Dont Ignore The Check Engine Light

A few years back a survey estimated that 10% of drivers in the United States are buzzing around town with their Check Engine light on. With their vehicle seemingly running like normal, they ignore the glowing light on their dashboard warning them that something in their car is not operating properly. They continue to gamble that the potential issue is minor in nature with every mile they place on the car. If the shining light persists, they might contemplate taking the vehicle into the shop, but a lack of funds or busy schedule normally win out. Sometimes it isnt until the car wont start, makes a loud screeching noise or breaks down completely that they face the reality that all is not as it should be under the hood.

If you have been participating in the assignments on the blog over the past few days, youve begun to realize that there are parts of your heart where the Check Engine light is glowing. Maybe youve ignored the signs because, like those 10% of drivers, it appears that life is operating properly. Yet, every so often, an unfavorable behavior comes out of nowhere and you know things are amiss inside your heart. Through the picking of your word, you are declaring the time has come to not only diagnose the problem, but also repair what is broken. Being intentional about your word prepares your heart to face whatever comes your way. In order for this to take place, the word you choose needs to deal with the issues occurring in the depths of your heart. Spend a few moments reflecting on the following question:

  • Read Proverbs 4:23. Which word do you feel speaks most clearly to the issues taking place inside your heart?


How will God transform you in the New Year – prayer, attitude, integrity, tenderness or patience? What will be the one word that defines you in 2010 – joy, gratitude, forgiveness or contentment? In what area of your life will you be able to see God move consistency, peace, kindness or humility? Whatever your word may be, you have committed to being part of an experiment to see what happens when people focus on one thing to force clarity and develop direction. Begin now by setting up ways you can engage your word so at the end of the year you will be able to stand before God with a wiser heart. Take the time necessary to arrange your life in order to put your word into action.

  • It has been said the normal natural pace of life is not going to push you towards spiritual formation. How have you begun to arrange your life for God to move through your one word?

At the beginning of this blog, we talked about indicators that cause the Check Engine light of your heart to illuminate. Theyre different for each one of us. Wed love to hear your response to the following question: As it relates to the word youve chosen or are considering, what warning signs alerted you that something wasnt right with your heart?

30 Responses to “Dont Ignore The Check Engine Light”

  1. Debbi says:

    I am still trying to decide if this is the right word for me to focus on this year “love.” When I think about what it takes to love as God loves us, the check engine light really turns on. It’s a big task!

    In one way, I want to guard my heart from being hurt. In another way, I’m thinking “there is no way can I love this person.” So I am struggling with this big time.

    I have been trying to keep this word in the front of my mind through out my day, and it has really made me think about things in a different way. It has changed my response in some cases, and also made me think before I act. This is a good thing. My prayer is that I can continue with this and that maybe some of the larger task as mentioned above will come. After all, I can’t do it all in one day! I must pace myself through out this journey.

  2. Nicole C. says:

    My light went on when I noticed how much more I became doubtful, negative and fearful. My word is possibility…

  3. Amy says:

    Strength is my word. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.” Philipians 4:13

  4. Jim says:

    My word will sound egotistical but it isn’t meant to be. I remarried in May of ’09 after my first wife died of cancer in ’07. I feel that I need to push myself to make my new family as well as my first family members proud of me. I am not the best at household projects, but want to make my wife smile when I am able to accomplish something. Therefore, my One Word is “Hero”. I want to be the best for my loved ones that I can possibly be. To strive to be a hero in their eyes helps me very much.

  5. Nancy says:

    My word is “pray” – through this we can talk with God and allow Him to work in our lives in some awesome ways. I have recently been spending less time in prayer and I can feel that my life has become more chaotic because I have not been spending time with God and listening to HIm and finding the peace that only He can give. But Philippians 4:6-7 says it all! Never ever give up hope! God is always faithful.

  6. Shirley says:

    My word is “discipline”. I am determined to be disciplined to read through the bible this year – I have never done that before. I also want to be more disciplined in all aspects of my life – not just the spiritual.

  7. Shelly says:

    My word is “sweet”. Song of Solomon 4:11 – Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon.

    My husband is having an affair. I feel partly responsible because I have not been for him who I should have been for the past 13 years. I have been doing the love dare and have heard God speak to me. I have to be an example to my husband, I have to make my husband feel like a hero….this will bring my husband to salvation which will be the greatest gift I can lead him to.

  8. Sandra says:

    It’s so hard to just pick one word. I have so many things in my life that I want to change. My word is going to be “grateful”. I have been a very ungrateful person and due to some recent negative happenings in my life, I realized that I need to be more grateful and appreciative of all the people, things, and events in my life. But I also want to pick “positive”. I need and want to have a more positive outlook in life.

  9. Teena G says:

    As it relates to the word youve chosen or are considering, what warning signs alerted you that something wasnt right with your heart?

    It was the fact that almost everytime i looked at people in the eyes i felt shame. and still so just waiting on the Lorf to fix things right

  10. Rebecca says:

    My word is FAITH and my warning lights have been going off for at least the last 6 months that I actually paid attention to. I worry about absolutely everything, and it eats away at me. I don’t sleep, I eat too much to relieve my stress (I thought), I am irritable and sad alot. Some of the things I worry about ARE within my control (like our lack of money), but other things are not. I am trying really hard to learn to let God deal with my problems rather than me worrying about them all the time.

  11. Katy says:

    My one word is “awake!” Not just physically awake, but awake in the spirit. To see, to hear, and to do what God wants. Too often my prayer time is more about me talking and listening and my daily routine is about what I want, not necessarily what God is asking of me for that time and purpose. I feel like that one word “awake” encompasses all of the things I would have put as a resolution this year! “WAKE UP KATY!”

  12. Terri says:

    I have been working on the same goals for a long period of time. When I looked for a word, I realised I do not want to continue being annoyed and reacting negativly with or to others behavior. Rather, I must live my life and DO the things that I want to DO in order to make my corner of the world as close to what His plan is for us.

  13. Teresa says:

    My heart has not been obedient for some time now. I let my youngest daughter slip right through my fingers due to my lack of obedience as a parent. My heart of stone prevented me from going to her and apologizing. But God has led me down a few paths that required much obedience to get there in one piece. I know now that my life and the lives of my children depend on my obedience to God’s word.

  14. Barbara says:

    The word for me in 2010 is “obedient”. As I contemplated “my word” obedient is the one word that continued to come to mind. In recent years I have overcome fear, struggled with doubt and insecurities and found strength in Christ beyond anything I could have comprehended but I still remained unprepared to commit 100% in ALL areas of my life.

    As I was trying to decide on my word I received a text from one of our ministers….”Missed you in church this morning”. Why had I not been there…I was tired. I have a full-time and part-time job to and it was my first day off in several weeks so I slept in. Had I been obedient I would have been where I was needed…at church.

    God has delivered me in many areas over the past few years…He walked with me through the death of my teenage son to childhood cancer, divorce and provided my daughter and me a place to live that we could afford when we found ourselves without a home.

    Our God is awesome beyond belief and He deserves everything my heart can offer! Through my obedience to Him and my church responsibilities, my family and friends, my community and my self I can work to become the person God knows I can be…the person He created me to be!!!!

  15. Jenny says:

    My word is Renew. My warning light was when I was sinning with the an old sin and it made me feel horrible physically and mentally so whent he new year came I decided even before I found this project that I was going to renew my committment to God and myself to not do that same sin. I want to follow God’s leading and see what He has in store for me.

  16. Colleen says:

    That’s funny because I’m one of the 10% that drive around with the “check engine” light on, not just in my car but in my life. What really drew me this one particular word was how much I wanted to see other people show this characteristic only to realize that I was lacking just as much as the rest of them. I guess you could say my “warning light” was when all the sudden out of nowhere I started feeling all these emotions about people and situations that had nothing to do with me and I had to step back to figure out why.

  17. Tracy says:

    I have saw the check engine light because Im surrounded by unfinished projects & my to-do list that I never start.I used to live in the the consistency but I had and it shows horribly in my life.It is ME that needs to change

  18. Amber says:

    The light went off when I realized I had become one of the most negative and ugly people I know. I was angry at the world and it may have been only one person that may have deserved it. Thats when I realized I needed to take myself back to when I was the happiest and the most pleasant and figure out where I let my end go with God. My passion was gone, I was at one time ignited to learn and grow with God. To move where he wanted me and do as he wished-to the best of my ability.

  19. Rebecca says:

    My check engine light went on when my “guiltly pleasures” brought only guilt and no pleasure. My word is PURPOSE. For me, that means, if I eat it, speak it, read it, watch it, do it – I want it to bring me closer to God, my goals and my family.

  20. RENEE says:

    One Word . . . I liked the idea, but wasn’t sure I could do it. How could I pick just one word to shape my life for 2010? I took an if it happens, it happens attitude about selecting my word . . . Wanting to, but not sure I could or even would.

    Then today, my one word just rose to the top out of the many that had come to mind. I am convinced, and sooooooo excited to see what God is going to do with, and how God is going to help me live out my one word in 2010. My one word is BELIEVE!

  21. Heather says:

    My word is gratitude. On New Year’s Eve I was out for a walk by myself, in a light rain, and passed a homeless man who wished me a happy new year and then said, “All in all it’s been a pretty good day, I did get these new galoshes.” I started wondering what I’m thankful for – if I’m thankful for the simplest gifts like shoes, clothing, a warm home, a job (I’m not). But that encounter has not left my mind, and my choice of a word to focus on in 2010 was easy. Actually becoming more grateful is much harder!

  22. Christina F. says:

    I can be stift neck and bull headed. You can ask anyone in my family. I am the Queen of royally messing up my life because I am a control freak. I want to do things my way. 2009 was the hardest year for me when I look back. I am one who likes to take charge and run the show. The Lord these past months has shown me my insecurities and why I like to have such control. The one red flag is I have a hard time trusting. I have been dissappointed so many times in my life. Another one is Letting go and just letting God. Easier said than done, I know. But I am learning to trust God and His timing. I am learning to allow Him in more and more each day. These past few months I have felt so lonely and abandoned, but the Father is changing that.

    In these past 4 weeks, I have learned to lean on him. I need to be honest with you and say that I have wanted to jump ship this week. Since I have felt this way, I have fallen to the feet the King and confessed it. In my quiet time today, this is what I felt the Holy Spirit lay upon my heart. “Remember Peter being on the boat with the disciples and how he was so excited to see Jesus walking on water. Peter said “Lord if that is you, call me out.” Jesus did. Peter in a sence, jumped ship. When he realized that he was actually walikng on water, he became scared and started to sink. He called out “Jesus, save me.” And Jesus did just that. Jesus said “Oh you of little faith.” So you can jump ship and try to run from me. The truth is you need to face your fears, but allow me to be there. Grab onto my hand. You need to allow me to help you through your insecurities and learn to trust me.”

    So with that said. I don’t think he would make it all that easy for me to back out. Because the truth is, He is pursuing us all with a vengance and I love that about Him.

  23. Roxanne says:

    My word is Quiet… I have been watching my words and I actually stopped myself before speaking the other day, I thought a moment about what I was going to say and decided I didn’t need to say anything..this is a big improvment for me. I am also working on being quiet before the Lord so He can speak to me..I have been praying a while then I am quiet a while. I think I am on the right path, with the Lords help

  24. Proverbs 4:23. I had a hard time not picking out the word heart, because I feel the heart must be so involved in satisfying my word “third”. But I ended up choosing the word “guard” for unless I am willing to carefully guard my heart and my soul against the enemy, I will be unable to truly put myself third. I will want to keep moving myself up fo a position of second place and sometimes even first place. After all, I have worked hard to get to where I am and don’t I deserve something for that? Absolutely not – after all it was God who gave me the talent to get to my present position and l owe so many other for the opportunity. So let me carefully guard my heart so that I can put things in the right pesoective so that I may forever thank God and others for where I am today. *************************************************************

  25. I chose my word commitment due to the fact that when bads things happen in my life I tend to push myself away from God. Even when I am tired, heart broken, or most of all scared I am going to continue to commited to God and the works that I do for him.

  26. Lorin says:

    I chose the word “timing” to keep focused on God’s timing, HIS plan for me. I have realized my check engine light was indicating my battery was dead. I have exhausted all of the power channels filtering what guides my heart, because I have been focusing on myself and others to be in control of my life. I have realized that God is the only 100 percent efficient power source of my heart that keeps me going. ” I can do anything through him that gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

  27. Lauren says:

    I have realized that I spread myself too thin with too many projects going on. I jungle item after another and when I feel on top of that, I add one more in. It’s a constant circus act. The normal pace of life pushed on me is too fast with too much.

    I also moved from my RV into an apartment. An apartment which had a blank slate when I first came here, and I found peace in the bareness of it all. I have even found myself leaving a bunch of stuff behind in my RV so as to not clutter the free space of where I now live.

    Therefore, my one word is SIMPLIFY!
    My life will be more deliberate of what it should include. God, School, and my Career. If I can simplify, I feel I will excel more in the areas that matter most instead of trying to matter a little in a lot of areas. I don’t want to be a Jack-of-All-Trades and Master-of-None anymore.

  28. Leigh Ann Reed says:

    My word is “Overcoming”. I consider myself a strong person and sometimes try to fix things myself. I only make things worse but when I turn it over to God he helps me overcome the situation. I picked this word because I need to remember, “If God is for me who can be against me.”

  29. Sarah says:

    My word is “steward”. I want to be a better steward all of the resources God has given to me and our family… better steward of time, of money, or our relationships, our talents, etc. Hopefully in turn, being a better steward of His blessings will snowball to all other areas of my life and I can be more thifty, more forgiving, more available to those I love, more loving, and more obedient in my faith.

  30. Susan says:

    My one word is “Seek”. Today my insight into my need for the word seek is that to seek, I have to go somewhere other than where I am in order to find the the God I seek. I am working on doing this spiritually and physically. Something has to change or I’ll get what I’ve always gotten. And that’s getting old!