The theology of tacky car decor.

I don’t know if one could call tacky license plate frames/ car decor “theology” or not, but it makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about. So please, humor me for a split second. I promise I’m getting somewhere.

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about God. I also spend a lot of time thinking about how God works in our lives and how we as His creation can better serve Him. I often wonder if I am adequately working to expand the kingdom or loving my neighbor enough.  Sure, all of my attempted acts of righteousness are nothing more than “filthy rags” (Isa 64:4) compared to God’s goodness through Christ, but in my humanity, I wonder about doing “enough.” As Christians, we’re expected to reach the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed, but how much of my life is actually dedicated to doing God’s work?

Enter tacky license plate frame.

I am far from a fast and furious driver. In fact, I had a teacher in high school tell me that I could get pulled over for going too slow just as much as going too fast. However, this past Sunday when I had to get back for my shift at Cracker Barrel, I decided to leave my parents’ house early so I wouldn’t be rushed. Driving safely at a reasonable pace, I got behind a car that was going too slow – even for me. To my dismay, the highway was double-lined and too crooked to pass even if I did want to break traffic law. Therefore I was stuck for the next 10 miles on a double-lined highway behind a car that was going too slow. I was getting irritated and annoyed even though I am notorious for being slow myself. However, I figured that since I was stuck behind this car, I might as well read the back windshield that was advertising a DJ service. As I finished reading the metallic letters, I saw the plate frame on the car.

“10% His, 90% Hers” is what the frame said in small and giant letters, respectively. Apparently, the lady behind the wheel or the buyer of the vehicle really liked this car, and wasn’t sharing the machine with her significant other. Of course, she might let him drive it every now and again, but it is her car. 90% hers to be exact.

As I trailed behind this car with its tacky plate frame, I couldn’t help but think that this sentiment of ownership reflects the notion of my life in relation to God. For instance, I have plans. Ask any of my friends and they can tell you what I want to do with my life. I talk about it all the time. I want to teach secondary grades, go to graduate school, get a PhD in English or education policy, write the next great textbook, teach college, whatever. I have it all charted out because it is my life with some prayer and church mixed in.

Of course I pray that God will use me where I’m needed, but in reality, I fear that God will send me to some dreaded place to serve Him. I all too often only want to use my Christian mission as long as it is convenient, not if it conflicts with my life plan. If my life were a car and needed a license plate frame, I’m afraid to report that at times, it would read “90% Hers, 10% His.” Just like anything else in my life though, I’m a work in progress that needs fine tuning. Dying to self isn’t the easiest part of my day, and sometimes, I fail. In the meantime, I have to be reminded that my life isn’t mine in the end, it is God’s through Christ. And sometimes, it takes a slow-moving vehicle with a tacky license plate frame to remind me.

He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 1:8

-Sarah

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3 thoughts on “The theology of tacky car decor.

  1. I think these are very good questions to ask. I would offer you a couple of points of push back. 🙂

    First, all of the vocational goals you mention can be (and are) excellent examples of Kingdom work, if a Kingdom-oriented person is doing them. I think God wants Kingdom people teaching in high schools and colleges, and (eek!) publishing in the academy. Life with God is wonderful, and full, and blessed, so working for a life that is so is part of Kingdom work.

    Second, I think it’s a normal “evangelical guilt” thing to anticipate a “call” to special misery. I’ve struggled with it at times. I think when God calls us to suffer with and for a particular group of people, he gives us hearts that drive us to it. As we pray and study Scripture and live our lives in the Church, he shapes us into people who love more like he loves. I know a lot of faithful Christian people who minister to people I just don’t want to spend time with, and many of them don’t like to spend time with the people to whom I minister. The Church is big, and it has a lot of different people making it up. Your particular path to being fully formed in the likeness of Christ (what my people mean when we say “sainthood”) might not look like Patrick’s or Clement’s or Perpetua’s or Teresa of Calcutta’s. Maybe it looks a lot like Scholastica’s vocation. But I’m sure it looks like Sarah’s vocation, and all of them have the same end: complete holiness.

    God bless you, Sarah. Keep at it.

  2. Pingback: Happy blogaversariy to me. « a time and a season

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