Emmanuel absolutely hates it when I slam his car door. He cannot understand why I slam it and why I cannot keep myself from slamming it. Let me say, that I don’t slam the door intentionally, I’m just rather loud about everything – including closing car doors. Personally, I can’t understand why its a big deal. I would not have a problem if people slammed my car doors. In fact, its preferable because they don’t shut otherwise.
Regardless, this is my dilemma. How do I keep from slamming his car door. I honestly try. I don’t think that he really believes me, but I do try to remember when I get in his car to shut the door like a normal human being, but the bottom line is….I keep forgetting. Not on purpose, I honestly just don’t think about it.
Yesterday, while getting out of the car at church, he mentioned again that I had fallen back into my old ways of slamming car doors. I honestly had done well for a while (a very short while). So that got me to thinking. Why can’t I just not slam the door shut when I close it. Why can’t I just remember to close it normally??
So I did what I always do, I prayed about it. I actually had been praying about it. “God, please help me not to slam his car door.” But apparently my prayers weren’t working. Yesterday, when I slammed the door yet again, I finally prayed and asked God, “WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?? Why can’t I remember not to slam the car door.” And instantly He answered me, “Because it’s not really that important to you.” And He was totally right. Honestly, I don’t really care whether the car door slams shut. The only reason that I care at all is because it gets me in trouble with my boyfriend and I don’t like that. That’s an extremely selfish reason to try to change my behavior. God made me realize in that instant that I’m not going to stop slamming the car door until I understand why it is so important to Emmanuel that I don’t, not until I “love and respect” his car as he does. So that’s my new prayer. God help me to see this from Emmanuel’s perspective. Perhaps if I understood why it was so offensive to him and if I could identify myself with that, I wouldn’t need to be reminded not to slam the door.
Of course, God is always using mundane, practical things to teach me spiritual lessons. And this was one of them. Have you ever tried to stop doing something that you know God doesn’t like and doesn’t want you to do. You honestly want to stop doing it because you know it displeases God. You may even not do it for a while, but then….you forget and start doing it all over again?? I think it’s just like me learning not to slam the car door. The reason you can’t do it is because you’re not “identified with Christ” in the way that you need to be. What is important to Him isn’t really important to you. The only reason that you care is the same reason that I cared about not slamming the car door. You don’t like getting in trouble.
I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. We should care about not wanting to “get in trouble”, but this is a very rudimentary level of repentance. Truly whenever I got caught slamming the car door, I wasn’t grieved about slamming the car door. I was upset because I knew that I had done something I wasn’t supposed to and I didn’t like that Emmanuel didn’t like that I slammed the car door. But the actual act of slamming the car door didn’t upset me like it did Emmanuel.
It’s the exact same way with God when we’re trying to be obedient. Instead of asking God to help you do or not do a particular thing that he’s working on, ask him to show you his perspective. Ask him to show you why it is that he’s asked you to do or not do that particular thing. Ask him for the mind of Christ. Tell Him that you want to fall more and more in love with Him until what’s important to Him becomes important to you in the same way. I promise He’ll answer you. And when he does, it won’t be so hard to comply with His what he asks. Because it will no longer just be His heart that is grieved by disobedience, but yours too. And that makes it a lot easier to remember not to slam the car door.