There’s a well-known adage that says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Why is it that as humans we are more likely to wait for something to literally break before we take measures to prevent it?

And have you ever noticed that it—whatever “it” is—always chooses to break at the worst possible moment? Which ends up costing us more time, more money, and more effort than would have been required otherwise? Can I get a witness?

I’ll admit it. I’m guilty.

For example, although I don’t have to pump gas often, if it’s left up to me, I’ll see the gas gauge getting closer and closer to that big E on the dash, and still wait until way after the gas light comes on, before I go fill-up the tank. (Which almost always is when I’m running late for an appointment.) In fact, I (may or may not) have run out of gas on the road, once or twice. Sigh. #workinprogress

I guess that’s why they say,

 “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

It’s much easier to stop something from happening, or mend small cracks, than to try to make backbreaking repairs after the full scope of damage has already been done.

On our recent GIRLtime trip to New Orleans, we took a tour of the city that highlighted some of the areas where Hurricane Katrina swept through in 2005. We could still see the remnants of the devastation 12 years later.

Our tour guide explained that the levees broke, not just because the storm surge was massive, but because the levees had been so poorly designed and poorly maintained, they eventually collapsed due to soil failure.

As a result, the waters damaged over 170 miles of the city of New Orleans, almost 2,000 people lost their lives during the storm, and the costs for repair were upwards of $200 billion, making Katrina the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.

Later, a review board was able to pinpoint key factors, and eventually determined that the extent of the devastation could have been avoided had a review board been diligent in double-checking the flood wall designs over the years.

Maybe the officials in Louisiana were thinking, “it’s not broken, so why fix it?” But clearly, a little preventative effort would have changed the entire outcome.

17th Street Canal and Levees New Orleans prevention

The same is true for our spiritual lives, social relationships, and personal endeavors. A little prevention goes a long way. It’s always better to take preventative actions, instead of waiting for the things in our lives to “fall apart.”

When is the last time you did a maintenance check?

Here are 3 things we can do to avoid “breached levees” in our lives: 

Self-examination is the vital first step in preventative care. But we must understand that it is impossible to accurately examine ourselves without the Holy Spirit. This step involves a lot humility and a clear mind ready for introspection. How do you measure up? (See: 2 Corinthians 13:5aAmos 7:7-8)

Reconciliation allows restoration to take place. Are there people or opportunities in you life that you are currently taking for granted? What do you need to work on before it’s too late? (See: Matthew 5:23-24Colossians 3:12-15)

Preservation is the last maintenance step. We must make an effort to safeguard what God has given us. (See: Romans 12:6Psalm 119:1)

Ultimately a transformation must take place in our hearts and be reflected in our lives, to such a degree that God is glorified.

The truth is “if it ain’t broke…,” isn’t the best advice.

Similar to the levees in NOLA, if left unattended, things will break.

Here’s the key: You have to diligently maintain what has value in your life instead of going through the process of recovering it once it’s been destroyed.

But even in brokenness, remember, grace is available.

<blockquote>”The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18, NLT</blockquote>