Ahwatukee Campus Pastor – Corey Bullock
Have you ever found yourself in a rut? It’s that place on life’s journey that is typically created during the stormy times. A rut can often begin simply as a familiar path but can easily become rough and bumpy and often deep due to the regular tread. It can go from a well-worn path to a detriment to the traverser in a hurry. The irony of a rut is that once it has been carved the weather need not be inclement in order to trap the passerby.
Recently, I have found myself in a rut. My rut is riddled with marital discord and marked with pride and petty fights. The walls of this trench are laced with depression and bitterness. I find it difficult to pray when I’m in this rut. I lack the ability to find fault in myself and therefore have a hard time with forgiveness. I get impatient and unwilling. My typically positive outlook gives way to negativity and a self-serving bias. Little things that carry no real significance become the catalyst for all-out war. I become more prone to temptation and I make my entire family vulnerable to the attacks of the devil. I hate this rut!
As a person that has recently been riding mountain bikes [note that I did not classify myself as a mountain biker], I have been exposed to the reality of ruts on the trail. The very best thing to do is to keep your eyes ahead and try to avoid them. However, it is not always possible and sometimes you find yourself in a rut. At this point there are really only two options if you want to get out of the rut you are in.
Option 1 – Push through and look for the first opportunity to exit. Sometimes you have enough momentum built up and enough steam in the old’ engine to buckle down and persevere. You must recognize that you are in fact in a rut and realize that to stay in it is to only follow that familiar path and contribute to its dept. So, as you persevere you need to keep your eyes out for the first opportunity to pull your front wheel out of the hole and drive your legs so that the rest of you will follow.
In real life this looks a lot like Philippians 4:6-9. Your mind is a lot like the front wheel of a bike. Wherever it is pointed is where you are going. If, however, you are able to allow your mind to rise above the rut of the current situation and set it on the things that are noble and good and right and pure, then the rest of you will follow. Even your heart and your feelings that are stuck in the rut will follow your mind when you set it on Christ.
Option 2 – Dismount and reset your course. You don’t always have the strength or perspective to be able to simply push through the ruts in life. Sometimes the elements are against you and getting stuck in the rut is inevitable if you keep going down that path. In cases like this it is necessary to put the brakes on, stop your bike, dismount, lift your riding apparatus out of the rut and start fresh on solid ground. This is often an embarrassing or at least humbling experience as other riders are passing you by on their bikes while you walk yours past the trench.
In real life, however, you know that the feeling of embarrassment far outweighs the results of being in that rut again. You would much rather feel a little sheepish than endure the pain and harm that is caused in that rut. This often times looks like ceasing to deal with the troubles you are dealing with alone and seeking help outside of your situation. It could be reaching out to a friend, or a pastor. It could be bringing your issues to your life group or a professional counselor. A heavy dose of humility will save you a path full of pain.
What’s your rut? Are you in a rut today? Persevere or dismount, but whatever you do, don’t be content with staying in it. I will be sharing some other insights from the mountain bike trail this Sunday at that the Ahwatukee Campus if you would like to come and hear.