Rut Check!

rut checkI love classic lines from movies, but somehow I did not expect to hear one in the cotton candy of a movie New Years Eve. O me of little faith!

 “What would you do if you were guaranteed not to fail?  Go out and do that!”

Wait, without the guarantee not to fail?  Makes you think, doesn’t it?  And how about the quote attributed to author and former editor of the New York Post, Norman Cousins

“Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

But who has time to even look to see what is inside of us that could possibly be dying?  Life can be a slave master, mercilessly cracking the whip of bills to pay, mouths to feed, places to go, people to see.  We exhaust ourselves preparing to go on vacation, tire ourselves out with activities while on vacation, wear ourselves out getting back from vacation and go back to our jobs almost as exhausted as we were before we left.  On and on the cycle goes until we have worn out quite a rut to be stuck in, and it keeps getting deeper and deeper.  No wonder The Purpose-filled Life, was such a best seller!

So, what if you were given only x amount of time to spend here on planet earth, (which you have been), and, what if you could choose to invest that time in things that have both present and eternal value (which you can), then how much of that time x, would you choose to spend stuck in a rut, going around and around and deeper and deeper?

You are not in a rut just because you have had the same routine for twenty, thirty years or more.  If you are where God wants you to be, using the gifts He has given to you in your own unique way, and fulfilling His purpose for you, then it doesn’t matter if you do the same things every day till you die; you are not in a rut.  Instead, you are among the blessed and fortunate few, who have found their place in the world, and are making the world a better place, just because you are here, being yourself, and doing what you were meant to do.

If however, you have allowed circumstances that you know in your heart were meant to be temporary, and made them into something permanent, because of fear of the unknown, or pride of accomplishment; if you know deep down in your gut that God has long since told you to move on but you would not, then you, my friend may be in a nasty old rut.  But don’t feel bad.  Ruts are ninja sneaky!  One minute you are just doing everything you believe you have to do just to survive, keeping yourself busy, busy, busy, then the next time you look, you are stuck in a rut so deep and dark, you cannot even see the tunnel, much less a light at the end of it.

With the x amount of time you have left you can choose to stay there, in the rut, or you can choose to call on God to rescue you,

“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”  Psalm 40:2-3

Then you can be free to invest the rest of your time, doing whatever it is that only you were uniquely purposed to do here on planet earth. The thing you know you are gifted to do; that thing hidden in your heart that your dreams are made of, that you could work hard at for hours till you are exhausted yet exhilarated because it doesn’t feel like work; that productive thing that blesses others, satisfies your own soul like nothing else, and makes you feel God smile.  Yes, that thing.

There are numerous stories in the Old Testament of the Bible about David: the shepherd, turned songwriter, turned bear and lion killer, turned giant-killer, turned warrior, turned king, turned ‘man after God’s own heart’; enough to make some pretty spectacular movies.  But it is in the New Testament, in only a half of a verse, that I believe the most profound statement is made about his entire life,

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died…”  Psalm 13:36

 When David’s x amount of time ran out, he died, but the one thing that truly mattered was that he had served the purpose of God in his own generation.

So, here’s the thing, you owe it to yourself to make the time, and have the courage to do an honest ‘rut check’. If you come to the end of an average day, and know that life may be hard, you may not have gotten everything exactly right, and you are not done becoming all you were meant to be, but you know for sure you are on the right road, living and doing what was purposed for you, then that is great news!  ‘Rut check’ passed successfully.

However, if you come to end of an average day, just dreading the next, and most of the days after that, then, my friend, your ‘rut check’ light may be on and you need to pay attention.  Has someone or something challenged the status quo of your life and made you catch a glimpse of a new direction?  Did the possibilities thrill you and scare you at the same time, while deep in your heart, your “knower” is jumping up and down shouting, “That’s your new road, take it, take it!”?

You can ignore that voice, try to drown it out with busyness, or give it a sleeping pill, but like the Schwarzenegger character promises, it will be back.  Instead, have some serious conversations with God about it.  Talk to the people you trust who want only God’s best for you. Make a plan for the new direction, and before your x amount of time runs out, take that leap of faith and… just live the thing.

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