Friday, June 12, 2015

Jumping Ditches

I was driving somewhere today and thinking a bit about life, and the paths we choose. Now when you are driving there is generally a road (and there was) and ditches on either side (there was). It is early June, and everything is green and lush. The sun was gloriously streaming around dark grey storm clouds and it was a simply beautiful time to be alive and contemplating the world. 

(I took this picture on the way home)

Ditches have been used to illustrate similar concepts, such as not wanting to be a strict, controlling parent and so becoming a permissive, syrupy one. Or having a bad experience with schools and vowing to homeschool all of your kids and their kids. Or not wanting to be a church-going hypocrite, and so doing the exact opposite of everything a Christian would approve of for the rest of your life. 

But who are you, really, inside? What road would you be on if you were honest with yourself? If you took the time to think  things through, not just giving two thumbs up everytime someone posts about What a Great Ditch This Is?

You see, I believe it's possible to be real and find the road that is in between. Because ditches aren't great for driving. It's hard to get very far very fast, and there's a lot of garbage in there. If you want to move forward, if you want to have some hope about your destination, get out of the ditch. Stop reacting to what you don't like, and just be who you are. 

We become reactive out of anger. Someone hurt us who was a certain type of person, and we vow we will never, ever be like that. So we become a negative of that picture. It feels right, for awhile, because it's different. But we need to stop letting the bad experiences of our lives define us so much. I totally get it, "easier said than done". You may say, "I'm not choosing anything. I'm simply trying to survive here. That's it."
I understand survival mode; I've been there. When you have better days, think about what it might take to crawl out of the ditch. Before you get too lost in there.
I bet you can do it.

I'm personally on a journey of trying to figure this out. It's not going all that well so far, to be frank, but at least I'm in the thinking stage; I've engaged a part of my brain even though the rest of me is floundering. It's difficult, because when you start to change people might not like it. They might not recognize you, and try to put you back in the place that makes sense to them. 
So you have to keep the goal in front of your eyes. 

I could jump out of the people-pleasing ditch and right into the "I can't stand anyone" ditch. But then that would be sad and lonely, and not who I am either. 

I remember learning to drive and over-correcting my steering all the time, going slowly, trying to keep the wheels following the road. Eventually my hands stayed relatively steady in the middle, after a long time of too far right and then left. You can't drive fast until you figure out that you will drive toward what you are looking at. So I learned to keep my head up and eyes forward, and driving stopped being a nightmare and became fun. 

If you find yourself, like me, reacting to life by jumping into ditches, take a minute and think. Is this who you are and where you want to go? There could be an interesting bend in the road ahead. I truly hope you find what you're looking for. 

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