Living on Auto Pilot

Sometimes I drive on auto pilot. I mean, I get in the car, drive, and end up where I planned to go without thinking about it.  Other times, I head out to go somewhere else — like to the store or an appointment–and out of habit I end up three or four blocks in the wrong direction.  I suddenly realize I automatically headed toward work instead of heading toward the store or my appointment.

I shake my head and laugh it off. But, it feels a little scary that my mind locked in to a habit and I ended up someplace I didn’t want to be.

I know other habits lead me places I don’t want to be. At work, if I put my email on auto-check every 5 minutes, I look at new email that arrives when the auto-check tells me mail has arrived.  The need to check my email, at least for work, is real. But, the habit distracts me and breaks my concentration.  So, re-engaging the project before me takes more energy–and more time.  By the end of the day, I’ve accomplished less than I hoped.  I create distractions because the other work is overwhelming or more difficult.

Lack of discipline also leads me places I don’t want to be. I’ve never been very disciplined when it comes to daily or weekly or monthly routines — doing laundry, keeping a budget, filing paperwork at home or work.  I think, “I have too much to do” or “I’m too tired, I’ll do it tomorrow.”

The result — where I end up because of the habits and lack of discipline–is the problem. I end up feeling more stressed and having less time for family and friends.

So, why do I lack discipline and fall into habits–why do I shift into auto pilot and lack discipline? I don’t know completely, but I know a lot of the reason is selfishness. I do things my way. I act how I feel at the moment.  I lose sight of the bigger picture.  God’s picture for life — a life of selflessness and love.

Instead of doing things my way, I need to look to God to transform me, so that I can do things as He planned. I need to look to Him to transform me inwardly, so that I may reflect Him outwardly. In my habits. In my disciplines.  In my relationships.

I need to shift out of auto pilot and let the Spirit lead me. I need to place my everyday life before God, look to Him, and respond.  So I can end up where He wants me to be.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” –Romans 12:1-2, The Message


Posted on April 20, 2010, in Christianity, Faith, God, Hope and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Yet another thing we have in common – I tend not to be as disciplined as I would like either. My desk doesn’t look quite as bad as your photo, but it and my house often get quite cluttered, which leads to more stress. I’m also not sure of the reason, but I suspect that if I placed EVERYTHING in God’s hands, a greater level of discipline would result. I pray God will help us both improve in this area. Peace, Linda

  2. Linda – Thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone! My desk isn’t as bad as the photo either, but sometimes it feels that way! You are right, placing everything in God’s hands is what we need to do. Too bad we don’t have an ‘autopilot’ for that.–Godspeed, Elizabeth

  3. Elizabeth,

    Thank you for this post. At best, I am a very well programmed person and when things seem to go a different direction than I first intended, I get frustrated. But I like your advice. While it might feel safe to have habits, it’s best to leave space in our lives where God can work in and through us without much resistance. In any case, God resists the prideful but gives grace to the humble.

    God bless you.


  1. Pingback: The Joy of Renewal « From Mountain Tops

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