June 6, 2008

What's In Your Garage?

Like most suburbanites, we’re a two car family. When we moved to our current home and upgraded from a no-garage to a two-car garage house, my hubby and I thought we died and went to heaven. I didn’t grow up with a garage so I saw it as a great big space to store lots of stuff! Dan, on the other hand, saw it as a great big place to store—cars! Can you imagine?! I stubbornly fought that idea all the way to closing.

Guess who won that argument? Yep, Dan. (Never get in the way of a man and his garage!) And from day one, except when our garage doors were broken or a home improvement project needed overflow space, we’ve parked our cars in the garage. Period.

And you know what? I love it! I never have to brush snow off my car, unload groceries in the rain or burn my hands on the steering wheel. We get into warmer cars in the winter and cooler cars in the summer. And they stay so much cleaner!

Incredibly, there’s still room for our stuff. Three trash cans, six bikes, one lawn mower, dozens of garden tools, home improvement supplies, a work bench, sports equipment and more hang on the walls, suspend from the ceiling and fill every available space. We certainly won’t win any organization awards, but all the “stuff” fits.

Eight years ago we made a commitment that’s now non-negotiable: we will park our cars in the garage—all the time. Everything else just has to fit around them. (Even if it means I have to navigate an obstacle course just to reach my car!) It it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay.

You know, God is like this.

In the garage of our lives, He wants to be parked right smack in the middle with the rest of our “stuff” fitting around Him. In Deuteronomy (6:5) God told the Israelites, and Jesus reiterated, His greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind.” (Mt 22:37)

Not when it’s convenient. Not when it makes sense. Not when we feel like it. Not when it’s popular. Not some of us, some of the time but ALL of us ALL of the time. “ALL” doesn’t leave wiggle room.

Even as I write this it’s sobering. Do I protect the space for God in my life as territorially as I protect the space for my car in my garage? Do I put God before ALL else, even my family…and myself? Is my commitment to Him non-negotiable?

Or do I give Him off-street parking while I…
…find plenty of time for my hobbies and little time to spend in the Word?
…use financial giving as a shield for going face to face with those in need?
…let the kids’ activities squeeze God out of the Sabbath?
…worry about our plans for the future instead of trusting God with His?
…choose “my will be done” over “Thy will be done?”
…intellectualize Scripture as if I’m trying to prove God wrong?
…give reluctantly instead of sacrificially?

Of course God wants us to have our families, relationships, jobs, hobbies, intellect and personalities, but we can’t fill up the garage of our lives with this stuff and say, “Sorry God, it’s a little crowded in here. Do mind waiting in the driveway?”

When we give God the primacy in our lives He asks for—that He created us for—we live as He intended. And life doesn’t become dull and dreary, it becomes satisfying and purposeful. We experience more joy not less. And we find room we never realized was there.

But sometimes it takes a garage sale to clear out the clutter.

Listen to Lincoln Brewster's song, "Love the Lord:" I will serve the Lord with all my heart with all my soul with all my mind and with all my strength..."


Justin said...

Hey, Kelli!

Yet another great blog post!

Please don't think that I've forgotten that I owe you an e-mail. I'm working on it. It's just that I've been pretty busy at work recently!


PS: Since you wrote about your cat last week, I'm looking forward to hearing about Tess! I tend to think like Dan when it comes to dogs and cats!

Debbie said...


Our car is a non-car garage and clearly Steve’s territory. Many years ago I had one shelf to claim but somehow lost those rights along the way! What is it about men and their garages?

Thanks for sharing. I’m convicted by the “off street” parking in my life. Too often things get in the way of God. We can chalk it up to “that’s life” or we can choose to constantly try and protect the territory God wants and deserves in our life. As you say, then life is satisfying and purposeful!

Love, Deb

danregan said...

Hey, it's me - the guy with the two-car garage. First, I want it noted that I won a home-related debate with Kelli. That sort of thing happens, let's see...once every 18 years, so far. Second, she's right, of course. My "stuff" (in my case; work, to-do lists and a perpetual state of worry over the future) are making a mess out of my garage. But, messages like this help. Keep 'em coming, Kelli.


Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, what a great analogy with some excellent -- if sometimes painful! -- examples. Thanks for some good food for thought...

Patti Shene said...

Kelli, this is a wonderful comparison! We have a one car garage, but neither our Explorer (1995) or our pickup (2004) lives there. Rather, it is inhabited by our son and DIL's Toyota who are currently in NYC. No way could they afford to have a car back there, so it is "boarding" with us for a while!