I realize that this initial illustration may be foreign to many people today, with the invention and popularity of automatic transmissions, but perhaps it can be used still to make a connection. I have owned many standard shift vehicles in my life and I still prefer them to automatic shift. Timing is the key to making a good shift. Manual shifting can take the mundane out of driving and truly engages the operator and draws him or her into a fuller experience with the machine and the road. But miss a gear, grind a gear, shift too late or too soon and it can get ugly. Using the wrong gear may even cause you to kill the engine or at the very least lose precious momentum.
Living life is not automatic. I know that sounds so peaceful - just let life happen, shifting when it needs to, downshifting when it is time to slow down, or kicking into that passing gear when we need a little bit more. Let me cruise, drink my morning coffee and talk on the phone hands-free while I drive, oh what a smooth ride, a stress-free life that would be. But that is not life. We have to be engaged, we have to pay attention to the conditions around us, the traffic, the hazards, the curves the unexpected potholes, the children, the steep grades up and down hill. Life is not always a west Texas highway with an 85 MPH speed limit and wide safety apron. You have to learn to shift. You have to know when to shift, it keeps you engaged, it keeps life exciting.
What do I mean? Ask yourself this... What are you afraid of? Why haven't you accomplished your dreams or life goals? What is holding you back? Could it be fear, self-doubt, too much time looking back instead of looking forward? What voice(s) have your attention and ear? What platform are you standing on and operating from right now? What is your foundation or launch pad for your life? If you are not going where you want to be, if you do not feel like your life is all that you believe it could and should be; then what is hindering that from being realized?
Here is where the shift needs to happen, and the sooner the better! Stay stalled too long at an intersection and you get rear-ended. Go into a curve too fast you flip your car. Downshift too late on a steep climb and you lose momentum and may even be headed backward if you do not get it corrected. Quit standing on that base and foundation that has not gotten you where you know in your heart God created you to be. Quit driving your life in the wrong gear. Do not be afraid to shift, change gears. And if you do not know how, then get a driving coach. Find a life coach, a mentor, a discipler, a pastor - call someone!
Here is the biggest shift, quit thinking with the same mindset that has you frustrated. Quit seeing your life through the lenses that you have on right now. Put on your driving glasses and start looking at life and your life differently. God has a new life available for everyone; and that life is an abundant, victorious life found in the person of Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with Him. If you want that but do not have it or do not know how to have it contact us here at RYG and we will be glad to have that conversation with you and show you from God's word how to enter into that wonderful gift of a new life in Christ. If you have already found that wonderful gift, then here is your shift - learn to think with the mind of Christ and see yourself as God sees you.
Paul wrote in the book of First Corinthians, that we have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16). And Peter wrote that we need to gird up and prepare our minds for action (I Pet. 1:13). So here is the greatest shift that will move you from that stalled, struggling position of life that perhaps lacks momentum or that has you on a trajectory that can only end in a crash; a shift from destruction, despair, out of control, and desperation, to a course packed with joy, fulfilment, peace, productivity and contentment; that shift comes with thinking with a renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2). Take a look at all those negatives in your life now and shift the focus. Ok, someone else may be better qualified on paper for a task than you are, but do they have the same passion and fire in their heart that you do for the task before you? It is your dream, quit worrying about what someone else thinks of your dream; it is yours, and most likely given to you by God because He created you unique and special, not like everyone else. Therefore, your life can be unique and special and not like everyone else's. What do you have that is unique to your life? Do not be afraid to include your scars, bumps, and bruises in the answer to that question.
As I was learning (and I learned the hard way) how to drive a stick shift, well let's just say I rolled back too far before engaging the clutch on a hill. That mistake created a creased hood in a Datsun pickup truck. I bought that truck from the girl who owned it because I felt so bad about damaging the hood of her truck. That truck took me on some amazing adventures after that in the mountains of Colorado, and I still reflect often upon some of those wonderful memories created while I owned that beat up, ugly, standard shift pickup truck.
Hey, it is simple - this first shift - use what you have! You do not need anything else to begin experiencing purpose, productivity, and peace in your life. Look at Moses for crying out loud. God asked him, "What is in your hand?" He said, "a rod." That is all that he had as a shepherd tending his father-in-law's sheep, a simple stinkin' shepherd's staff, he didn't even own the sheep. Follow the life of Moses and you will see that he became one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind, and it all began when he turned over to God, for God's purposes, what he had available to him, just a rod. But that rod from that moment on became connected to powerful miracles, signs and wonders. It represented God's presence and power in Moses' life.
What do you have in your hand? What is easily available to you? Throw it down and when you pick it up again, now look at it as a privilege and gift from God rather than your possession or right to have. Shift your thoughts. Pick it up and use it in accordance with God's direction, instruction, and purpose. What would your marriage look like if you followed God's design for matrimony? What would your bank account look like if you practiced God's teaching on stewardship? What would your children's lives look like if you applied Scriptural wisdom in place of human wisdom and psychology for guiding, loving, disciplining and caring for their tender lives and hearts? What would your job and job performance look like if God could pour out His favor upon all that you do because He knows that your motives are pure and align with His?
Make the shift. Don't be afraid. If there is fear in your heart and mind right now, let that fear drive you to change your course, shifting your gear. Let the fear of an impending wreck allow you to overcome the fears that keep you from experiencing all that God has created you to be and do!
We at Reach Youth Global are here to help. Need someone to talk to? Need someone to help you gain direction from God's Word? Need someone to pray for you? Contact us. We may not have all the answers, but we know that One who does!
Making the shift,