I had this horrible habit of engaging the emergency brake every time I parked my car. The problem was that I would make it halfway down the street before remembering to release it. Rumor had it, that I didn’t have to engage the brake at all except on steep inclines. It never occurred to me that I should address my actions, because my car was working just fine, so I thought.
After months of procrastination, a kind-hearted individual took it upon himself to examine my squeaky brakes for me. The brake pads were less than a year old so I was confident that applying a little oil for noise reduction would suffice. Well, about two hours later, the gentleman returned with my vehicle, a receipt, and a word of caution. He informed that my brakes were severely worn, and that I had incurred about $600 of damage. He added that half of the problem had to do with using the emergency brake inappropriately. My response was, “but the car moves backward a little bit if I don’t press it!” The look on his face was priceless. I think he was shocked that I was serious. We burst into uncontrollable laughter as assured me that my car wasn’t going anywhere. Then he said, “But next time, they’ll charge you the full $600 so leave the brake alone”. I stopped laughing and became especially thankful. He could have taken advantage of my ignorance. He instead, released some valuable information; ultimately sparing me from the self-imposed stress of paying for costly repairs.
All too often, we habitually subdue our thoughts and feelings under the guise of being “strong”. The truth is, our fear of rolling backward is what drives us toward suppression. We quiet the “noise” in our mind with a little melatonin to help us sleep. We assume all is well because for what it’s worth, we can still function. I’m very familiar with this tendency. Just this fall, my friend Joel called out of the blue to say that he was proud of me for enduring heartbreak with such grace. He added, “I know it’s hard, but you don’t have to carry on by yourself. Denae (his now wife) and I are here whenever you need to scream, cry, laugh…whatever”. Why for the life of me, did I start crying on the phone if I was truly okay with my relationship status? Because I was delivered and felt displaced at the same time. Delivered because the worst of the worst was over, but displaced because I had nothing in common with the people around me. It’s not exactly cool to talk about your divorce at a wedding. So I continued to engage the emergency brake on my feelings until Joel’s release freed me from the lie I was believing. I was not displaced; I had a home in the heart of God’s people.
We would all be in darkness if it were not for the Light. So the takeaway for this post is to be a light bearer. Know that your words of caution and encouragement have the power to change lives. Don’t ever let someone self-destruct because you withheld the truth. What if their relief is tied to your release? After all, only the Truth can make us free.
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