Faith On Autopilot
by Mandy Pagano
“Today I am exhausted with life. I am sucked dry of all my energy when it comes to living and dealing with issues and people. I just want to run away. I want to climb in a hole and sleep. I am worn out from thinking and rethinking. From taking every thought captive. From apologizing to God over and over again and asking Him to direct my thoughts. From being at the mercy of other people. From dealing with pettiness. From overthinking and over analyzing. Just beat.”
That’s the text I sent a friend the other day. I was close to the bottom of a long and difficult spiral that had begun months before. Like a constant dripping of water leaves a mark on pristine, white porcelain, my soul was weak from the drip, drip, dripping of situations and struggles I was facing in life.
I felt tired, defeated, frustrated, and alone. I was SO OVER facing the same trials—one right after another—that I just wanted to run away. I was spent. Done.
I wrestled with my feelings and felt exasperated at the schizophrenic thoughts in my head…
I know God. I know Christ. I know all the promises of the Bible. I’ve been a believer for 25 years. I’ve led Bible studies, ministries, counseled others, and written countless articles and blog posts extolling the virtues of God. I study His Word. I hunger and thirst for righteousness.
But I’m exhausted.
It’s as I sat in my kitchen one day, with all of this heavy on my mind, that I found a rare moment of quiet (in a house with 6 children, all under 9 years old, quiet is a relative term). As my mind wandered, undistracted by background noise, the sound of kids, and the theme song to Paw Patrol on a steady loop, an analogy came to mind. I pictured what it’s like when you drive home while distracted. Maybe you’re on the phone, talking with the kids, or simply have something you’re thinking deeply about. And-before you know it-you’re home! Somehow, you coasted there on autopilot. Because you’ve taken that same path so many times, and it’s so familiar to you, your brain automatically kicks in and gets you there, even when you’re not 100% focused.
I realized while sitting at my counter that day that faith needs to be the same way. When I’m overwhelmed and when my thoughts are distracting me from Truth, I need to be so rooted in and so familiar with God’s Word—the Truth—that my autopilot kicks in and leads me toward home (Colossians 2:6-7).
When I begin to question my beliefs or when I feel the passion and fire for the Lord diminishing, or when I feel dull inside…that’s when I need to rely on autopilot. I won’t always be on top of the mountain in my relationship with God. We’re told in scripture to expect struggles and trials (James 1:2). Also, it’s during those times when we’re weak that God’s strength is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When my responsibilities as a wife and mom make me feel like the walls are closing in, that’s when I need to let the Holy Spirit take over.
When my job as a ministry leader and friend require more than I can give, that’s when I lean on God to hold me steady.
When life, in all its ugliness, threatens to do me in and I lose my fire, that’s when I look to Christ for strength.
But I won’t be able to do that if the Word is not firmly rooted within me. And the Word of God won’t be firmly rooted within me if I don’t take the time to study it, meditate on it, and live my life by it.
As long as we’re on this planet, we will face struggles. How we handle those struggles and how well and how quickly we rally is determined by our relationship with the Father. Like any relationship—especially deep, intimate relationships—building those ties takes time, effort, and consistency.
It’s not about perfection. There is only One who is perfect and He died on a cross over 2000 years ago. He rose again and gives us hope that we can be made perfect through Him. This life is about knowing God and making Him known. Immersing myself in His Word and feeding my relationship with Him brings me closer to being like Christ.
It’s a process that requires dedication. If we never learn the route home in the first place, we won’t be able to “autopilot” so easily. Without the comfort, familiarity, and repetition of a route taken many times, there is no autopilot.
So today, let’s begin feeding our relationship. Let’s carve out time to be in the Word, in prayer, and rooting our Faith in the Lord. When the everyday of life gets to be too much and we lose our focus, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to “autopilot” us home.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).
Mandy Pagano and her husband Joe live in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area with their six children. Mandy homeschools, acts as Coordinator of her local MOPS group, and teaches 3 & 4-year olds at her church. She blogs her heart out at SuburbanStereotype.com and founded DeliberateWomen.org with six other women in 2012. She just finished her first eBook called The Anxious Mom and loves to share the extravagant love of Jesus with others. Hers is a life broken but redeemed. You can also find her as a contributing author on OvercomerOutreach.com and Ungrind.org.