We have been a 1 car family for over 4 years, since our daughter was born.  It was inconvenient at times, but never a big deal.  It encouraged me to do a lot of walking, as I would hit the street, pushing a stroller, to get to the grocery store, the post office, of wherever we needed to go.  For the first 2 years we lived close enough to my husbands work that I could walk to the car on days when I needed to travel farther.  Sure, it was tough on winter mornings when I needed to walk to the car to get to church, or when I needed to wake the kids up at 5 a.m. to take my husband to work.  But overall, I didn’t mind.

Well, a few weeks ago a coworker of my husband graciously gave him her old (1995) car (275k miles).  It is a junker car for sure, but it is also an answer to prayer, as we now live 15+ miles away from my husbands work and from church. It is a tremendous blessing to have access to a car so that we can get grocery shopping done before my husband gets home and we can get to church without waking up before the sun rises or asking for a ride for 4 people.

Strangely though, having a car sitting in the driveway has curbed my desire to go on walks with my kids.  There is no logical explanation for this. Before, we went on a long walk just about every day the weather allowed, almost as a natural response to seeing the sunshine.  Now I am finding that I need to be very intentional about going on that walk, motivating myself much more than before.  In many ways, I feel like a big kid with a new toy (car), and my old favorite toy (walks) no longer hold my interest.

My girls love going for walks.  Anytime the sun is shinning they ask, ‘can we go for a long walk?’  I like walks, it gives me exercise that I don’t otherwise get, it breaks up the day a bit, it teaches my children a healthy habit, it gives us something to do together, it is a bonding time for us, and it seems to slow down the pace of life.  Yet, when there is a car at my disposal – even when I don’t use it – walks just don’t seem all that fun.

If I listen close enough, I can hear the car calling my name.  It’s saying, ‘pss, I’m out here.  Why stay at home?  Come on, take me for a ride.  Anywhere, I don’t care, lets just go out.’  And we have.  With the car there, on a whim I can say, ‘kids, get your shoes on.’  It’s so much fun to “go out” because we can. Today we ventured to Lowe’s to buy some flowers for the front yard.  Another day we went to the grocery store (which we could really walk to) to indulge in a snack of some sort.  Really, any excuse to go out was an acceptable excuse.

These excursions are not a problem in and of themselves, but the past few weeks have reminded me of the need to live intentionally.  What is important does not always line up with what is convenient or easy.  There is nothing wrong with taking my kids to the store to buy them a treat, but if that trip feeds my own sinful laziness, or requires that I ignore other responsibilities, or even if it keeps me from interacting with my children in the way I should, then it is a problem for me.  Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean that I should.

Not a bad lesson to learn from a free car.

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