Before the truth sets you free it tends to make you miserable. ~ (Richard Rohr)
It’s that unpleasant truth about the truth that makes us prefer almost anything else, even if it’s only a repeat of something familiar we’ve gone back to we know still won’t work, and for that reason is not our friend.
You’ve watched domestic rodents exercising on a wire wheel. Plenty of feverish activity, little legs pumping, breathing hard – and getting nowhere. You’ve likely made the appropriate observation: That’s nuts. I mean, the hamster doesn’t know it doesn’t count. But I know it’s an endless loop, an activity that does nothing but wear the runner out.
So you walk away, and find yourself within a few minutes climbing into your own wire wheel. It’s as if you never saw the hamster, never made the connection.
“What are you doin’? What is that mess?”
“Hmph? Oh, this. Well… And here you duck your head and hunch your shoulders a little … “Those are, ah, the ruins of the old strongholds that once were my prison. They’re, they’re no big deal anymore. I just, I dunno, come back and check ’em out every so often–y’know, just to remind me of where I used to be. Yeah.”
With respect, it sounds like your Legos have gotten pulled apart and you’re fixin’ to step on one.
Seriously? You’re sitting here, right in the middle of a smelly, oily, old, fragmented mess – the remains of everything from which God’s set you free – fingering the shards and broken pieces as if wondering if you could somehow rebuild those walls once holding you hostage?
Instead of realizing the numbing, spirit-deadening effects of your occasionally going back to visit your “exercise wheel”, you’d rather climb into it now and then? Have a little fling with where you once were? A quick chomp on those old lures that never did anything but hurt you?
It may hurt. Deaden. Numb. It may temporarily bring what you’ve convinced yourself is happiness. Anything but facing up to the truth that really does offer freedom and new growth.
Suggestion: stop reaching back for synthetic happiness, and begin reaching outward and upward for the real joy that derives from moving on, taking new forward steps toward where you want to be – and where God’s leading you.
Psalm 16:11 says it: “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.” And there it is. The truth that’ll set you free.
Keep going back to what’s familiar from your old ways, and God won’t be there with you. Being the always “I AM”, He’s forever in the today, right here, right now. So if you want to trade that old, very temporary, less and less fulfilling sorta happiness for God’s present, lasting joy, you need to stay right here in the present moment with Him.
Oh, and there’s one more thing in that verse. See “fullness”? Ask yourself what that might mean. God doesn’t do things halfway.
So. If you catch yourself scrunching up your brow, thinking, ” ‘Ay! Haven’t I already passed that a time or two?”, you’re on the bypass.
It’s time to take the next exit. It’s time to get free of that old exercise wheel, and stop going back to that old place, no matter how ‘safe’ and familiar it seems. It’s not what it was.
Neither are you.
Trade the ‘happy’ for some joy. I think you’ll like the returns.
© Copyright D. Dean Boone, August 2019