A lesson at a gas station showed me how to have peace, even when everything doesn't fall into place.
I was thinking recently about the perfect pump. And before the fellas go anywhere, I’m not talking about high-heeled shoes.
I was filling my car with gas, and I started thinking about one of the greatest achievements that takes place at gas stations in every city, on every day of the week—the perfect pump. When the tank is full and the numbers align, the perfect pump has been known to feel like a step in the right direction toward world peace. Well, maybe not world peace. But I have been known to get back in the car smiling a little bigger.
I have gone to great lengths to have the perfect pump. Those of us who have been known to strive for that unreachable star and impossible dream have perfected the art of the squeeze-squeeze-tap-tap. . .pause. . .tap-tap, just to be able to step away from the nozzle and look up to see that most beautiful number of all numbers with the double zeroes at its end.
Then, one day that is just a hazy recollection for me now, I decided to strive no longer. I decided I no longer needed to be concerned with the perfect pump. I decided to walk away without a single number on the pump matching! (gasp)
I haven’t concerned myself with the perfect pump for what has been many months now. I have reached the point where I gladly just let the numbers roll, unconcerned with the perfection I once sought. Admittedly, it took a period of adjustment, but I can now say that I have been liberated.
Do you wonder what the perfect pump might have to do with living life as a Christian? That’s a good question. Maybe it has nothing to do with living life as a Christian. Maybe it’s just a weird thing that only some folks concern themselves with while the rest remain oblivious to the struggle it can cause.
Then again, maybe that’s what it has to do with living life as a Christian.
Maybe it tells us that everyone has their “perfect pump” dreams: the clean house that stays clean, the hairstyle that never droops, the deadline that is always met, the child that always does his or her homework without being reminded. We all have those things that, if they would just line up like we would like, would put us on the road of life smiling a little bigger. But they don’t always line up, do they?
What to do?
We have to learn to let go of the perfect pump.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:31-34).
Seeking God’s kingdom—His righteousness, His peace, and His joy—above all else, helps us walk our walks smiling, even if the other things don’t quite line up like we would hope. Seeking what matters helps us walk away from what really doesn’t matter.
We will remain works in progress until the day we arrive in our forever home, and we will continue to learn how to choose our battles. I, for one, still have to remind myself to just walk away when someone has taken more than their fair share of the yellow line in the parking lot. But, with God’s help, I’m learning to seek Him first and to let go of the insignificant stuff that only robs me of my peace and my joy.
With God’s help, we will all learn to keep in mind that, with or without the perfect pump, we’ll still have the gas in our cars to get us where we need to go. And we’ll get there smiling!
©2017 Wendi Miller
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