My Dad was always good with cars. More specifically he was good at fixing them. He was not so good at driving them which is an unfortunate genetic trait that I seemed to have picked up. Anyway, Dad had been a mechanic in his younger days and had worked mostly on the wildly popular Volkswagen bug of the late 60’s and early 70’s with his father. And what my grandfather had instilled in him, my dad tried to teach me.
Dad had a blue Chevrolet Blazer when I was a teenager that had chronic starter issues. I swear we had the starter rebuilt 4 times. I remember teaming up with Dad on numerous occasions to crawl under the blazer and put the starter back in it’s place. The most vivid memory was the day we had to do it in the snow. Miserable. Nothing like lying on cold rock with melting snow dripping on you while you hold a 5 lb piece of cold metal in the air and simultaneously feel around to figure out where you laid your socket wrench. It was a wretched task but it had to get done.
Dad would eventually teach me how to change batteries, tires, brakes, and oil, and do many other minor repairs, but my first job in helping him was far less glamorous. As he did the dirty work my responsibility was to hold the light. I would lay beside him while he worked and hold the flashlight on the part that he was working on or sometimes he would be underneath the car and I would be shining down on it from above. I would get bored and allow my mind to drift away until he would correct me saying, “Scot, hold the light! I can’t fix this in the dark!” What’s interesting to me now is thinking about how beat up that old Blazer was. One of the sides has a rusted spot where the metal had been eaten away, the axle was bent due to a night with my friends in a corn field, the interior was a mess, the passenger's side seat did not move well, and I believe the door handles were broken too, but those things were not our concern at the moment. We were focused on the starter.
And so it goes with life. As you've heard me say in my video’s, broken things can't be fixed in the dark. As I began my journey of fighting the demons in my life it became very apparent that I needed someone to hold the light for me. I would spend some time with my mechanic, God, and he would help me diagnose what was broken based on the symptoms I was experiencing. Then I would seek out a trusted friend to hold the light for me (accountability) so that I could focus my attention on the one area rather than getting discouraged by everything that was broken. You see, we are not very good judges of ourselves. We are usually way too hard on ourselves or way too easy. I needed someone unbiased who loved me enough to be honest with me and to shine the light on my area of focus. What this meant was that I would have to let someone in and expose my brokenness to them so that they could help me heal. It meant in order to be fixed I had to be known as I really was.
For example, one of the areas that I realized was broken in me was my need for affirmation from females to feel valuable. This was exhibited by my constant need of a girlfriend and my inability to maintain a committed relationship as well as the haphazard way I dive in and out of relationships using girls to meet my needs and then moving on. As God began to help me see this brokenness I reached out to the community around me at the recovery center I was at and asked them to watch me and challenge me as they observed my interactions with the females in the program. Well, as embarrassing as it is to admit it, it wasn’t long before I began to drift toward a particular young lady in the program in hopes that I would gain her affection. The men around me lovingly challenged my behavior so that I could dig into it a little more and try to understand why I was seeking that affirmation.
You see our tendency is to hide our brokenness. We do not want to expose our shortcomings or the ways in which we have failed. But by never exposing those things, by never inviting others to shine the light on our struggles, by never being known, we have no choice but to be stay stuck in our fallen state and never grow. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe the German writer, poet, and theologian said it this way, “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” I needed some friends who would treat as me as I wanted to be.
So, as always, what about you? Are you allowing others to know you? Are you bringing your brokenness out into the light? Do you have a few close friends who can hold the light for you? If not, what’s keeping you?
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