Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
If you follow the history of the Olympic Games, you might remember Olympic swimmer John Naber. John Naber didn’t do very well at the 1972 Olympics and almost quit swimming.
But he did some serious soul-searching. He realised that if he was to stand any chance of winning a medal at the ‘76 Olympics he would have to lower his time by at least four seconds. Now, four seconds is an awful lot of time to shave, but John had four years to work on it.
He calculated that if he trained for 10 months a year, he’d have to lower his time 1/10 of a second for each month of training. So that became his game plan, and it worked, for in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, John Naber won a bronze medal—but it was hard work. He had to change his thinking. In some ways, he had got into a rut.
Sometimes, we give up on life. We almost hang out a sign Do not Disturb for all to see. Some even say, I guess my life is over. There’s no hope for me—I can’t change. Sometimes our friends can see better than we—that we’re stuck in a rut, preferring our comfort zone. Some of us are in a relationship rut, while others of us might be in a rut at work. Some of us might be in a rut in our marriage or maybe we are in a rut with our faith or health.
God Has Something New for You
I guess it’s part of being human. But some people have the knack of getting out of those ruts when they come, while others seemingly get stuck in them for months or even years. It’s quite a serious topic this one: what do you want to do? Some of us play it safe all our life not preparing to take any risks. Successful people are those who press ahead. Someone once said, “Even if you are on the right track you’re going to get run over if you just sit still”.
Sometimes we have to stop and evaluate. The New Testament story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 shows a young man who made some silly decisions because he was stuck in a rut. Living at home with his father, apparently unhappy, he wanted some action—but not the right kind. He came to deeply regret his actions and finally made amends with his father. He was in deep trouble—all alone, no money, no food. He had hit rock bottom.
Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways”. What is your motivation in life? God has something new for you to do if you’re willing to act on it. It may take time, but he has promised to show you step-by-step.
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How Can I Break Out Of a Rut?
1. Assume responsibility for my own life
This is the first step—assuming responsibility for our own lives. There are three kinds of people in this category:
Accusers blame everybody else. Their favourite phrase is, It’s all your fault. And they love to pass the buck. Now we have been doing this for a long time. From the very beginning of creation, we have had accusers—people who want to blame everybody else for their own failure. Adam blamed his wife; Eve blamed Satan. It’s not my fault. It’s all your fault. Those are the accusers.
Then there are the excusers. And they have an excuse for everything.—why they can justify their failure: It’s all my parents fault—that’s why I have developed all these resentments and therefore, I’m a failure at life.
Choosers are the third kind. They accept responsibility and when they make a mistake they admit it. They are the people affirmed in Proverbs 28:13 (TLB):
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. [They are the accusers and the excusers] But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.
That’s the chooser. He/she chooses to admit, confess and move ahead.
(To be continued in Are You Stuck In a Rut? – Part 2)