Things Unnoticed

“Your car is done, dude.”

Those were the words I heard from the Mechanic on the other end of the phone call.  He wasn’t calling to tell me my car was ready to be picked up, either.  I was going to be on a Mission Trip with Elevate for a week, so I figured I’d drop my car off and let the mechanics work on whatever was urgent.

Well, what I didn’t know was that my car had SO MANY issues that it was going to be the smarter move to not put any more money into fixing it, and begin looking for a newer car.

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It didn’t take too long to find one.  I might have been extra-motivated to replace my car when the Mechanics used phrases like “punctured tire” and “stranded on the side of the road.”  We had our sights on a vehicle we liked, the price was about what we intended to spend, so we went for it.

The car I was replacing was a 2006 Saturn Vue.  The car my wife and I bought was a 2016 Ford Fusion (Sorry Dad, aka the 30 year GM Employee).

One of the first things I noticed was how smooth and quiet the ride was.  Truly.  It was incredible to me.  Now, this post is not intended to be a review of the Fusion.  What I kept thinking was, “I never really knew my old car was so loud!”

Meagan, my wife, had often told me that my car was not as awesome as I made it out to seem.  She would often point out all the flaws and tell me all the things she didn’t like about it.  I would always take my cars side…ya know, stand up for the poor thing…SOMEONE had to like it, and it might as well be the owner!

What I see now is that I would often gloss over all the faults because it was all I had, and it had been “all I had” for over 11 years.  I got used to the noisy cabin.  I was accustomed to the ripped-up seats.  I chuckled when it would make various noises while going down the road.  Eventually all of those things became background noise that went unnoticed.

As I was riding in the newer car, I couldn’t help but think of the parallels to how we live our Christian life.

The ripped-up seats and noisy cabins of our lives could be a number of things – certain sins that we’ve accepted for so long that they just fade into the background of our lives, unnoticed.

Daily walking with Jesus means daily doing the work of noticing the things that aren’t aligned with Him, and seeking to correct them.  Maybe it’s an attitude, or maybe an action.

That’s why I’m such a fan of the journaling practice I blogged about a few months back.  Taking inventory of my life on a regular basis means I’m more likely to notice that which would normally go unnoticed.

I’m not batting 1000% on this, and I’m sure I have plenty of unnoticed areas that need attention.  But I will say that creating “noticing habits” – like journaling – has helped me move forward in some areas.

For me, it’s not a matter of IF I have things in my life that go unnoticed, it’s a matter of doing the work to find those out.  I’d guess it’s the same with you.  Here’s to doing the hard work of noticing (and then doing something about it).

Top 3 reasons I Journal (and why you should too)

I was never into journaling.  Maybe it’s because I was never good at it.  Or perhaps, more likely, I had not developed the discipline it takes to sit down each day and write.  However, since developing the habit, I’ll likely never turn back.

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Here are my top 3 reasons why. And I don’t think these benefits only apply to me.  I truly believe everyone should begin journaling in some way or another.

  1. Allows me to process my thoughts.  I don’t really have a template for journaling…but if I did, it would look a lot like what Michael Hyatt blogged about.  When I open my journal and commit some minutes to it, I gain clarity.  It could be a situation at work, home, or in my own mind – but writing down my thoughts allows me to process them in a way unlike anything else.
  2. Allows me to look back & learn from the past. There are specific journals for this – the 5 year journal is one of them.  I don’t use those – I just have a practice of “every-once-in-a-while” I go back and read previous entries.  Reading something I wrote 365 days ago puts most of life into perspective.  I can read what I was praying about…and then see how God answered that prayer.  I can read the things I was worried about…and then see how it worked out in the end.
  3. It disciplines my time with Jesus. This was actually the reason I started journaling, and it has proven over and over to be effective.  Putting pen to paper while spending time with Jesus has helped me in two ways.  First, it allows me to write down my prayers, which helps me stay focused.  Second, it allows me to write down thoughts about Scripture, which helps me engage with the text more.

So, those are my reasons I’ll likely never stop journaling.

Do you journal?  What “top reason” would you add to the list?