Trunk Monkey Syndrome

We all have our hang-ups.

Our fall-back thing that we run to for comfort.

If you don’t happen to have one – I’d suggest homemade mac & cheese.  I promise, a good batch will change your life. . . or at the very least, your night.

Apart from cheesy goodness, my hang-ups are performance and control.

I sound like an Audi ad.

I’d be such a good driver in an Audi.

Mostly because, on the road of life – I like to be in control.

Again, I sound like an Audi ad.

I like to call dibs on the driver’s seat when it comes to this road trip of life with Jesus.

Which paints a really rude picture of how I sometimes live my life.

Like reality t.v. rude.

I mean, come-on, who kicks Jesus out of the driver’s seat, even if it is an Audi?

I know I am not the only guilty one, but I suppose it’s my turn to confess.  I take the keys back to my life when I’m tired of waiting and overly busy.

And then it’s like someone pops the trunk of that expensively sweet Audi I’ve been driving (did I mention it was fully loaded?) and. . . out pops my alter-ego trunk monkey.

And then – uh-oh, I just forgot who I was and how God sees me . . . I start performing in hopes that God will like me more.  And then it’s just a whole mess of frustration when he doesn’t appreciate my efforts to win him over.

But I take this amazing relationship with Jesus and turn it into a cheap one night stand when I try to get him to like me for how “Christian” I can be.  Measuring my life by how freaking loving towards others I can act (instead of be) and how squeaky clean I lived my life today.

It’s pathetic. . . and it’s sick that this mentality can have such a hold on us.

I call it Trunk Monkey Syndrome, the Bible calls it the Law.

Tomato, tomahto.

The Law is proof that we are living the epic fail when it comes to our attempts at impressing God with how well we can “drive”.

And after we tire ourselves out with all of our cheap attempts at trying to make God happy, we sit down on the curb and shrug our shoulders as we give in to resignation that we will never be good enough.

But then this person, so effortlessly walks up.  He has his hands in the pockets of his jeans and he’s wearing a blindingly white t-shirt.  He leans over and says, “It’s okay, I can be everything you can’t be.  Just follow me.”

And then, if you’re me – Jesus will then take his right hand out of his pocket and open it palm up with a question in his eyes that says, “Will you finally let me drive?”

And as I put the keys into his outstretched hand, it hits me that it’s not just a one time decision at an altar in a church somewhere.  I have to choose to let Jesus drive daily – or hourly, depending on the day.  Because it was never about how good I could be or how awesome I was at following all of the trunk monkey rules.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.

Galatians 3:2-6 (The Message)

So we get back in the Audi on the road of life, Jesus driving once more and me in the passenger seat and I remember that it’s actually really awesome on this side of the car.

I get to chill out.

I can take my mind off of figuring out where I’m going.  Which is paramount, since I’m slightly directionally challenged (I promise, this is not a side effect of being female. . . I don’t think).

I get to play around with the seat controls, mostly because Jesus knows if i don’t get to control something I’m gonna be tempted to take the keys back.  And one the best perks?  He also lets me pick the radio station.

I lay my head against the headrest and glance in the side view mirror and I see my trunk monkey on the side of the road, jumping up and down, hooting at us to come back.

And this time, instead of going back to get my trunk monkey, I just close my eyes and smile.

Not a chance trunk monkey.

Not a chance.

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