“The first step in overcoming a problem is admitting that you have one…”
One of my objectives in writing this blog has always been transparency. I believe that people appreciate it and I can’t tell you how many times people have responded with a word of approval for the blunt honesty that they’ve seen. It is sometimes a bit scary…it is sometimes a bit unnerving…and right before I hit that “publish” button…I think and pray. I concern myself with how it’s going to be received and the overall tone…but then, eventually, I hit “publish,” and then I pay attention to how it goes. The reason I get nervous is that I often speak about my personal weaknesses and battles…about my failures and my intentional struggles. As I stated at the beginning…the first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.
But I’ve now recognized a new problem…or maybe a nuance to my problems…or however you want to think about it. I agree that the first step is admitting or acknowledging the problem…but if that step isn’t taken with the intention of change…or better yet…the desire for change…then it’s just an admission of guilt for the sake of clearing one’s conscience…even if only for a short time.
Many of the things I’ve written about over the last few years have been areas in which I’ve grown and changed. I’m grateful for that. But there are others that…well…I want to admit to in order to own it as a problem and look like the noble and honest man…but ultimately…I am not actively trying to change. I’ve written in the past couple of weeks about my chameleon faith and the reality that I change my colors for the sake of acceptance or even just my own rebellious desires. Someone spoke to me about that article not long after I published it and was really encouraged by the honesty. It made me feel great to know that someone connected with it. It felt good to know that someone struggling the same way didn’t feel totally alone in their battles…that they knew we are no different.
But…we move on to a new realization. I looked back over the nearly 100 articles I’ve written…some of which have never been published…and I saw some common threads. Pride, arrogance, self-centerenedness, egotism…just to name a few. As I noticed the recurring theme…I began to wonder…am I actually trying to change? Am I actually wanting to be different?
I thought about that question for a long time…and I came to the honest response. NO. I don’t want to let go of certain things in my life. I simply don’t want to feel guilty about them anymore…and I want the approval of others when they read what I write and then they think me a humble man for admitting these things publicly.
I have a habit of never getting past the first step. I will admit my problem most of the time. I have rough edges and no one is surprised that I have any of the problems to which I admit. But…more often than not…I think that I’ve arrived at the end of the journey once I’ve done that. There are many more steps to changing. Yes…we must first face the problem. But that’s just the realization that we need to put in place a strategy for change…and if we are serious about changing…well…then we will do that. A marathon runner doesn’t just say that they want to run one…but they spend the money to sign up, get on a training schedule, get to work, and then show up on race day ready to run. Those that don’t sign up, work out, and show up aren’t marathon runners…they are just people that talk about it…people that don’t really have the intention to do anything but talk…and maybe they only do that to placate the sense of need in their lives for a change.
My problem has a problem…and that problem is that even though I’ve recognized a need for change…I don’t seem to want to change. If I did…I would. It’s that simple.
So perhaps the second step in overcoming a problem should be that after we’ve seen that we have one…we must decide whether nor not we care enough to begin a difficult process that brings about necessary change.
This came to my mind the other day while speaking to a friend. I made a crude joke…we all laughed…and then He said…”You’re the most unusual pastor I’ve ever met,” and then we laughed more. In the past, I’ve loved those kinds of statements and worn them as badges of honor…but now…reality is really setting in. I hate hypocrisy…and I really hate seeing my own hypocrisy.
Let’s end this on an upswing. I believe the greatest thing about these types of revelations is that they are given to us for a reason. I don’t think God shows us something just to tell us how bad we are. I think He points out that He is intending to work on a particular area…but I do believe that He is telling us that in order that we would decide on whether or not we want that specific part of our soul’s landscape cultivated.
I must not only see the problem. I must not only know that it’s a problem. I must intend on a change.
*Image taken from: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/hqfVn7Vxo0w/hqdefault.jpg