“Sir is in the garage again!” I huffed aloud as I parked the car in our drive. Our thoroughbred was turned out with the cattle and free to roam 130 acres of woods and meadows. But he always hung out around the house, especially the garage. With one door to the garage broken, he would push, knock over or step on anything blocking his way to the inside. “Doesn’t he realize he is free to go where ever he wants?” Apparently, he wanted in the garage.
Sir had been on the race track in his younger years. His home was a stall with regular exercise, feeding and care. He could no longer race and had retired here, free from being confined. Yet, he returned regularly to make a mess in the garage. I chased him out. I tried blocking his way. One day I realized, the garage brought him the security that the stall had provided. He was returning to what he knew and had been used to, even when he didn’t have to.
We are like Sir. We fall back on that which is familiar to us, even if it is not good for us. Nothing is more obvious to me than my unhealthy eating habits. Each day I vow to not eat between meals or not to eat large amounts but as soon as something causes me to feel unsure of how to react, I run right back to eating what ever is available. Do I feel better? For a moment. Then I hate myself.
David proclaimed in Psalm 18, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.” We can put our security in Him and be free of earthly desires that hold us from being the best we can be. Following Jesus isn’t a well-lit path through a comfort zone. We are often surprised or disappointed by situations. But our Lord is solid in his promises. We are free when we surrender all our human desires to Him. However, like Sir, we find comfort in the familiar and return to our old ways and the mess they have made.
Returning to old habits is not failure. It is a stepping stone. Next time, maybe I will grab only healthy food when I revert to feed my face instead of my soul. If I keep taking steps, someday I won’t even think of the physical food when I am upset. My autopilot will be set for spiritual nourishment.
What do you seek when in need of comfort? Turn off that old autopilot and purposely seek strength from the One who can truly comfort you.