Friday, January 27, 2012

Stuck in a Rut

Why is it that I know what to expect but then when those expectations become reality, I am taken by surprise? I know that certain things are to be expected because of experience, yet I fail to prepare myself to respond any differently.

I think many of you know what I mean. We know to expect something based upon experience, yet somehow we really don't expect it to happen. We know to expect certain actions and reactions from people around us, but then when it happens we walk away like a wounded dog tucking our tail and licking our wounds. We know certain actions have certain consequences but it never fails--they still take us by surprise.

A good friend recently sent this to me after seeing me struggle over the same old thing for the two thousandth time. I think this was my hint. :-)
By Portia Nelson
Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.

Perhaps I wouldn't be so prone to falling apart over the negative not-so-surprises if I "planned" for them. It sounds silly I know, but hey I'm a planner and I don't always adjust well to spontaneous events because they disrupt my great plans, as silly as they might be. Many of us have to actually plan to do things differently, it doesn't just happen.

Several studies have been done on habit changing and each have proven that it takes repetition and time to change a habit. Who we are and how we react are part of our wiring. And whether we're wired-up by our parents, other family members, our environment or a combination of factors is irrelevant because they're all flawed. That being said--no wonder we have no chance of obtaining perfection in this lifetime.

It seems to me that as Christians, everything we do hinges on faith and if we're easily shaken then the first thing we should question is our faith.  As I search myself for reasons why I fall into the same old trap, I realize I could spend a lifetime on the "why's" but I can't pray enough for a renewed mind and an upright heart. I believe that Jesus Christ came to save me from death but even as I grow in faith, I find holes in my faith. And I think all of us are like this...we have faith but as we face hard times we are forced to face the unbelief in our hearts.
"The father instantly cried out, 'I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!'" Mark 9 :24 NIV
Make no doubt about it, hard times can be brought on by ourselves or satan himself but God uses them to help us grow. But it's up to us to accept the things He shows us and use them moving forward. It's up to us to take the insight He offers and accept it as a good gift. I know I wouldn't like to give someone a gift just to see them trash it or walk all over it. But many times that's what I do when He shows me something new, and I doubt it's just a problem that I face.

Nonetheless, this blog serves to be more of a reminder to myself than anything else. When I face hard times, there are somethings I need to remember. First, I must have faith no matter how hard it gets. Next, I need to pray that He close the gaps in my faith. I must also treasure the insight He offers like a good gift--because it is. I must use it over and over and never assume that it has an expiration date. Finally, I must be willing to change and the only way to do that is to stop driving in my own ruts. The deeper they get, the harder they are get out of.

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