Just recently, I was driving my SUV and the “maintenance” light went on. Not knowing exactly what “maintenance” needed to be done, my frustration was directed towards automobile manufacturers in general for putting these lights into vehicles causing us to worry and take time out of our day to go into a dealer and find out what it means.
I thought to myself, this is probably just a “nuisance light” reminding me to change the oil, check the brakes or inspect the belts. These are all things I regularly take care of myself…..well, usually.
“Maintenance” just wears me out – maintenance on cars, maintenance around the house, maintenance on my finances, etc.
The word “maintenance,” associated with anything, has such an undesirable connotation.
People who are classified as “high-maintenance” are those who are often difficult to work with or be around. The field of maintenance is often looked upon as a less desirable line of work. “Maintenance” as a whole just seems exhausting, time-consuming and something that ends up low on the priority list of things for most.
Still feeling somewhat convicted at my unfounded disdain for the automobile industry, I did what I often do when I want a different perspective on my situation: I dig deeper into the reason or try to find the meaning of what is causing me the unrest, oftentimes looking up the definition of the word.
Maintenance: continuing repair work: work that is done regularly to keep a machine, building, or piece of equipment in good condition and working order. (According to Bing Dictionary)
Then it hit me, that maintenance light I saw on the dashboard was not just a reminder for me to “maintain” my vehicle, but also for me personally.
Aspects of my life began flashing before my eyes where I needed to do “maintenance” – my spiritual life and relationship with God, my health and well-being, my home and finances, and my relationships and friendships.
Have I gotten so busy being busy I have forgotten to do continuing repair work to keep me and my life in good condition and working order?
At the outset of every year, health club memberships spike up. In February, couples focus on their relationship just a little bit more. After tax season, many vow to take better care of their finances. Around Easter and Christmas church attendance goes up.
However, as the busyness of life takes over, many of those intentions and well-meaning plans start to fall away.
The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year (or planned to start)and not let those good intentions grow stale (2 Corinthians 8:10-11).
Relationship with God
Retail companies often determine their success in one measure by “same-store sales,” which means comparing retail sales this year to the previous year’s same period to gauge if growth is occurring.
If we were to do the same, could we say our relationship with God is now stronger than last year at this same time? Are you spending more time with God this month than you were a year ago? Have you been more consistent in growing the relationship or has it been faltering of late?
We all go through our personal daily ups and downs for whatever reason, but over the long run, are we consistent in our time with the Lord and in our faith throughout all aspects of our life?
The Lord, who once saved a people out of Egypt, later destroyed those who didn’t maintaintheir faith (Jude 1:5).
Maintaining our relationship with the Lord mean spending time in his Word, spending time in prayer, spending time serving the church, spending time with his people and spending time taking action on what we are told we should do.
Our relationship with God requires an investment of our time and energy; it will not happen by itself.
Relationships with Others
In the same way, our relationships with others will take effort if we want them to grow. Tens of thousands of divorces are dissolved and marriage vows broken each year due to “irreconcilable differences,” the reason often given is because they “grew apart.” Another way of saying it is they failed to grow together.
Technology has helped to make the world a smaller place and bring people together, but it has also contributed to laziness in our relationships. I have seen guys text a girl for a date, heard of break-ups through e-mail, read posts of what should be kept private and heard twitter-apologies.
This is not the way to satisfy John 15:12: “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.”
Whether you are in a marriage, a dating relationship or just a friendship, it must be maintained for it to grow stronger (and together). We sometimes have a tendency to take things for granted and believe the status quo will stay the same, take care of themselves or “be fine” without any effort. The truth is relationships of any kind require maintenance.
We all need to be a little more deliberate in our communications within our relationships.
Ongoing Maintenance Required
My mother called me the other day to tell me the pipes in her house were leaking. They are original to the home and haven’t been maintained properly over the years. Corrosion has built up through the decades of use restricting the water flow. Joints and connections that were once tightly sealed and washers one time pliable have now decayed and hardened over time and, under the constant pressure, are starting to leak.
If your spiritual life, health, home, finances, and relationships were likened to a plumbing system, have they been properly and regularly maintained and in good working order, or have they deteriorated? Has a lack of attention caused blockage in those systems that will soon cause problems when placed under extreme pressure?
Whether it is our faith, our life or our relationships, we must make the time to nurture them, and we must be proactive in order to make them what we want them to be.
Don’t put off to tomorrow what should be done today. Be a “high maintenance” person – one who regularly checks and maintains the conditions of their life so it will be in good working order and work properly.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, “He Said-She Said,” in Crosswalk.com’s Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on facebook and twitter.