Double Grandma

When I first got out of college I needed a job to support my preaching habit. I worked for a couple of small-town newspapers but finally moved to another church and there was no job in journalism open in that town.

So I found work driving a gravel truck. I was the low man on the totem pole (either because of my short time of working there or my pitiful abilities), so part of the time I ended up driving a truck that the drivers affectionately called, “Old Greenie.”

This truck had been built way back in the morning mists of time when men still retained the art of fashioning really ugly vehicules. It was old, homely, and slow—if memory serves me correctly, a 1959 Chevy. My time driving it was rather uneventful—except for once when I looked out my window and saw the left front wheel speeding along the road beside me. It finally disappeared in the field and I struggled to get the truck stopped and under control. That was kind of interesting.

Old Greenie was so uncool that I was kind of ashamed to drive it, but it did have something I really liked—a two-speed real axle. Now, I don’t understand it all but when I was running in first gear, which was really slow but powerful, I could push a button and double the pulling power.

The drivers referred to first gear as “grandma” because it was so slow, but on Greenie when you pushed the button you were in “double-grandma.” In double grandma gear I could basically go straight up the side of a cliff. It would really pull! The problem was that you could only go about 5 miles per hour so it was just for situations where you really needed muscle.

I’ve had to shift my own life into “double grandma” a few times since. When things get tough and we think we can’t make it, I believe the Holy Spirit gives us another powerful gear—“double grandma”—so we can make it through.

The problem is that there are a lot of Christians stuck in “double grandma.” Their entire life is a painful pull. They are moving but it may be two or three lifetimes before they get there. This gear is not for everyday, but for specific situations.

You should be suspicious that you are in double grandma gear if people constantly honk at you or life constantly seems a steep, uphill pull and your motor whines a lots (“whines a lot,” get it?)

Everyone has to run in double grandma sometimes. No one should run in this gear all the time. If you see snails roaring by you on the left and turtles flashing by on the right, it’s time to shift gears.

How do you shift?

First shift is an act of faith. You put it in gear, get moving, go forward. Make the decision.

“Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.” (Ephesians 6:10-13, Contemporary English Version)

Then you begin to contemplate what is true. Your outlook on life often determines the gear you shift into. If you constantly think the sky is falling, and you’ll never accomplish anything, and you’re worthless, and, and, and … Well, you’ll stay in low gear or maybe even stop in the middle of the road.

But if you SEE that because you’re in Christ you are a new creature, old things have passed away, all things have become as new, you began to gain speed. If you SEE that you are really more than a conqueror through Him who loves you and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, you’ll shift again by applying that truth to your life.

If you know that God wants you to be successful in Him (and remember it’s His definition of success, not ours), you’ll move even faster. When you dream His dreams you’ll get excited about what can happen. You have to use faith to move faster, but it is available.

Honestly, our lack of momentum is often a lack of faith or something more subtle. Pastor Bayless Conley observed, “Having a maintenance mentality doesn’t have to do with faithfulness but laziness.” Shifting gears is risky but I dare say that if you’re not having to trust God in some areas of your life, you’re probably not moving in faith.

Make up your mind today to leave the doldrums of double grandma (unless you’re really in a period of your life where it’s needed). Get going, pick up speed. Those snails will marvel as you charge by them. More importantly you’ll be more effective for the Lord and more satisfied in your life.

Have a great week in the Lord,

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