You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. Ephesians 4:22
Summer in Michigan is full of sunshine, days spent at the great lakes and… construction! With winter covering our roads with sleet, snow and ice it takes a good chunk of allotted time for street repair in our great state.
I work downtown and like most downtown parking, it’s expensive. Unless, you hike it. And that’s exactly what I do. I hike it to work – come rain, snow or shine. And of most recent, there is a big construction project right by my parking lot. As a result, each day, I find myself maneuvering different paths created for pedestrians as part of this project includes tearing up sidewalks. Every week or so they are working on a different area and so for a while it was winding my way across dirt and debris, then it was walking around – like way around, out of my way around – huge orange cones and tape.
But today… today the sidewalk was done. Today the path was straight and clear. And as I walked my clear, straight path I felt funny. I had gotten so accustomed to making my way through difficult obstacles that I literally was uncomfortable with something so… easy.
This is my story. Maybe it’s your story too.
My daughter, Bells, had a condition called FPIES. It’s a rare allergy specifically related to the gut. Exposure to certain foods caused really severe reactions and each day was filled with navigating the world of food, following certain precautions and trying to keep her growing and nourished. It was exhausting and there was a lot of fear. Some of the fear was necessary for protection. There was a lot to control in our day to keep her safe. And so one might easily see how I became both a terrified and controlling person.
But then she outgrew it. And I’m finding a much easier path. My day to day isn’t so hard. It isn’t so fearful. I did my best with what I had in that season, in that time. But I’ve noticed it’s also taken me a while to outgrow the fear. And I’m realizing that our days don’t have to be so controlled, I can actually let them be, let them happen.
And living in the easy, living in the clear straight path feels… awkward!
It’s taken me time to feel comfortable with the easy because I had gotten so accustomed to the hard, to the fear, to the control that I had no idea how to walk life without it. It had become a part of me.
I think this is a little part of what Jesus meant when he said cast off the old us.
It’s funny. How sometimes we get stuck in a pattern of behaviors, a way of thinking or a series of actions. We just get used to it. So used to it that we don’t even realize there’s an easier way.
Sometimes there is a season for it though. With FPIES, there was a season for being cautious and controlling.
Or sometimes it’s a quick easy go to that we’ve picked up. Like with Bella, there is a time to use a stern voice with her. But sometimes I realize that once I find that stern voice works as a form of control over her I go back to it and then back to it again…and again. Because it works. Because I’ve gotten used to it. And I forget that we have a creative God. That I don’t have one option – and only one option – in how I raise and parent my child.
He makes straight our paths, right?
Every day, every season we need to cast off that which no longer works; that which needs to die.
How about you? What worked that no longer should be working? What have you gotten so used to that you don’t see there is a clearer-easier path?
Let’s have a cast-it-off day together, ok?
You cast yours off.
I’ll cast off mine.
And together, we’ll walk that clear straight path together…
(even if it feels a little awkward at first!)