Today, I bring you a guest post for the book blog tour of CJ Hitz, the co-author (along with his wife Shelley) of Forgiveness Formula: Finding Lasting Freedom in Christ…
I know, I know. Reverse polarity…what’s that? I wasn’t familiar with those words either, at least when they’re used together. I am now.
A few weeks ago Shelley & I came out of Panera Bread in Lancaster, PA, and prepared to leave when our Toyota RV wouldn’t start. Completely dead, not a peep when I turned the key. Fortunately, we also had our car with us which Shelley was driving.
“We’ll just use the car to jumpstart the RV battery,” I confidently told my wife.
I proceeded to put the cables on each of the batteries, looking to make sure the black cables were placed on the negative terminals and the red cables carefully placed on the positive terminals.
I should have gotten the hint when sparks flew upon attaching the cables to the RV battery but after a second or two, the sparks ceased. Seeing a black cover on one of the RV battery terminals, I assumed that was the negative. The other terminal didn’t have any cover. Did I mention it was 10:00 pm, rainy, and dark outside?
“Go ahead and start the car, Shelley.”
We let the car run for 30 minutes and prayed before attempting to start the RV again. Nothing. Zilch. Dead.
“Maybe we need new jumper cables,” I said, trying to sound like a man with a ‘sure fire’ back up plan.
Unfortunately, we just missed getting into the Wal-Mart next door before they closed. So we’d have to sleep in the Panera parking lot until they opened the next morning.
We awoke the next morning and grabbed some fresh Panera coffee and bagels before heading into Wal-Mart for those brand new cables which would surely do the trick. Again, I placed the cables on each battery as I had the night before…yes, some sparks flew. Hint not taken.
“Go ahead and start the car Shelley.”
We let the car run for 30 minutes and prayed before attempting to start the RV again. I slowly turned the key while pushing on the gas…
“That must be one dead battery,” I said. We decided upon a local towing company who also happened to have some excellent mechanical skills. They took the RV back to their shop and, upon inspection, we indeed realized the cables were backward on the RV battery. This is also referred to as…
Google these words and you’ll see anything from minor damage to your electrical system to frying the whole system and more. After looking everything over, the mechanics determined we were somewhere in the middle. We basically fried the alternator and needed it replaced along with some fuses.
The Worst Damage…
…occurred as I beat myself up over and over again in my mind for the next 24 hours. Isn’t the damage we inflict upon ourselves always some of the worst? Especially for those of us who have a tendency toward perfectionism.
Some of the thoughts I was chewing on included…
“You idiot, you can’t even jumpstart your own car correctly!”
“Because of my stupid mistake, we’re out $350 more than we should be.”
“We could be on the road to Florida by now, but you screwed that up, CJ!”
“Just another failure in a long line of them, huh?”
“Maybe this whole ‘living in an RV’ thing was a dumb idea.”
You can see how things could continue to spiral downward in a hurry. Thankfully, the Lord broke through and rescued me from that “stinkin’ thinkin’.” These thoughts aren’t the sum total of CJ Hitz but choosing to believe them put me into a temporary prison.
With the help of my wonderful wife, I was able to forgive myself for this costly blunder and move on. When you’re able to look back and get a good laugh, it’s a sign you’ve been able to let it go. In fact, I think Jesus got a chuckle out of the whole thing from the beginning. He was never mad at me for royally screwing up. It was simply a learning experience. A chance to let good triumph over evil within my mind.
And what else did you learn, CJ?
Confusing the positive with the negative can certainly create sparks.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)