Two years, man. Two years.
There's this interesting streak on the windshield that I just sort of got used to whenever it would rain... a sort of blurry arc that I couldn't see through during thick downpours, causing me to look over it or under it as I drove. Yes... I am the guy who you see driving like this on the road.
Bottom line? I theoretically know how to do these things but yet I remain very unmechanical in trying to do them. I'd think, "I'll get that done when I get an oil change," but then I'd forget about them again. I do well with creative things, but I stand in embarassing awe of someone who can walk do the simplest things on vehicles. Things so simple, well... I sometimes feel ashamed to ask for help on.
There are some other things like this that I "know" how to do and yet don't do well, no matter how hard I try...
- Ironing. I can't tell you how thankful I am for my wife's ability to put creases into things. When I was single I used to buy bottles of "Spray and Starch" so that I could spray my clothes into stiffness. I try to iron... I really do. But I just end up making the wrinkles look like better wrinkles. And so whenever I start to try and end up with a collection of professional looking zig zags, my wife starts to giggle and takes over.
- Throwing a spiral: I know how to do it... I know what position my hands are supposed to be in and how I'm to angle the football for the best trajectory. And yet no matter how much I play this mental video out in my head as I cock my arm back, I end up throwing a lobbed pass like some fourth grader. Which brings me to my next item...
- Penmanship: I once found a paper I wrote from fourth grade. Sadly, my penmanship today is the same. Remember on Charlie Brown cartoons how whenever someone would write a letter they would show a bunch of zig zags at the top of the screen on a piece of paper? Yeah... you could read that better than you could read my handwriting. Thank the Lord for computers.
- Fully cook a steak: Once when I was really poor I bought a steak and burned it. I had to throw it away, only to find that dropping it into the trash can hurt me in ways I can't begin to describe. Ever since then, I've had this unconscious paranoia that I'm going to burn another one, and so I always seem to undercook steaks. I even give myself extra time to be sure it's done, but then I come in and cut it only to find it still "mooing." So I usually throw it in the microwave and hope the radiation removes all traces of red.
- Swim: Don't misread this - I can float, and I can get across the pool just fine. Somewhere along the way, though, I developed this odd way of swimming with my head above water. As a result of the way my body angles I have to stop a lot if the pool is long, reposition myself, and start again. The only way I avoid this is when I wear a nose plug, but no one looks cool with a nose plug, so forget that business...
- Christianity: Hmm... what can I say about this one? No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to fully rid myself of my ability to get distracted in my relationship with God. Sometimes it's because I'm tempted to be self-centered, and other times it's like the wiper blades... I don't get around to doing some things I really need to do. It's kind of like I'm driving through life with a faith that has a blurry windshield - the upgrades are in my trunk, if only I'd ask the Master Mechanic to help me change them.
Ah... how easy it was when I thought I just had to be a good person. And I don't mean in the "before I became a Christian" sense but when I believed that if I didn't do certain things and did other nice things I was a righteous person. Christian "morality" (which some would call legalism), though, only leads to the mistaken notion that we are godly people simply because we hold views that others in the church nod their heads at.
It's like this freshman girl I saw standing by and a bunch of other teenagers at a bus stop on the first day of school. The young lady stood out, though, for a couple of different reasons. For one thing, she wore an obviously new all-pink outfit, probably taken straight out of some catalog or mall display on what the “cool” back to school kids were supposed to wear. Yet it wasn't her outfit that initially caught my eye, though, but rather it was the way she purposefully stood five feet away from the other kids. She had her right arm in a perfect angle, resting on her cocked hip. Her left hand grabbed the only strap of the backback she had draped over her shoulder, exuding all kinds of intentional attitude as she did. It was as if someone said to her, "We're shooting a picture for our next Abercrombie and Fitch ad - could you stand still in a huffy pose just in case we drive by?"
Sometimes I feel like I am that girl, especially when I slip into believing that it’s all about the external attitude I give off. I live as though it’s all about covering all of my religious bases with the right pose and dressing it up according to the “catalog.”
“After all,” I think, "if I hate evil, doesn't that mean I love God?"
I know this isn’t the way it works, and yet I find myself slipping into this backwards mentality. Jesus said that the pathway is to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, causing me to then love my neighbor as I do myself. And once that happens, I am ready to authentically and contagiously live out for the Great Commission. To reverse the order is to become a Pharisee...
or just another kid in a pink outfit.
Thankfully, though, with God's help I know that all things are still possible when it comes to my faith.
No posing required.