In his book, Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud shows why some people stay stuck. Consider these three reasons people get bogged down:
A high threshold of pain.
It’s not always a virtue to persevere. Some people have a high tolerance for pain, able to put up with what should not be. They say, “It is what it is.” Pride of rolling with the punches can keep a person from admitting their fear to confront brokenness around them.
Loyalty to the past.
When Tiger Woods seemed to be hitting his stride early in his career he did something unexpected: he changed his swing. Sometimes people fail to make important adjustments telling themselves, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The pace of life contributes to a mindset of doing what seems to be working well enough. But if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Someone said, “I’m not afraid you will fail. I’m concerned you will succeed at the wrong thing.” Doing things the way they have always been done can help us get better at doing things right, sometimes at the cost of doing the right thing. The ability to examine and to change requires us to confront our motives of comfort and convenience.
Assumptions form part of your mental map. They guide decisions and conclusions as points of reference about what is real or true. Too often we fail to shine light upon assumptions themselves, always allowing them to shine light on something else. For example, many people confuse being good with being nice. They assume that if someone in their life won’t stay in their lane, the right response always means being nice. Sometimes the kinder thing is not to be nice, as one quirky fable by Thomas Friedman illustrates.
Friedman wrote about a married couple stuck in a cycle of frustration. The husband was hyper sensitive about everything–in fact his nerve endings protruded from his skin. He’d often warn people not to get too close or to step out of his way because of his “special condition.” One day as he approached a doorway, his wife, fed up with the whole thing, refused to budge. He warned her repeatedly as he drew nearer until they ended up in a kind of cartoonish wrestling match. Exhausted, they both lost consciousness. When they awoke, his nerve endings were no long hanging out all over the place.
The pain we experience in a broken world may be a sign that something in us must change. How often do we abide seasons of suffering as though having no other option but to push ahead within the circumstance? Fear of the unknown can keep a person from a necessary ending.
“…the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as His child” (Hebrews 12:6).
What positive change have you made which would not have been possible without feeling hopeless about the status quo?
Mike McCleery says
Nice blog … the challenge for me has been knowing when the Spirit of the Lord is prompting me to change … and not my desire to be comfortable or conform to the world. God’s discipline builds us up and brings us closer to Him …. Love you brother … Mike