Stuck

truck hay barn vignette

 

There is something comforting about the past. Even when we know it is dysfunctional, and carries useless clutter, it’s familiar. My thinking is like that sometimes. I know my old default way of thinking was filled with negativity and got me into all manner of trouble before, but when I’m not careful about being intentional I slip back behind the wheel and try to take the jalopie for one more spin. The seat is old and worn, but it conforms to the shape of my bum. I settle in -and then wonder why I am making no progress.

I hear the voice of my Lord asking, “And how’s that working for you?”
“I can’t seem to get it in gear… Can you give me a hand?”
“Nope.”
“Why not?”
“I have something better in mind.”
“But that means giving up ol’ Bessie.”
“It does.”
“But I’ve had this way of thinking for a long time. It served me in the past and got me through a lot of stuff.”
“And how’s it working for you now?”
“I’m kind of stuck.”
“I have something better in mind.”
“What’s that?”
“My vehicle, not yours. My thoughts, not yours.”
“Let me think about it……Well, this isn’t working. That’s for sure. By now I should be much farther ahead….”

“OK. Show me your ways Lord.”

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,  throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. (Ephesians 4:21-23)

 

Edited to add:

So I just read something that said tonight is the first night of Passover and it included this verse:

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1Cor. 5:6-8)

Suddenly I started wondering what the expiry date is on my jar of baking yeast in the fridge. (Sometimes the literal/metaphorical line in my brain is not all that well-defined.) I checked. It’s this month. I chucked it. It’s probably time to toss some old thinking as well.

Ok, not “probably time.” It is time. I hear You, Lord.

4 thoughts on “Stuck

  1. My husband & I are reading a book called, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Although it is probably written for the “business world” people, we have found some very interesting insights into why we do what we do, or don’t do what we want to do… I am still not far enough in the book to say too much other than — we must take into account what/how we have “trained” our brains to take over when we are too tired or discouraged to think/act how we want/should. I didn’t do a great job of explaining, but suffice it to say, the book is helping us establish new patterns and “habits” in order to follow through on some decisions & commitments made.

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    1. Interesting! Yes, new patterns help. Positive words help. Declarations of truth help.

      I heard a lecture recently (forgive me for not taking time to go find the name of the speaker, but I believe she was a neuroscientist) who said that any choice based solely on willpower fails when a greater stressful matter requires the conscious brain energy of willpower to be redirected, because willpower is actually in limited supply. Establishing new habits and new beliefs is part of it. One night in a dream I heard, “You can’t just keep apologizing. This requires a change of heart.”

      There is the intentional (willpower) part involved in change (aka repentance –metanoia) but there has to be a deeper work as well and I think that is the element that goes beyond cognitive and behaviour therapy-type theories. Going deeper makes room for God to change our hearts and to heal them of pain that sends us in search of unhealthy forms of relief. I think it’s the kind of investment that is like the boy who gave his entire lunch to Jesus and then watched Jesus multiply it to feed thousands. How much did the miracle require of the boy? Everything he had, yet without the hand of God it would not have gone far. I wonder if, even with every scrap of willpower we are willing to dredge up, we need to recognize that true new heart-shaped change is still in the hands of the Master.

      In other words I can choose to act in a loving way, and even practise responses consistent with love, but until my heart is transformed into the image of Christ’s perfectly loving heart and my choices come from true agape love I will still rip people’s heads off when I feel tired, discouraged or guilty (because my jeans are too tight) or I’m feeling like I need to re-direct my energies toward self-preservation. Does that make any sense? (cuz I’m kind of thinking out loud here)

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      1. Absolutely! After 30 yrs of ministering/counseling/working with people in various age groups, backgrounds, education, and so forth… I am convinced more than ever that it is the power of the risen Christ in the heart & mind that brings true and lasting transformation.

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