just take us to a dead end street when our life meets an unexpected road block, He makes a new way- in our mind, in our behaviour and in our whole view of life! I love my life genuinely and am thankful for all that God has done in, with and through me. This gratefulness causes joy to rise up from the depths of my soul and spins the wheels of my life. I don’t look back in regret, I look forward with HOPE!
- Spiritually I’ve taken my keys back off the enemy of my soul and I’ve given them to True Love. There were many areas in my life that I had submitted to the things that are not of God and He’s teaching me more about His great love in those places. In areas where I doubt, He reminds me that “Love believes ALL things” (1 Cor 13:7), when I have been bound up in fear, He tells me that “Perfect Love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18), when I’ve been tempted by the enemy to feel rejected and abandoned, and to feel like I’m in lack of things, I read in His Love letter to me, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. The resilience I have in my spirit is because of the Word of God I put in there every day to fuel my tank for the journey I go on each waking morning. It’s the best Oil- the Holy Spirit.
- Relationally, I’ve taken back responsibility for my own reactions and responses in the midst of conflict and celebration. For many years I withheld love, I felt insecure, I worried about what people thought but now I take control of each of those areas and love freely. Loving freely means placing boundaries around the relationships I have so that I don’t get burnt or burnt out. Loving freely also means forgiving and releasing judgment to God. Loving freely means letting what I love (cooking and writing) be the means whereby I do LOVE.
- Generational legacy means taking back the keys to your destiny and the destiny of those who will come after you. This, I feel, we need to take more seriously. In a world where compromise is sneaking the keys out of our hands, we need to securely place those keys in the hands of “Conviction.” Howard Hendricks describes conviction like this “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!” It’s those things that we know that we know and hold to dearly like a set of keys that determine the destination of our children. When I was faced with the choice to stay in a marriage that went against my values and convictions, I had to choose to end the marriage to keep my convictions- convictions about living a life full of light and love and void of the things of darkness that entered our family through compromise.
Taking back those keys took courage on my behalf. It meant I had to go into a conflict and be assertive. It meant being graceful and still having a heart that saw the best in the one who held the keys. I don’t get it right most of the time, but I learn from my mistakes and hope that you will too..that’s why I write these blogs. But be mindful of the power that you have to take control of your destiny and to find healing for your brokenness. Take the keys back and allow God to be that loving partner that comes alongside and shows you what needs to be worked on…and work on it.