Somewhere in the history of modern machinery someone came up with the idea of a warning light – a signal of some sort that would indicate a problem with the machinery. It was a brilliant idea of course, since the machine could now tell you that it needs service or attention. For example, my car has been telling me for two weeks that it needs a maintenance check. It sends me a more extreme signal when fuel or oil is low. The coffee maker recently gave me a signal I didn’t know how to interpret. After reading the manual I discovered it needs descaling –whatever that is. My mobile phone lets me know when the battery needs to be recharged.
We are surrounded by these electronic reminders, some of them helpful but many of them are now just annoying. I really don’t want to be told everyday that ‘updates are now ready’ for my computer. Many of these reminders I can and do ignore. Others, I take more seriously, like the oil light in my car. But not all warning signals are electronic. Every day we receive thousands of non-electronic signals and if we ignore the wrong ones for too long the consequences can be life changing.
For example, people say that our body runs like a machine. It needs food and rest and must be cared for. When something is lacking it sends a signal. You begin to feel pain or discomfort and it increases until you do something about it. Maybe you need to slow down and sleep, or lose some weight or visit a doctor. But don’t ignore the signs for too long or your health can be damaged.
Our relationships with our spouse and family members are complex but many times there are also clear signals that something is not right. I am always surprised at how many people think they can ignore those warning signals and pretend that everything is going to be okay. They seem to think that the discomfort will just go away. Perhaps there are harsh words, or someone seems withdrawn, maybe it’s been a while since you’ve had time together, or perhaps there is more fighting and disagreement and you find yourself angry more often. These may be signals that the relationship needs a check-up or some extra work. Otherwise the pain and discomfort will continue to grow.
If you think something might need to be explored or checked out, then do it. Today! This area of life can’t be left to itself. And it doesn’t get better on its own. Our relationship with family members is far too important. And the consequences of letting this go are devastating. It’s sad when I hear people say, “If only I had paid more attention to what was going on.” You wouldn’t ignore the oil light in your car but your spouse and children are far more important than that. Don’t miss the signs that one of them might be needing your attention and love.
Ephesians 5:15 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise.” Wise people know what’s really important in life and they pay attention to those things.