Don’t Settle for the Puddle!
When I am in the middle of difficult circumstances, I want to take the easy path. I want the quick fix, the easy answer, the one-minute cure. I don’t want to work hard — not when I’m hurting so much. And yet, aren’t the greatest rewards in life often behind the highest mountain?
When my husband was in the midst of his active addiction, when his depression was completely debilitating, when his PTSD symptoms turned him into someone I didn’t even recognize… I just wanted the easy out. I wanted God to snap his fingers and make everything all better. Unfortunately, God doesn’t usually “snap” his answers to our prayers — instead He hands us a shovel (and grabs one himself) and says, “Get to work.” Bummer. I’d rather that He just dug me out.
The work of recovery from addiction or mental illness such as PTSD, depression, bi-polar disorder, etc. is often a daunting task. All too often, we make a little progress — just enough to get out of the extreme chaos that once defined our existence — and then we “settle” for that spot on the recovery journey. But I challenge you to believe that there might be more out there. A fulfilling life is not merely “the absence of crisis” — That is still just “existing,” not living. Don’t settle for that — let God show you what he really has planned for you.
It reminds me of a story I must have heard somewhere (because I don’t think I’m creative enough to come up with it on my own) : Once there was a duck who was searching for a
beautiful lake to call home — a place that he had heard about where he could rest and play and raise a family. Near the end of his journey, weary and impatient, he was discouraged to find before him a huge mountain that he knew instinctively would take all that he had in him to fly over. At the base of the mountain was a puddle. The duck surveyed his options, and –tired and discouraged — decided to settle down in the puddle rather than continue his journey. The puddle was small and life was hard for him there, but he believed it was all he could hope for. He had water to drink and a place to play, though he often felt lonely because there wasn’t much room in his little puddle for friends and family to join him. On many occasions, he wondered what was on the other side of that mountain — he almost could hear God calling him to “do the hard work” and climb over–but he never dared to venture there. “I’m just fine here in my puddle,” he convinced himself. It seemed to be too much work, too hard, too risky, it would take too long, he was too afraid., he would never make it…Oh, he had a million excuses. So he stayed in his puddle and settled for a meager existence. And what a tragedy…because just on the other side of that mountain was the most amazing, spectacular lake — huge, crystal clear, refreshing, and brimming with life and companionship. How sad that the duck missed out — he settled for the puddle because he was too afraid to face the mountain.
The journey of recovery is just like that duck’s journey. What will you do when you hit your next mountain? Don’t settle for the puddle! Keep going, keep working, don’t give up. The reward will be worth it!