Changing the Story.

sidewalk.JPG
An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
~by Portia Nelson

1: 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.

2: 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 this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

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

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

5: I walk down another street.

Who cannot identify with this poignant tale of frailty and transformation? How many times have we replayed this drama?

Just yesterday I regressed from Act 4 to Act 3 in one particular area of my story, returning again to old habits, broken though they are. "More business is a good thing, right?" Kellie queried. "Of course," I replied...but my false self gets anxious and skittish when I can't respond immediately to every client, subconsciously pushing new business away so that I can feel more competent and in control of a smaller world.

"You know," Kellie continued, "If you just let clients know it's going to take a week or two to fit them in, it actually communicates something positive--like, you're in demand." Wow, now that's a new way of thinking! That sounds like walking down the street and avoiding the hole.

When we step outside of ourselves, tap into the "inner observer," and make an honest appraisal of our habits of thinking and acting, then we can choose. Then we get to walk around the hole or even (gasp) choose another street entirely.

People of faith have some great words for this--repentance, abiding, sanctification, transformation. Whatever you call it, pay attention to this dynamic today. Be courageous to name which "Act" you're playing out...and decide if you'd like to move to the next one.

Sometimes it helps to have a trusted friend who will call us out, help us see the hole, and choose another path!

Posted on March 11, 2014 .