It’s not often I zip around town in my minivan alone.
I’m usually toting a passenger (or two or four or more).
But that night, the stars had aligned and the schedule had been arranged and all of those things so that I hopped into my minivan after some errands in town and headed home.
Prayed and thought and drove.
I was just enjoying the sweet quiet as only a mom of four kids can do when she’s out by her lonesome self.
It should only take me about 5 minutes to get home from anywhere in town now that we’ve moved to the new house, but I drove for about 12 minutes before I turned onto a familiar road.
It wasn’t the road to my brand new home, though. I had managed to drive far past that, all the way to my old house.
I sheepishly turned around in my former neighbor’s driveway and backtracked down the road to what was supposed to be my destination all along.
If I don’t stay alert even now when I’m making this drive, I’ll pass right by the road to my new house and I’ll trek all the way back to where I used to live.
This is me in default mode. This is what I fall back to.
This is where I end up when I’m not paying attention.
We all have these “old ways,” the habits of the past, the “who we used to be.” And when we’re distracted, or weary or plain old apathetic, maybe this is where we end up all over again.
Maybe we default to worry and stress.
We default to overbooked and overwhelmed.
We default to bitter and unforgiving.
We default to resentful.
We default to people-pleasing.
We default to sharp words.
Maybe we don’t even realize it until we look up in a daze and wonder how we ended up back here all over again?
It’s when I start feeling complacent about controlling my tongue, that I start losing my temper and lashing out.
It’s when I start feeling like I know how to keep myself from getting overwhelmed by stress that I just about break down because I’ve let the to-do list nigh on destroy me.
We’re not alone, of course. This is all just being human. We’re not perfect and those old sin habits can drag us right along.
That’s why I feel for the disciples who kept defaulting to old habits and old ways of thinking. No matter how many times Jesus explained how He’d be persecuted and killed and then raised again, they didn’t get it.
They didn’t see with spiritual eyes.
There was a day when they set out on their travels with Jesus and forgot to pack the bread for lunch. Jesus told them to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees and they completely missed his message…again.
They thought Jesus was picking on them for leaving the bread at home by mistake.
As i f Jesus needed them to pack bread.
They’d watched Him feed the five thousand and the four thousand, but one day without a full lunchbox sent them right back to that old place of fretting over provision.
Jesus asked them “Do you not yet perceive?” (Matthew 16:9 ESV).
The Message paraphrase says, “Haven’t you caught on yet?”
And that’s me at times, defaulting back to my old ways of thinking and doing, not quite catching on yet to what Jesus has done in me and wants to do in me.
What we do then, though, is what matters most.
Because what I want to do is just give up right there.
I’ll never get this right, Jesus.
I’m such a failure, Lord. I’m failing at everything. I want to be used by you and I just….keep….messing….up.
But we can’t give up right there because that past isn’t meant to be our home anymore.
Slowly. Slowly. We keep turning the old over to Jesus and letting Him make us new.
Slowly. Slowly. He changes us within so our default itself is different.
We default to peace.
We default to joy.
We default to gentleness.
We default to trust.
It’s okay to be in progress. It’s okay to trip up and mess up sometimes.
It’s not okay to stay there in that old place where we don’t belong anymore.
We have to move back to Jesus, always back to Jesus.
Jesus, bring us back to you.