Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Cruisin' Along On Autopilot
It's funny what your mind can think of when you're supposed to be engaged in something else.
Relax, this didn't happen at work; it happened at church.
Of course I was supposed to be engaged in the whole worship experience. That is why we go to church, right? I don't remember what songs we sang or what it was that started me on the thought trail that I ended up on, but the thing that I started thinking about was that my spiritual life has sort of been on autopilot.
In some ways, this is not a bad thing. The little things are taken care of and we're able to cruise right along and everything appears to be okay.
In other ways, this can be a very dangerous thing. Without proper monitoring and occasional adjustments, autopilot can take you to places that you don't want to be.
I started thinking about Payne Stewart. Payne Stewart was a Springfield native and his death in 1999 was a big shock to this area. In this chronology of the events that happened on that day, the entry at 10:52am EST says: ''Aircraft jumped to 44,000.'' (Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said the plane was ''porpoising,'' fluctuating between 22,000 and 51,000 feet. This may be because it was on auto pilot.)
If the aircraft was configured to climb, it would keep climbing until somebody or something told it to stop climbing, or until it could no longer generate the lift to keep it climbing. Even though the autopilot should be able to do this, there are adjustments that need to be made. Power for a climb is different than power for cruising. Wing configurations are different. Fuel mix is different. Adjustments are subtle but significant. With nobody conscience to make these adjustments, the Lear jet made it way across most of the country climbing and descending as the forces of nature and engineering battled each other until it ran out of fuel and the Laws of Gravity were no longer offset by the lift being generated as the engines pushed the aircraft through the air.
When the Laws of Gravity take effect on an aircraft ten miles above the Earth's surface and there is little or no resistance to the effect, the inevitable happens very quickly and very forcefully.
Maybe that's how it is with our spiritual lives. We go through the highs and lows and either consciously or sub-consciously fail to make the necessary adjustments to keep on track as life's situations change. We make no course corrections. We make no changes to our attitude. Our altitude fluctuates outside of our control and we will eventually crash and burn in a spiritual heap...
Unless we decide to wake up and begin to make the subtle but necessary changes to our attitude and altitude and to make conscience decisions about our course instead of leaving things to the rigid structure of the autopilot.
I know...it's weird. Even more weird that this whole thought process took place in my head in only a few short moments. It's like waking up from a dream that was a whole day in dream time but only minutes have ticked off the clock in real time.
I guess it's time to be more purposeful about my spiritual life--more purposeful about prayer, more purposeful about study, more purposeful about ... worship.
What about you? Everything okay in your spiritual cockpit? Or is it time to kick the autopilot off and make some adjustments?