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.

Mountain - Alaska's Denali

Mountain – Alaska’s Denali (Photo credit: blmiers2)

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 bucket, the puddle, and the tree in the puddle

The bucket, the puddle, and the tree in the puddle (Photo credit: johnsam)

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!

8 Comments on “Don’t Settle for the Puddle!”

  1. I think most of us are in existence mode…even if we are perfectly healthy, apparently happy individuals. We lack the necessary confidence to “get out of the puddle.” It takes absolute faith to work towards greatness, not merely existence!! Your words are certainly powerful!

  2. So true. I remember when I was in Vegas, biking in Red Rock Canyon. I thought something was wrong with the bike, cause it pedaled so hard. Time was running short and I didn’t think I could make the round trip back to the bike rental. So I “gave up” and turned around and went back. I found out that I had been going uphill all the time and when I turned around the bike flew down hill. I also found out that if I had not given up, in another 1/2 mile I would have reached the high point and would have been downhill the rest of the way and I would have finished the route the way it should have been done.

  3. I’m just re-posting a comment from CS:
    This is so true, We need to venture out but we are afraid. We are uncomfortable and here in lies the challenge–to confront our fears and see what is on the other side of the mountain or settle for the puddle. I want to see what is on the other side of the mountain. But I am going to take God with me. He has promised that he will never leave me and I believe it is true.

  4. Everyone has a plateau in their life. It takes courage to use that plateau as a stepping stone to the next level. I think we all get lazy at times, and settle, but God is calling us higher, and he makes it possible to achieve it!

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