I’ve noticed a pattern when I park in a public parking lot. I typically pick a parking spot based on how easily I can pull OUT of that spot. My truck is a bit big, and it doesn’t have power steering, so getting out of tight spaces can feel like a workout. That’s why I try to find a parking space where I can pull straight out, or have a lot of room to swing wide when I back out.
I mention that to say that I find it odd that I’m most concerned about LEAVING even as I arrive.
If you drive a big, clumsy vehicle, it’s probably wise to think about how you’ll get out of whatever spot you work yourself into. But if you enter relationships with the mindset of “how easily can I get out of this?“ they just don’t work.
The truth is, most relationships worth entering can sometimes feel like tight parking spaces – it may feel like a workout parking your life alongside someone, drawing close in ways that make it uncomfortable to back away.
Exception: If going out on a first date, it’s not a bad idea to have someone on speed dial, to come to your rescue if you discover the guy has 24 cats and poor hygiene. Blind dates aside, have you ever met someone (or joined a Small Group) and had a backup plan for how you can get out of it?
When it comes to relationships you might think of yourself as big and clumsy, a person not equipped with the power to steer your life in and out of tight situations. And that may be true; I don’t think healthy relationships happen naturally for any of us. We all have stories of bumping the person next to us, denting them while trying to find our space in life.
I can think of some good friendships I enjoy but that started off awkwardly. My initial evaluation of the friendship was that the lines of our parking spots were not parallel, so to speak. But I’m thankful I didn’t pull away, that I parked and turned off my motor and stuck around. I’m a better person because of it and, like I said, I’ve gained great friends as a result.
I can also apply the “escape plan” metaphor to God’s will for my life. I recently taught on the subject of discovering your life purpose – God’s grand will for your life and for impacting the world.
My confession: I want to completely yield myself to God’s will for my life, but fear leads me to park in a way that I can easily pull away when things get tough or uncomfortable. Can you relate? Have you simultaneously considered God’s will for your life and also mapped out an escape route?
Jesus never took the easy way out. He daily submitted to the Father’s will, which ultimately meant lugging a big, clumsy cross into a parking space atop a hill called Golgotha. He pulled into that sacrificial spot, and would not pull away without fulfilling the Father’s will.
Where is God calling you to park your life? Who are the people that would benefit from your willingness to stick with it, to look them in the eye rather than eyeing an easy way out? What fears keep you from pulling into – but not out of – that space where God will use you to make the world a better place?