Life at its best: Getting out of a rut requires the right mind-set

Oct. 21, 2011 at 5:21 a.m.

By Jim Graff

Around this time of year, I'm reminded of many pleasant childhood memories of hunting with my dad and older brother. I can still feel those cold Pennsylvania mornings and the warm hot chocolate as I sat and waited for that perfect buck to come into view. However, there was one hunting excursion that wasn't quite so pleasant.

It was a rainy afternoon, and my brother and I were headed to hunt on my grandfather's farm not far from where we lived. My brother decided to park in the dirt near the woods instead of parking on the pavement and having to walk half a mile. I didn't think it was such a good idea because of the rain, but since he was 18 and I was only 13, I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Well, you can probably guess what happened. We got stuck in the mud and spent the whole afternoon trying to push the car out of a deep rut. Then, once we were out, we had to take the car home and make sure it was clean enough to pass Dad's inspection. Needless to say, it was not a very enjoyable experience.

The truth is, ruts are never enjoyable experiences. In fact, they are pretty frustrating for all of us. Why do we get into those ruts in life? Sometimes, it's because we feel like a powerless victim. That's how I felt that day as I watched my older, "wiser" brother drive us both into a mess.

Then, sometimes it's because we become a passive observer instead of an active participant to change. As much as I wanted to tell my brother that I thought what he was doing was risky, I didn't. After all, why would he listen to my advice?

It takes the right mind-set to get out of the ruts we find ourselves in. Proverbs 23:7 says, "As we think in our heart, so it becomes." So how should we think to get beyond the where we are? First, we have to realize that God has a sovereign will for each one of us. He has something he wants accomplished on earth through our circumstances and through our lives. We find that sovereign will through His Word and through fellowship with Him.

God also has a moral will, one that will require our obedience to see the outcomes that we desire. We can see this in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis. God accepted Abel's sacrifice but got angry with Cain over his sacrifice.

Why? Because God required an animal sacrifice and Cain brought vegetables.

Cain brought what he desired instead of what God required. It's when we start doing what God requires that we find his blessing and help in life. Lastly, God's will is personal. Nobody else can do it for us; it takes us personally choosing God's path. So let's do what it takes to get beyond the ruts and into the rewards God has in store!

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.



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