Around 22 years ago, when Bret and I were young and stupid, we had an experience that should have taught us the importance of general maintenance. Yes, I said “should have” which, of course, means that we didn’t learn the lesson.
We had purchased our first car as a married couple. It was a used Mazda Protégé; which was a very nice car for our stage of life. It was in great condition when we purchased it, so the only real maintenance that we needed to do was fill it up with gas, change the oil, and perform regular maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer. Of course we filled it up with gas and we occasionally changed the oil but why would we spend what little money we had on regular maintenance when it wasn’t having any problems? One day, while driving in the middle of nowhere with cornfields on either side and no towns for miles (Oh yes, that was before cell phones too), one of the belts broke. Apparently, we were supposed to have it changed at 100,000 miles, which was about 25,000 miles earlier.
Eventually, we got it to a mechanic and were told that it would cost several hundred dollars to fix it and, in addition, we should have more routine maintenance done to prevent another break-down. As young kids, we panicked at the thought of spending that much money to fix the car and thoughts like these started to fill our heads … “It’s about to stop running altogether,” “We can’t afford to spend nearly $1,000 on this car,” “ Why would we want to put that much money into a car that’s that old!” In our extreme wisdom, I mean stupidity, we decided that, instead of spending the money to maintain our current car, we would lease a brand new one. That ended up being one of the worst financial decisions of our marriage.
I tell you our car story because it relates to many people’s lives these days. There are so many people who get married with lots of hopes and dreams. They have married the perfect person and they just know that life is going to be amazing! They are mildly aware when they start out that having a happy life and marriage will require some work but, after a few years, life gets busy with careers, kids and the finances get tight so they neglect to do the routine maintenance on their lives. They may stop going out on dates, they may stop working out, they may stop going to church. Gradually, they drift into a life that they never intended to live.
One day, something happens (the preverbal belt breaks) and they know that things need to change. But, since they have neglected the routine maintenance for so long, there is a heavy cost to getting things back in good running order. It may be that their marriage is lacking love and excitement and it doesn’t seem worth it to even try any more, maybe they have gained 70 pounds and the effort to lose the weight seems almost impossible, maybe they have drifted so far from God that they wonder if He even loves them anymore. At this point, many people panic like we did with our car and start thinking that fixing the problem isn’t worth it – let’s just start over with a new spouse, new career, fixing the old one seems too hard.
Life alignment is a systematic process of routine maintenance that helps you when you reach that crisis point in your life and also on a daily basis to live a balanced life going forward. Life alignment is simply routine maintenance in five areas: spiritual, emotional, relational, physical and vocational. It involves regular checks to make sure that your life mirrors your goals and priorities. When an area gets out of alignment, then changes need to happen to get it back where it needs to be. Although simple, I will tell you that it is not always easy to live in alignment. Why don’t you join me on this journey and we will work to maintain balance and alignment together!