“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost……..I am helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It is a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my own fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson

This poem was presented to us in the Challenge today. I had read it before but had forgotten how powerful it was. I prayed for God to help me see myself in Portia Nelson’s words.
I love this poem. Read the poem carefully. Read it as it was written, five different chapters of your life. It is the story of your life, it is the story of my life.

In life chapter 1 we are wandering, lost, alone and helpless. There is a hole we have fallen into through no particular fault of our own. It may be a death, a job loss, a betrayal, any one of a number of unexpected pitfalls that life throws our way. We fall into the hole and there is nothing we can do about it. Our particular hole represents anger, anxiety, worry, grief, etc. It is the darkest hole you have ever experienced, you see no way out and you are there through no fault of your own. This sucks.

You climb out the same way, on your own, with your own sweat and tears. It takes you forever. You are cussing yourself and hitting yourself with negative, critical and judgmental thoughts right and left. You are thinking to yourself how stupid you are and therefore you are right where you deserve to be.

You quickly learn that doing the climbing on your own is hard work and affords little upward motion. Day after day you toil but you stay in the hole much longer than you anticipated. It occurs to you (barely) that God may be able to help you climb a little faster but the job of climbing out takes precedence over anything else and soon the thought of God evaporates in your sweat.
In life chapter 2 you find yourself on the same street with the same hole. You are fully aware the hole is there yet you walk straight towards it. Before long you drop right back into where you were not so long ago. The hole is still deep, dark and scary, it hasn’t changed a bit it is exactly the way you left it. It is becoming familiar.
You are living the same story you always have, you are expecting different results but because your pattern is the same, the results are the same. You fall in the hole yet again. You are thinking to yourself if the other people in your life would grow up and learn to act right your life would go a whole lot better. So now you draw up a plan to fix those around you. It could be that you even enlist God’s help. If God can’t fix your husband, your family, your boss, your friends, (you know, those people who make you fall into the hole) then who can. When God fixes all those people, you can avoid the hole. It really is as simple as that. You are convinced that someone else pushed you over the edge to the hole.

Life chapter 3 finds you on the same familiar street and the deep, scary hole is still where it has always been. It is almost a weird sort of comfort to see it because you count on it to always be where you left it. Yet once again, even though you know the hole intimately, you know if you take the next step you will tumble downward, you do it anyway.

You know you did it and you know you are totally responsible but because of your past experience with your hole, you climb out immediately. Having fallen into this same hole so many times you are awakening to the source of the problem. Maybe it’s time to find a different route, after all it is your fault you are there. Repeating the same mistakes over and over will have the same results over and over. Having come to this conclusion you can begin to change. God is reminding you that He is there to help you with your “hole” problem. There is a nagging in the back of your mind that if you seek Him before you begin your trip down the street with the hole, maybe He will come up with a different answer to the same problem that has always plagued you? As you are jumping (literally) out of the hole this time, you are coming up with a goal to include Him in your “hole” plan. You come to the realization that every trip into the hole has increased your need to ask for God’s help. Yes it was in slow increments because you have always been a slow learner. However, every time you asked Him, He helped you. When you asked Him for little He helped a little. What would happen if you asked Him for a complete solution to this nagging “hole” problem? After emerging from the brief stint in the hole, you head home to open that Bible that is……….somewhere in your house.

Life chapter 4 Is walking down the same street, coming upon the same hole but avoiding the hole. It is a whole new exhilarating experience. You saw it coming, knew what to anticipate from past experiences and you simply walked around it. A talk with God has given you a change of course which gives you a whole new set of possibilities. There really is something to this God thing. He is here to help you dig out of the hole, you are now beginning to have experience of that. But the amazing thing you are learning, is He is here to help you not only climb out of the hole, but to conquer the hole. God has shown you alternate routes and He has given you the gift of the knowledge that you are free to take them.
Life chapter 5 is your new day. It is the day you finally change streets. Life chapter 5 is the marvelous renewing of your mind. It is the time you realize that there will be holes in the street but you now have the courage to walk a different path, around the hole. You know you can because you trust He will do as He promised and give you exactly what you need to take the detour.
Renewing of the mind is happening. When you mind is changed by God, your life changes and the hole no longer consumers you. So when someone asks you to help them climb out of their hole, say, here, let me show you what worked for me!

Dottie
…………and so I ride

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