Check Out or Lean In?



I grew up with a great dad who taught me all he knows about, well, anything and everything! I was just absolutely certain as a kid that my dad was the smartest man alive! He knew everything! Well, at least that’s what he told me, and by golly I believed it! And then I got a little older and realized maybe he didn’t quite know as much as he’d been leading on. Eventually I would realize that he knew more than enough for me.


One thing he did know a lot about was nature and the outdoors. He always seemed to know the perfect place and time to spot a herd of deer and took us to the most heavenly places known to man, when we camped.

One thing he admittedly knew very little about was mechanics. I mean nothing. His dad died when he was nine, and he simply was just never taught the trade. I seemed to have inherited that deficiency myself! I think I would need the cliff notes to study before I could even open the book “Mechanics for Dummies.”

As it so happens, my Men’s Life Group is filled with what seems to be PHD’s of Mechanics. I mean who has the knowledge and guts to take off the entire body of their truck to fix . . . whatever the heck they want to?! I mean who does that – – Really?! Oh yeah, my Life Group guys, that’s who! Well, during our group time, when we’re not digging into the depths of theology or exegetically dissecting a passage of Scripture, (cough-cough) our discussions sometimes wander into the realm of auto-repair. It sounds something like this, “I was thinking of changing the overdrive calibration to match the output of the carburetor’s 2X differential, but I wasn’t sure if the torque would be too much for the tranny. What do you guys think?” Or at least that’s what I heard. I’m pretty sure they just make up words and concepts just to mess with me, although I can’t prove it yet.

Anyway, to be honest when they start talking mechanics, I sometimes just “check-out.” You know, I’m there, and I’m nodding and smiling like I’m engaged, but I’m only there physically; my brain has left the building. I feel like that is how a lot of people get through the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season: Going through the motions. Showing up at the festivities and parties and even church, with a glued-on smile and lots of nodding. All the while burying our hurts and sadness deep down, hiding our brokenness and disappointments as if they somehow disqualify us from enjoying the holidays like everybody else.

Let me encourage you with this: Christmas isn’t a time to Check-Out, but a time to Lean In! It’s not a time to fake it till you make it. It’s a time to be real with ourselves, and with God. He knows intimately our hurts and sadness and brokenness and disappointments, and He invites each of us to “Cast all of our anxiety and cares upon Him for He cares for us.” (Interpretation of 1 Peter 5:7) Please don’t shy away from the one and only person who can bring you the hope and peace you so desperately seek. Jesus is only a simple prayer away. He is within our reach!

~Pastor Mitch