Several of you asked about what happened to my Tesla. God did his work in some unique and surprising ways. Tesla and I communicated back and forth several times. I was honest, kind, and yet forthright. Finally, they offered to accept my old Tesla as a trade-in at a decent value. This meant I was able to get a new Tesla Model Y for about $32,500. God did work in a significant but unexpected way. The attitude of hope did produce a desired outcome in this case. But it doesn’t always work like this.
An interesting aspect of this new car is that I have driven it very little. This is so not like me. I am a car guy, so in the past I would have almost worshipped a new car like this. Some of my current reaction may be attributed to age, but this time, I intentionally put my trust in the hope I have in God working in and through it to mature me. This led me to be more content with any outcome. Don’t get me wrong, I find joy in this new car and would have been bummed if I lost all value in my old car. But my hope would still have been in my God. I was content.
This leads me to ask: what is the difference between enjoying something and finding significance in it? I think the difference has to do with our identity. When our identity becomes wrapped up in the object, then it tends toward finding significance in that object. But, when we enjoy something, we find pleasure in it but can let it go at any point. When our attachment to something becomes a part of who I am, I lose my ability to separate myself from it. In other words, if I feel a possession is part of who I am rather than something for me to enjoy, my significance is bound up in it. That is when I am in trouble in more ways than one.
The same is true of any position, possession, passion, promise, practice, or other “P” we can think about. God created all of these to bring joy to our lives, but when our identity is wrapped up in that “P,” we lose our ability to enjoy it. It then becomes an idol like those spoken of in the OT. It is the difference between worshipping the gift and the giver. When our identity is tied to that “P.” we only feel of value or significance because of it. We then seek it rather than just enjoying it.
The process of going from a possession we enjoy to a part of our identity may happen over time. I think it isn’t always a decision made consciously or intentionally. But rather, a slow meshing of how we see ourselves as part of it rather than an external object to enjoy. This is part of the difference between expectations and expectancy.