I Can’t Shift Out Of Park

By September 11, 2016Blog, Somewhat Spiritual

A couple of days ago, my wife’s SUV decided to stop shifting out of park. We wrestled with it, checked fuses, stomped on the brakes, turned it off and on again – nothing. It would not budge except for the occasional “lucky” shift.

We just had the transmission replaced last year so this little glitch made me nervous.

I hit the owner’s manual and found a shift lock override feature as a temporary fix, then dug deep online to try to find a solution. The most common problem that I could find among other owners of this vehicle was this little thing called the brake switch. It’s a little sensor that detects if the brake is pushed, and then tells the car it’s “okay” to shift out of park. It’s literally just a little button that releases when the brake is pressed, so it can fail if the electronics in the button go out.

I found it hard to believe that this little part could be locking up the whole car, but my dad always taught me to hunt down and solve the cheapest, fastest potential problems first and go from there. So that’s where I started.

AutoZone had one left, $25.99.

I found a YouTube video of someone replacing theirs on a similar vehicle, then headed to the garage armed with only a crescent wrench.

Seven minutes later I emerged victorious with a now-working shifter and made sure my wife knew what a stud of a mechanic I am.

Seven minutes and one bolt was all it took to fix a problem that was immobilizing the entire vehicle.

A $26 switch.

It reminds me of how James wrote about our tongues:

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!
It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

James 3:4-6 (MSG)

Amazing how one little part of our body can do so much.

It also makes me think about action, or lack of it, in my life. What are areas that I’m allowing to be shut down entirely because of one little “switch”?

What about you?

Are there businesses you haven’t started because someone broke your switch with their opinion?

Are there goals you have frozen in limbo because your own fear broke your switch?

Are there conversations waiting to be had because your “what ifs” won’t let you shift out of park?

Are there job opportunities bookmarked in your web browser but unapplied for because your perceived shortcomings broke your switch?

Are there ministries or churches waiting to be started but a lack of faith has broken your switch?


I’ve got my list. Let’s go to the garage and replace some switches.

Then shift out of park.

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