I walk down the street,
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
(Read the rest of this poem here.) For this week we stop here.
There are holes in sidewalks everywhere, some large and deep and some small; some that you can step right over without skipping a beat and some that you can literally fall into; and some of these holes are so large that getting out would seem like an insurmountable task. But for some unexplainable reason your internal GPS always seems to guide you right to and into the deepest of deep holes. You fall in again and again and you are embarrassed, frustrated and lost.
Is this you?
You tell yourself over and over justifying your embarrassment, frustration and lostness… “It’s not my fault. There are holes everywhere.” You convince yourself that if there were better warning signs on the way avoiding these holes would be simple. If you weren’t so busy handling so many things you would have the time and clarity of the thinking it takes to avoid the holes–or at least that’s what you’ve convinced yourself. And of course, the holes are there in the first place because someone else didn’t do their job, right?
Is this you?
If you’re really being honest with yourself (here comes the brave moment) you might admit that the holes have a certain allure to them. There’s something about the hole that intrigues you. The other people in the hole are kind of like you. They tell you that being in the hole is the place to be. They tell you that people that are not in the hole just don’t understand.
And you like some of the things you find in the hole, especially those things that people above ground find unusual or even unhealthy.
Something most people don’t know about the hole is it is filled with excess: excess food, excess spending, excess grief, excess stress, excess worry, excess doubt, excess expectation and just about every other excess thing including that list of sins. The hole is filled with what you actually know is not good for you–but you still find yourself in the hole. And making bad excuses as to why.
The hole is dark and for a short time these addictions and excesses are actually hidden. You feel like being in the hole is where you belong. Maybe even that this is where your value is. The excesses become your excused reality.
After a while in the hole (usually from the wise gift of time and the prayer of others) you gain your perspective about truth again. You realize that the stuff in the hole is a mirage. That there’s nothing good about what you have found in the hole. You realize how much you have broken the hearts of those who truly love you in truth. You realize your life is a joke and you are far from your God-given potential. Then you feel that embarrassment and frustration again—and shame, especially when you realize there were warning signs along the way. There were good people telling you about the dangers of the hole and some even told you where the hole was because they’ve fallen in it a few times themselves.
In this moment you also realize the holes are what they are. There’s no one to blame for them. They just are…pitifully so. They are everywhere. The little ones pose no threat to you and the big ones are really easy to see and avoid. You just have to remember they are there. You have to stop lying to yourself.
Do you realize that these holes keep you from your God-given potential? That these holes break the hearts of those who believe in you?
“Often people do not see options available to them other than the patterns they have always lived out.”
― Henry Cloud, It’s Not My Fault: The No-Excuse Plan for Overcoming Life’s Obstacles
You do have options. You have the truth of the Word of God at your disposal. Yes, I know you know this already because you have felt the pestering Holy Spirit reminding you of this truth every time you are in the hole. You have people in your life who are willing to tell you the truth—and do everything they can to lead you into a life of truth. Ask these people to help you. They want to. They’ve been praying for this opportunity for a very long time. They truly love you in truth. You can also stop lying to yourself. You can stop saying over and over again:
Everything is fine.
Everything is going to work out.
I’ll get through this.
I can handle this.
It’s all going to be all right.
When you are in the hole, things are not going to work out. Things are not going to be all right. You are far from your God-given potential. You are breaking the hearts of people who love you in truth. You are not all right.
This is where your bravery comes in. To stop these patterns is going to take hard work from you. It’s brave decision upon brave decision upon brave decision. Will you do it? Will you do it this time?
(Photo credit: https://pastorgreene.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/autobiography-in-five-short-chapters/)