Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized
We all make decisions; some wise, some not. Each new decision we make cuts a path through the unknown. As we continue to choose similar choices the path to repeated decisions becomes easier. A difficult fresh-cut path now becomes a leisurely stroll through familiar territory.
Eventually once we continue walking the same path over and over and it becomes well-worn path, a road and eventually a four-lane highway with speedy travel to the same destination.
All that sounds fine, unless our path is destructive.
Yesterday I met with our friend Bianca for a cup of coffee. As we talked Bianca explained her journey in recovery. As Bianca talked she illustrated it on a nearby chalkboard. I love what she taught me, and last night she taught it to our friends at TreeHouse.
Pain in her life led her to a “fork in the road.”
Bianca’s journey into self-harm began small. Each new scratch created a painful path through the unknown as she sought solutions to other pain. As she continue to choose similar choices the path to repeated decisions became easier. Scratches became small cuts.
What began scary had now become a leisurely stroll through familiar territory.
Eventually the small cuts became bigger, deeper cuts. The occasional cuts became regular cuts. The shallow cuts became deeper cuts. As she continued, self-destructive decisions became routine, and a new normal.
Walking the same path over and over it had become well-worn path, a road, and eventually a four-lane highway with speedy travel to the same self-destructive destination.
Bianca explained, “We can never unlearn something, we can only train our brain to learn new information.” Fortunately, with self-discipline, “We can train our brain to use the new information eventually replacing our use of the old information with the new.“
Though it’s easy to do the same things over and over again, events in life can challenge our intentions. A parent might confront her child. A friend might challenge his friend. A spouse might risk a fight for the reward of awareness. Those, and similar, events can bring renewed awareness that the highway is the path we’ve taken, but it doesn’t have to be the one we travel. We have choices to make; new decisions can be made.
At our “Y” we can follow the old familiar road or dare to do the hard work of cutting a new path. If we choose the same old path Bianca explained we can expect the same old results (or worse). “To do the same things over and over again and expect different results would be insanity,” she explained. On the other hand, recovery requires the disciplined determination to choose to create a new path though the old, familiar, self-destructive path is still available.
As Bianca is experiencing, it’s hard and it hurts, but with wise counsel, caring support, self-discipline, accountability and new goals, recovery is possible.
Too tired? Seem too hard? The series Loving “Cutters” & Other Self-Injurers has offered many, many people support. Maybe it will help you or someone you care about too.
Too tired? Life too hard? I understand. Fortunately, Jesus Christ offered a fresh path for wounded, worn-out people, “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” 1
Jesus offered it then and God is still offering a new path and strength for the journey today. More than twenty-five years have passed and I’ve never regretted choosing to accept the help.
1 – Matthew 11:28-30, NCV