I rarely ever travel by myself anymore, and it seems that anytime I do I have some silly story about something I forgot to do simply because I’m usually not the only one that has to remember all the things. A few weeks ago I traveled for work and, sure enough, I have one of those “silly stories” to share with you.
I traveled several miles away (290 to be exact) from home by myself. The drive out was rainy and cold but it happened without incident. When I arrived at my destination, I was able to grab food from one of my favorite places I rarely eat and then cuddled in my hotel to write. It was a wonderful evening.
The next morning, I woke up early, got ready on time and headed out the door to my appointment. This was going so well. The weather was a tiny bit gross, so I left the hotel with plenty of time to arrive to my meeting. I arrived without incident. It misted on me as I walked into the meeting, but not enough to need an umbrella. It was just that gross mist that makes you see moisture, like a deep fog that you can feel.
I walked into the meeting and everything started on time and went well. This morning was going exactly as planned. When the meeting ended, I realized that it had actually ended a bit early. I could grab Starbucks, change clothes, hit the road and maybe even get home a little earlier than I originally expected.
I walked out of the building, down the steps, and sorta rolled my eyes at the fact the mist was still coming down. I really hoped I wouldn’t have to drive all the way home in this miserable weather. Then I saw my car and realized the driver side front window was down. No, I had to be wrong. The window couldn’t possibly be down. The closer I got, the more I realized it wasn’t a bad glare… the window was for sure down. Had someone broken into my car?
At this point, I did the only reasonable thing. I grabbed my phone and called Dan at work. I mean, of course I would call him. He was only 290 miles away, he could totally keep me safe and talk me through this. As I got closer to the car, I realized that the driver side window wasn’t broken (whew), but my passenger side front window was also down.
I am not sure if people who bomb cars leave windows down, but from what I could remember from the movies, they don’t. So I very gingerly put one foot into the car (I have to put my foot on the brake pedal to start it) and pressed the start button, holding my breath the entire time. Thankfully, the car didn’t explode. I am not sure how I thought I would be safe with just one foot in the car and one foot out, but in my head it made total sense that I could jump away from an exploding car without injury.
Once I realized the car wasn’t going to explode, I rolled up my driver side window. Then I did the only logical thing to do next, I opened the back driver side door to make sure no one was waiting to murder me. Thankfully there wasn’t. I moved along to the back hatch, and again checked for murderers and bombs. I really have a lot to be thankful for this November, because, there again, were no murderers or bombs.
I slowly made my way around the car opening doors and checking tires for damage. When I finally made it to the passenger front door, I opened it and rolled up the window and that’s when the gravity of what happened really started to sink in.
The entire front of my car (that has a leather interior) was covered with a light mist, almost like a morning dew. The dash, the radio, the gear shifter, the seats, everything in the front of the vehicle was covered with a light layer of mist. Was this car even safe to drive? I always travel with napkins, and so I started wiping everything down. After about 20 napkins, the car was dry and I drove back to the hotel. As I drove, I realized my steering wheel had bumps it never had before. Water damage.
When I got to the hotel, I probably turned around and looked at my car twenty times before walking into the hotel. It’s like I believed as long as I kept my eyes on it, the windows would stay in place. When I got into my room, I immediately went to the window to check to make sure my car windows were up. I checked three more times as I changed and packed last minute items.
I left my room, rode the elevator down and nearly ran to my car to make sure the windows were up. I almost cried when I realized they were indeed still up. As I drove home, the bumps on the steering wheel slowly went away, but each time I stopped I watched the car extra carefully.
After I got home, Dan told me about a “feature” he had read about. Apparently if you press and hold down the unlock key, the front windows will go down on our car! I am still not sure why that is a “feature”, but the only explanation to the crazy morning was that my keys (which are always buried at the bottom of my purse) must have been bumped just right and the windows came down. Please, if anyone can explain why this “feature” is on my car, I’d love to know! I mean, I can just hear the salesman now. “You don’t have automatic lights, but don’t let that stop you! Your windows will go down at the same time if you press and hold this button. We don’t really know why exactly, but it sure is fancy.”
A few days later, I couldn’t stop thinking about my crazy story and then I started to get angry. Thankfully, the water damage had dried up, and there was no lasting damage to be found, but it could have been so bad. I had sat in that meeting for hours without thinking about my car once. I mean, I have been driving for many years, have parked my car in parking lots probably millions of times, and have never walked out to my car windows being down without my knowledge.
The more I thought about it, the more angry I became. My car. A place where I feel safe. A car that we have worked hard for, and have paid off fully. A car that I love. However, at some point, I allowed my windows to roll down and I allowed water damage. I thought my car was completely locked and safe, however with the windows down anything could have happened. While no bombs or murderers were hiding to take me down, that place was left unguarded for who no knows how long. Then it hit me, I think we often walk around with our doors locked and our windows down.
Stay with me here! The bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that we should be sober-minded because our enemy prowls like a roaring enemy around us. So we read our bible, we pray, and we surround ourselves with Godly friends. Then we watch trash TV and listen to awful music. Basically, we think we have locked the doors of our heart, but we have left the windows of our mind open.
We continue to listen to the most recent hits (or the hits from our childhood) and tell ourselves we don’t agree with the words, but it’s okay because we just love the catchy tune. We hear the terrible curse words used as adjectives in movies, and tell ourselves we will turn it off or leave the theater if it gets any worse, but we never do. We keep drawing the line a little further, if it gets any worse than that we will for sure leave. We get uncomfortable during sex scenes shown on TV shows, but ignore the feeling and continue to watch it anyways. Compromise is a slow death.
I grew up hearing the story of Samson. I remember hearing that Samson was a strong man that was not allowed to cut his hair because his strength came from his hair. However, a pretty lady named Delilah convinced Samson to tell her his hair is where all his power came from. Delilah told the “bad guys” about Samson’s weakness, and after cutting his hair, he was defeated. It’s honestly a story I didn’t spend a lot of time on, until last year. Dan and I went to the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, Missouri and saw the show in a Broadway type way. While I watched Samson’s story play out literally before my eyes, I realized the lesson in Samson’s story is huge.
When Samson was born, God made it clear that Samson was to be a Nazarite and take the Nazarite vow. This was God’s way of marking people who were completely devoted to Him. He literally set them apart and had a long list of do’s and don’ts they must follow to stay holy. Some of the basics of the vow included not cutting your hair, not drinking wine or even eating grapes, and not going near anything dead. (Read more about this vow in Numbers 6:1-21.)
Samson had a ton of strength and a lot of cool stories including defeating the Philistine’s over and over again. However, he also was known to push the limits and to make a lot of questionable decisions. In Judges 14:1-3 Samson meets a Philistine girl. Despite his parents’ protests, he insists on marrying her. But before the marriage, Samson runs away at the last minute and leaves his bride waiting at the altar. Not only does he run, but he also sleeps with a prostitute (Judges 16:1).
Later in Judges 16:4, Samson starts dating another Philistine named Delilah. Except this woman had alternative motives. The Philistines asked her to find out the secret to his strength. Eventually Samson gives in and reveals the secret, but not until Delilah nags and nags and nags (Judges 16:16-17). After the Philistine’s learn of Samson secret, Delilah cuts his hair while he sleeps, and the Philistine’s attack and capture him.
One definition of the word compromise is “to weaken (a reputation or principle) by accepting standards that are lower than is desirable”. The reality is Samson didn’t give away his secret the first time he was asked. He gave away the secret to his strength after months and months of nagging. Years of compromising and bad decisions made him comfortable with one compromise after another. When Samson wanted to marry the Philistine girl, he never dreamed of being captured. Compromise often leads to sin, and sin often takes us to places we never dreamed we’d go.
Dan and I recently got hooked on a TV show. We loved the first few seasons and we “had to know what happened”. However, the more we watched, the more the “tone” of the show changed and the more uncomfortable both of us got. Yet, we still had to know what happened. We were on a road trip a few weeks ago, and started talking about the show. We specifically talked about two very uncomfortable scenes, and how they could open the doors to so much more if people weren’t careful. After a bit of discussion, we both agreed that we ARE people and we could no longer watch the show. Even though we don’t know how it ended, we realized we had to protect our minds. I thought it was going to be hard. I thought we would go crazy not knowing how the season ended, but honestly we haven’t missed it.
You may think this is to hard, it’s not like God has called each of us to Nazarite vows. However, we are marked by God. We are His chosen people (Colossians 3:12). The bible promises we will reap what we sow. Basically, what we are pouring in will spill out. Locking up the doors to our heart, while the windows to our mind stays open leaves us open to damage. Think about my car. The doors were locked, but water still damaged my car. The bible tells us what to think about in Philippians 4:8. I would argue that it is hard to know what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy when we don’t filter what we read, watch and listen to through the same filter.
Maybe you think it’s impossible to stop watching shows or listening to music that you love. However, 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has given us a sound mind and self discipline. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can use the sound mind He has given us to recognize what we are consuming isn’t good for us. Maybe you are reading this and trying to justify something you are currently doing because it’s “not that bad”. Remember, the enemy who is prowling around like a lion? I would argue that enemy doesn’t have to attack us, if we are willing to slowly kill ourselves with compromise.
So today, I want to challenge you to ask the Father to show you the places you have left your windows open. Where are the places you are allowing water damage in your heart? Maybe there are places that are covered with a light mist from the compromises you have made? Friends, it’s okay. Ask the Father for forgiveness, and close your windows. Grace is never-ending and our God is a God of restoration. He can dry the places of your heart that are covered in mist and leave you without water damage.
If you are reading this, and you know there are places you could roll up your windows, but you are afraid that you will bored with no shows to watch or music to listen to, I challenge you to take that fear to the Father. Our God is a creative God, and I promise He will fill those places that you used to fill with trash with good fun things if you will allow Him to!
Finally, if this didn’t resonate with you, if you feel like there are no places that you need to roll your windows up, that’s okay! I do want to challenge you to continue to keep checking in with yourself. Remember, the enemy is a prowling lion waiting to attack. We have a choice to use the sound mind the Father has given us to never give the enemy any room.