Early Sunday morning around 3am, my smoke detector went off for a good 30 minutes before I actually got up to turn it off (I was tired yall and plus I didn’t smell any smoke lol). After deactivating the device (or so I thought) I laid back down and sure enough 15 minutes later it was going off again. I got up, pressed the off button and climbed back in bed once more. After the third time going off, I legit disconnected the entire device, took it off the wall, and read the back to try to see how to stop the signaling. After reading the back of the device and realizing that the signal pattern was alerting me for possible carbon monoxide exposure, I then took matters a little more seriously. After 25 minutes of debating with myself (and doubting the seriousness of the alert), I finally phoned the fire department. They came out, did a check, and found everything to be ok- false alarm! I suppose because I was in the moment, and at 3am my brain wasn’t necessarily functioning properly, I literally downplayed this entire situation but hindsight is always 20/20. In reflecting, there are just so many things
wrong with this situation.
First of all, why in the world did it take me 30 minutes to get up in response to the first alert? How dare I take it upon myself to declare this a non-emergency simply because I didn’t smell smoke? Never in my wildest imagination would I have ever considered carbon monoxide to be a threat. I’ve been in my apartment for almost 6 years and have never had something like this happen, so I literally brushed it off as a simple malfunction of the device, rather than a real emergency. The second issue is that instead of processing the situation as a potential danger, I was instead annoyed and probably did the worst thing possible by disconnecting the device altogether. The final issue in this event is the fact that EVEN AFTER realizing that the signaling was a possible detection of carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless and VERY deadly, I in fact spent another 25 minutes doubting the detector, debating with my common sense, and hesitating for fear of waking my neighbors by having the fire department come out at 4am. Honestly, it’s a struggle I have carried all my life, being rational vs. being dramatic. Do I really need to go to the hospital for a 104 temperature, or am I being a hypochondriac? Do I address the racial micro-aggression’s or is that “doing too much”?
I think about the many signals and alarms God sends our way in every facet of our lives, whether that be health alarms or potential partner signals, and how like in my situation, we choose not to acknowledge them. Sometimes the indicators are SO CLEAR, and yet we still hesitate, doubt, and debate the signals. How many times have you justified curving an obvious signal because you “couldn’t smell or see the smoke”? Have you ever considered that sometimes the danger God is trying to keep us from is colorless and odorless? How many times have we become annoyed with Gods signals that we try to disconnect ourselves from the device (the Holy Spirit) altogether? And finally, why is it that when danger is staring us RIGHT IN OUR FACE, do we make excuses to downplay the severity of the situation? How is it that I lacked trust in the very thing that was created to keep me safe? Hebrews 2:11 offers, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” I also love John 10:27 which says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” I love this one so much because it emphasizes that to hear God’s voice is one thing, but to ACT on it is a completely different thing. The verse doesn’t stop at “my sheep hear my voice” but ends with an action of, “and they FOLLOW me”. Hearing the alarm wasn’t enough, but acting on the sound was required to save my life.
I honestly LOVE the way the NBA has responded to the incredibly hurtful and racist remarks by Don Sterling over the last few weeks (I would expand but encourage you to checkout Monisha’s post from Friday). The indicators and signals were clear, and the response appropriate. How will we respond to the 234 girls abducted in Nigeria? Will we make excuses to downplay the severity of the situation? Will we hesitate and doubt our ability to make an impact?
How quick are you to respond to God’s alerts? Just like the carbon monoxide alert was a false alarm, I also believe God gives us spiritual false alarms just to be sure we are ready for the real thing, sort of like a fire drill. The question then becomes, if we can’t even respond well in a drill what makes us think we are ready for the real thing?
Until next week’s ramble,