When What Bothers Me Is My Problem
"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."1
According to an old joke which you probably have already heard, a construction worker took a sandwich out of his lunch bag and threw it on the ground, complaining loudly, "Baloney again! I hate baloney." When a coworker suggested, "If you hate baloney so much, why don't you ask your wife to make you something else?" he replied, "That's the problem. I can't. I make my own lunches."
The baloney sandwich can also represent the things that we do to ourselves— and keep on doing no matter how much we hate doing them. I believe it was Einstein who first said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Another said, "If we keep doing what we've always done, we'll keep getting what we've always got, and we'll keep feeling what we always felt." And as another saying goes, "Nothing changes if nothing changes." Simplistic statements to be sure, but very true.
I've seen people repeatedly get into toxic and harmful relationships. Others stay in abusive situations, or in positions that are far below their interests and abilities. Others keep repeating the same mistakes on the job or in their relationships, and don't do anything to change their behavior patterns. In other words they keep making themselves "baloney sandwiches" that they hate.
The fact is that what we don't resolve, we're destined to repeat … repeat … repeat—endlessly, ad infinitum!
So how do we/you change? First, be courageously honest and admit that you have a problem and that you are causing the problem. Second, ask God to confront you with the truth and reality of what you are contributing to the frustrating and even painful situations in which you find yourself. Third, ask God to give you the courage to see and accept your responsibility in overcoming your problem, and where necessary, seek and find the help you need to overcome—even if that means seeking help from a capable Christian counselor.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be courageously honest with myself and with you. Help me to face and confront every unresolved issue in my life and lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank you that you always hear the prayers of honest people and that you always answer them in the way that is best for us. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).