How Is Your Check Engine Light?
My first car was a 1967 Buick 225 or Deuce& a quarter. It was a 2 tone burgundy body with a white top and it slept 6 comfortably. I only paid $450.00 for it and that money was paid in installments so even now I guess I am showing my age a bit but back in 1975, that was a lot of money to me because I only made $8.00 / hr. I have heard it said that a man never forgets 2 things, his first car and his first girlfriend, and I have forgotten neither, though I am not sure I could tell you what I had for lunch on Friday. The interior of the Buick was as spacious as a small apartment and it was black as pitch with sheen in the material like finely stitched brocade. The seats were like boardroom furniture that were high backed and cradled your body in comfort and style. All the toys, things that we take for granted now. That baby had all the power options including a power antenna that would disappear into the body when I would shut her off. It was like when I would shut the massive engine down for the night she would be telling me that she was going to sleep also. One of the features that stood out for me was the feature that we call cruise control today and it is a feature that I have grown to love such that I wouldn’t have a car without it. I can just get on the road and drive and not worry about anything except driving, it is comfortable and I can enjoy the ride at my comfortable pre-set speed. The reason that I remember it though is because it didn’t say cruise when I pushed that button. It said “Engaged” which essentially was a far more accurate description of the function of that feature in that when pushed at a given speed the electronics would then go to work to hold the vehicle at that precise speed. The engine and all that are in it function in a way to keep the vehicle at that preset speed whether going up a hill or down, around a curve or on a straight away. So, when the button is pushed everything is engaged to perform its function.
There is also another light that comes on, but only when there is some mysterious malfunction and that is the “Check Engine” light. This is one of the lights that in the auto industry would be referred to your “idiot” lights” and there are a few of those in the dashboard. These are the lights that let you know something is wrong, be careful, don’t ignore me, I need help! I really think that God designed us in much the same way. When things are going well and all relationships are good, work, family and church then it would seem that we were engaged in life. That also is where I have realized in my way that “Life is Good”. If I have all my priorities right and I am doing life the way I should be with God in the center of it then I am engaged and when the check engine light comes on, that is the Holy Spirit telling me to pull over and take a look at what is going on here.
My cars today either say “cruise” when I push the button or even just some sort of symbol that lights and I find it interesting. It seems to me that it is more of a passive statement for my life. I am just cruising, I am not “Engaged”. It is a subtle difference but for me it makes a big statement on where I am. There have been many times when I have been driving my life when I was just on “cruise”, “no worries Mon, I got this one Jesus just chill in the back seat”. How many times have I gone to internet sites or walked through the wrong department of a store just cruising with no thought as to what those actions would be imprinting into my sub-conscious mind? Looked at pictures in a catalog of women’s fashions? Read people’s blogs that have triggered thoughts and impulses that I considered dead and buried? Visited chat-rooms? Read stories? The list is endless with the potential to sin because I am on “cruise”, not “Engaged” like I need to be. There is something wrong!
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.
It is the Holy Spirit, in those times that turns the “Check Engine” light on in my soul. There are choice points in life and ignoring the check engine light on in your life can be more devastating than the one on in your car. If I ignore the Holy Spirit when He is trying to warn me to pull over, think about what I am doing, put Jesus back in the front seat where He belongs then I will be on a path towards potential destruction. It is those times where I am being a gift. Notice that just as in our cars the light can come on and we can choose to ignore it, but then we will suffer the consequences. High cost repair bills, potential for ruining the engine that we count on to start and move the car, or even complete shut-down in a desolate area with no-one to help us for miles around. How much worse for us who are recovering sinners and cross-dressers. We go along our lives and recover, clean up the wreckage we have left since the last fall and drive along praying that this will be it, it is all you God, never again will I sin! I am through with cross-dressing and all thoughts feminine. I am going to give this up once and for all, and on and on and on. Do you see all the “I” statements? That is a check engine light coming on, warning us that we can never make that decision on our own.
Psalm 127:1 says:
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
We don’t have that capacity, let me re-phrase and say that I DON’T HAVE THE CAPACITY! I have tried innumerable times to give all of it up, bingeing, feeling guilt and purging thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing and crap. I can’t do it on my own !
1 John 4:4-7
4You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.
If I am just on “cruise” and going through my day to day thinking that this is all behind me now then I am only fooling myself and it is utter non-sense. Even Paul had his afflictions and though we don’t know what was up with him we know what God said that he was enough
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7. Especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
If I fail to allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to show me when I am off course then I am headed for certain destruction. I can choose to ignore Him turning on my check engine light until I am in that remote place with no light and no help to get me back on the road again to safety. I can make the choice to feed that urge for the feminine and by that choice eventually wind up a sad and bitter faux woman. No real friends, no love, no lasting relationships except the ones that will lie to me and tell me how proud they are to know someone so brave as to buck against the more’s of society. How I must in fact allow that person that is inside of me out in the open for all to see in all her splendor. How it is the right thing to do because after all, that is who I am. That is way I was made. This is who I am and if you don’t like it then that is your problem and not mine. And the ever popular “I am not hurting anyone” or in those quiet moments, “Well, I am only hurting myself!”
My check engine light could have been blazing red and flashing in big bold letters and I made the choice to ignore it until I was a broke-down wreck on the side of the road and rats were gnawing at the wires under my hood. There was only a shell of the man that God had created, I felt completely lost and blinded by my sin. I wept, then cried, then wailed and by His grace I opened my eyes. I saw it, I saw the flashing red light. I realized that there was a problem. I was no longer “ENGAGED” I wasn’t in any good male relationships, I wasn’t giving up my life to others, I wasn’t reading my bible of which I have over 27. I wasn’t praying or crying out to God in any way shape or form. Broke down and miserable because as we know sin is fun… FOR A SEASON…!
Proverbs 1:24-27 NIV
24But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
DESPERATELY I reached back up through my misery and felt for His hand and there it was, I just barely grazed the tips of His fingers but enough so that with His help I could get my car into His shop and with the knowledge of His will for my life, started back. Day by day and sometimes minute by minute, I found new relationships. I found some online brothers to love me enough to ask the hard questions; “How is your purity”? I found a group of men I could do bible study with. I began to trust God with all of my life. I began to pray again. I took my eyes, with His help, off of myself and placed them onto others. I got counseling and became a member of a recovery group called Celebrate Recovery, which is based on the Beatitudes found in the book of Mathew. Just recently I helped start a group for guys that need a safe place to share in recovery. In short I began to be “engaged” in life again. Not the false life I was leading, but one that has zeal to know and be known. Little by little that hand that held mine got a stronger grip each and every day and as we walked along I felt an unspeakable joy that permeated me down to my toes. I knew in my soul that the very God that created the heavens and the earth actually cared about me!
For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. HCSB
We have all heard it said before that it is simple, but not easy! I still have my struggles with temptation and I still sin. Once in a while I even find myself taking control of the car and driving on my own. But as I drive now when I see that “check engine” light come on, I am far more likely to look in the mirror, pull the car over and get back on the passenger’s side where I belong. Amazingly enough, I have found that when I do that I am far more able to “engage” in my life and for some reason my “check engine” light seems to disappear!