Monday, October 10, 2011

Stinkin' Thinkin'

(* this post has been in-progress since 9/27! I've been processing, and needed the space to let it breath and not rip on my family, who did nothing wrong...)

I was dry. Not sure how else to describe it. Something was wrong and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Micheal noticed it, too, but since I couldn't really see it, I could tell him what was wrong.

I finally had an epiphany; I was walkin' in that stinkin' thinkin' and didn't even realize it.

Here's how it went:

My gram had a scheduled surgery and was unable to recover. She died. And we did all the family things, and it actually went as well as these things can go. And in this whole process, I went to a place I rarely go and saw people I rarely see, but who knew me as a child and knew my mom when she was alive so there were many, "You look like her," "I still miss her," and other visual memories. And of course the whole thing was hard and emotional.

And then we all went home, our house guest left and life returned to normal. Except it wasn't. Having lost both parents now, I'm familiar with grieving.  And this was different. Obviously, grief was involved, but this was something wrong - everything was wrong.

And then someone prayed for me, and I could suddenly see it: like a silly band that snaps back to it's original shape when you release it, I was suddenly living as a person who hadn't received my identity from Jesus. I know better than that. But I did it anyway. Just being in the place where my old feelings and habits were formed was enough to send me back. And I couldn't even recognize it. I was stinkin' thinkin', and it felt almost normal.

In his book, 12 Steps with Jesus, Don Williams likens this to there being well-worn paths in everyones brain (my paraphrase). Some people follow a well-worn path and drink too much alcohol when they are reacting to life, or eat too much, or don't eat anything at all, or sleep too much, or whatever their chosen 'medication' is, and if we want freedom from these things, we need to forge new paths to healthier things - ultimately Jesus. I had habitually taken the well-worn path that I grew up cultivating, and it was so familiar that I couldn't even see that I had taken a wrong turn.

Last week I heard a dear friend counseling her daughter on how we all have some 'hookedness,'
 that we are all 'hookable' and one of our primary tasks is to recognize when we are hooked, and respond appropriately. Sometimes it's by avoiding situations that you know will hook you. Sometimes you can't do that and you need to go into them, armed with the knowledge that you have a choice in your response, and knowing ahead of time what you will do is helpful! I had been hooked.

The idea of getting hooked on things makes me think of me, and you, wearing the finest cashmere, carefully dyed and knit into a masterpiece - the perfect sweater in color, style, gauge and size. And then we walk around everyday, dodging obstacles made out of Velcro, just getting hooked left and right.

Combining analogies never works well, but let me give this a try:
What if I let God say which path to take, let Him guide me through and around these Velcro obstacles? What if, instead of my old, unhealthy habits and self-protecting reflexes, I trusted Him to lead me? What would that look like?
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5
 What are your well-worn paths? What hooks you? 

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