Blind Spots and Brake Lights

*Dad drove beside my car earlier today*

Dad: Anak, sira yung isang brake light mo. Parang yung akin din.

Me: oohh okay po!

*We went our separate ways*

I was supposed to have my gas tank filled after, but I found myself driving towards the opposite direction. Eventually, I stopped at the car shop where my dad usually goes to for repairs. Guess what? He was there too!😅 Just as I was about to park, he was about to get in his car and drive off. The timing was a funny moment for me because I didn’t know that Dad was on his way there too! Also, because I didn’t want to prioritize the brake light at first, but I knew that it was God prompting me to do so instead.

It was supposed to be a quick procedure of changing a bulb, but the mechanic found out that the bulb was attached to a BURNT socket! So he had to replace it as well. I realized that if I did not prioritize fixing this, the busted brake light can cause accidents along the road. Most likely too, I would also be pulled over by an officer if they notice it soon.

We can’t easily know that our brake lights are busted, unless someone else tells us. Why? Because we can’t see it when we drive. It’s a blind spot! What a blessing it is to be surrounded by others who can gently and willingly show us blind spots, not only in our material things, but even in our character and walk.

Some questions I asked myself after this incident:

Do I acknowledge it and work on improving, when others show me my blind spots? Or do I become defensive and proud?

Am I willing to help others see their blind spots too, even if it means feeling uncomfortable at first?

It really is and will be by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am learning to have my mind and heart checked and renewed by Him moment by moment, because I won’t always know my faults, weaknesses, and points for improvement. I remember the importance of abiding in Him and His Word, as I say these things.

Psalm 19:11-14 says:

“By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Compared to the previous car mishaps, this incident was easier to take in. Haha! Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and constant reminders.

Did You Pray About It?

What do you when you’re running late for work and your car won’t start after 10 minutes of trying? You call for help. Yup! That’s right. I called for help. My initial response was to call my sister, who eventually went down with my younger brother to help me. However, after many attempts, we still couldn’t start the engine. So, I finally called our dad.

When I relayed the problem and the solutions we tried to come up with, he asked me a question that left me speechless for a few seconds. He said “Did you pray about it?” For a moment there, time stood still as the question echoed in my mind. “Did I pray about it? Did I? I think I did. Oh, no! I didn’t!”

I must have mustered some sort of cry to God when the engine wouldn’t start earlier today, but I don’t remember taking time to pause, lift the situation up in prayer, and trusting that God is able to let it work. I was embarassed to admit it but I quickly replied to my dad and said “Oh, I didn’t po. I didn’t pray yet.”

What was I thinking?! Why didn’t I even pause and pray? I then realized how easily I got caught up with the problem that I focused on trying to solve it without even consulting God.

As dad tried to start the car, He reminded me of two things: 1) Importance of Prayer (Mark 9:28-29) and 2) For me to consider buying a small and affordable brand new car, so that I would avoid having these kinds of problems.

Before attempting again, I prayed out loud with my dad beside me. Surprisingly, the car started after! But, when we switched on the aircon, the engine shut off again. This time, we really needed the help of a mechanic.

At that time, I was already preparing myself to accept the fact that I may not have a car for the next few days or weeks and it honestly gave me additional stress. Commuting to and from work isn’t convenient for me, plus, the limited grab and uber rides wouldn’t help. However, it was also during that moment that God reminded me of how everything is His and how He can take things in my life away from me anytime.

When this happens, will I still thank the Lord? How will I choose to respond? Even though today’s events were a bit stressful, I do appreciate how God is very intentional and personal in the way He speaks to me. Had I not experienced the car’s breakdown today, I would have probably continued to take things for granted. I would have forgotten to take time to pray about the decisions that I will be making for the day.

After waiting for a few hours, thankfully, dad was able to find mechanics who were available to assist me at home this afternoon. As I walked over to meet the mechanics, with a heavy yet hopeful heart, I told God: “Lord, would you please have mercy on me? Please allow the men to successfully fix the car today. Thank you.”

For about an hour and a half, the two men worked on the car and fixed it! Woohoo! We just needed to replace the fuel pump! By God’s grace, I didn’t need to leave the car at a repair shop for a long time. I can use it for my errands and activities in the coming days! Huhuhu.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬

I wish I could say that I did good today. But, my initial response wasn’t something that I was or am proud of. I realize that, sometimes, God uses challenging and humbling times to help me shift my focus back to Him. He knows everything about me and He knows what I need. Why would I not choose to seek Him first?

Seek Him first, Nic. Learn from today’s gentle reminder.

Thursday Tune #33: Steady Me by Hollyn

An SUV almost scratched my car while I was on my way to work this morning. We only had an inch of space between us as we were turning a corner. The driver of the SUV must have been distracted by what was in front of him that he didn’t realize how close he was to me until I pressed on the horn for four seconds non-stop. When he realized that he had almost hit my car, he quickly steered left. We only had a few seconds of eye-contact just before we parted ways. And in that moment, I looked at him through his semi-tinted windows and I gave him an irritated stare that said: “Are you serious?! What were you doing?! You almost hit my car!”

In order to pacify myself, I turned up the volume of the song that I had been listening to since I left the house and started to sing the lyrics as I drove away.

“No matter what the pressure, pressure
You will always be the answer, answer

Only you know how to steady me
Ready my heart for everything that’s coming my way
Help me trust that you’re ahead of me
Going before my feet with every step I take.”

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While I was singing this song, I suddenly felt a slight burn in my heart because I was heaping coals in my head. Why was I so irritated at the driver? Why did I have to give him a stink-eye? Why was I so angry???

Then, it hit me. My proud heart was so concerned with the car’s condition that I forgot about my heart’s condition this morning. 99% of the time, I pray before I start the car’s engine. I pray for wisdom and protection as I drive. But, this morning, because I was focused on memorizing songs on my phone, I forgot to pray and thank God first before driving to work.

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”-Psalm 16:2

It was also ironic because one of the songs that I was memorizing was the song I mentioned above: “Steady Me” by Hollyn. I did experience God steady my angry heart as He revealed to me the unnecessary things that I did this morning. By God’s grace, I pray that I will learn to seek Him first, depend on Him moment by moment, and humbly trust that even in the midst of stress and problems, He is always with me.

Whew.

I discovered this song while I was searching for new ones on Youtube. I hope that as you listen to it, it will encourage you too.

The Rotten Apple in the Car

I’ve been wanting to have the car washed since the start of June, but every Saturday morning (my preferred time), I either sleep in or do other activities at home. However, today, I mustered enough strength to get out of my bed and drive to a nearby car wash store. After a month of being driven around different cities under the sunny and stormy weather, it was finally given a well-deserved bath.

I stayed at the waiting area while I watched two men clean the interior and exterior parts of the car. In a few minutes, the car was completely covered with white, foamy soap and was being scrubbed and rinsed until it was squeaky clean. It was the most refreshing five minutes of my day, so far. After washing the car, they cleaned the rug inside using a vacuum cleaner and then they turned over the car to me.

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After paying for the fee, I left the place with a smile on my face as I was feeling very satisfied with a cleaner vehicle. I played some music in the car, sang a few songs on my way home, and felt good that the car didn’t have dried leaves and dirty windshields anymore. Everything was superb UNTIL I checked the backseats and noticed a horrifying sight. There was a rotten apple on the backseat of the car and it had a colorful display of fungi and molds. It was crazy!

Some of my immediate thoughts were: “What in the world? Why is there a rotten apple in the car???” “Why did the two men leave it and other tissue papers on the backseat?” “This certainly isn’t my apple. The only food I brought inside the car this past month was my take out order from KFC. Maybe it’s from one of my siblings! Huhuhu” I felt a mix of disgust and shame as I stared at the apple. I really am not a fan of fungi or anything rotten.

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But, even though it was a disappointing moment, I found it really random and funny. When I got home, I knew that God wanted me to experience the car wash and learn from it this morning. Yes, the apple may not have been mine in the first place. But, I have the responsibility of keeping the car clean regardless of the source of dirt. If I was more intentional in having it cleaned earlier (start of June), I may have discovered the apple when it was in a much better state. However, because I didn’t, I now have to face the consequence of unintentionally nurturing a rotten apple in the car. This explains the small critters I found roaming in the car! (Side note: In the past month, I noticed two tiny roaches on the rug of the car. I guess it was already a warning sign for me to have it cleaned. But, I chose to delay instead.)

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I was also tempted to feel disappointed towards the two men who cleaned the car but left the rotten apple on the backseat. I thought that they didn’t do a good job in that aspect. But, now that I think about it, they did clean the rug (which was requested by me) and they just placed the things that they found under the seats on top of the seats for me to see. Beside the rotten apple, there were a few pieces of newspaper and tissue paper. But, there was also a usb cable that I lost a week ago. I guess it was their practice not to remove any of our belongings inside the car. Amusingly, mine happened to include a rotten fruit. Yikes.

If there’s one lesson that I could take home from this experience today, it’s this: We all have blind spots and we all need help in identifying them.

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Can you imagine how I felt after seeing the rotten apple on the backseat and realizing that it was hiding somewhere in the car for almost a month without me knowing? EEK! I felt shivers down my spine. I realized that it’s very similar to having blind spots in life, relationships, or even at work. There are certain behaviors, thoughts, and things that I have and do that may not be helping me grow as a person or benefiting those around me. Maybe it’s my choice of words or the way I randomly tease my colleagues. Maybe it’s my simple acts of laziness especially when I have to do chores at home. Maybe it’s depending solely on myself than on God in my recent day-to-day activities. If I don’t humbly seek the help of my accountability partners or family members and friends who can graciously point out my blind spots to me, I might as well be like a rotten apple in the car.

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.”

-Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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Incidentally, every Saturday afternoon, I have the privilege of meeting up with a group of ladies from church who help me grow in my walk with the Lord, in the way I build relationships, and in my personal goals in life. Maybe this morning’s car wash experience was another reminder for me to keep being accountable, teachable, and humble.

Oh, and hopefully, my next car wash won’t be on August 2. Please, no. If you remember me a week or two weeks from now, can you remind me about this? Hahaha.

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About Me

My name is Nicole Obligacion and I started this blog because I was inspired by Hebrews 10:24 and Hebrews 3:13. I love to eat, cook, bake, read the Bible, and encourage. :)

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