The great (rut) escape

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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One of my influencers quips that when asked what he thinks about a subject he says, “I don’t know; I haven’t blogged about it yet.” His point is that he processes his thoughts on a subject through writing about it.

I can relate. I tend to write like I cook; it’s an unfolding process that does not have a recipe set in stone or a detailed menu planned out in advance. I add ingredients and side dishes as I think of them, and I hope it tastes good when I serve it up.

Last week, in a moment inspired by a conversation the day before, I tweeted, “Are you really happy with the status quo or are you just too afraid to risk change? #worththerisk.”

It was just a quick idea sent out to cause my social media connections to think. Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning, “the current state.” I like a paraphrase I once heard: “the mess we are currently in.”

As I was pondering that phrase this morning, I came up with a new paraphrase: “the rut in which we are currently stuck.”

You know the definition of a rut, right? A rut is a grave with both ends open. The bad news is that it’s a grave, a place where ideas and energy go to die, where the predictability of the known is preferred over the fear of the unknown, where settling is valued above exploring, where completing tasks efficiently is valued above being powerfully effective in everything we do.

The good news is that the ends are open. There is a way of escape – in fact, there are two ways of escape.

The first is to put it in reverse and back out. Really think and pray about what you are currently doing, how you are doing it and what you need to stop doing so you don’t drive right back into the same rut again.

I recently read that sometimes what we are unlearning in a situation is more important than what we are learning. I agree. Sometimes we can’t learn anything until we unlearn some habits that are holding us back.

The second way of escape is to put it in gear and go forward. Risk asking God to give you a vision of what it would be like to do something you’ve never done before and trust Him to guide you toward that vision.

I’m not talking about irresponsibly “flooring it” in some kind of “leap of faith.” I’m talking about trusting that your life matters so much to God that He wants you to join Him in the status adventum (“state of adventure”) of following Christ.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.

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