Trace It Back

Last night I got a text from someone.  Part of what they said “I want to win him back to Jesus and I can’t do that acting like a whore.”  It was not the first time she has told me she wants to win her husband back to Jesus.  I have seen something like this from her many times in the past two years.  I remember last May she had 10-14 days where she went back and forth between her husband and baby daddy.  It was like whip lash.  When she “hated” baby daddy she wanted to win her husband to the Lord but then went back to baby daddy forgetting about her husband.  Then she will go a few months without seeing either of them and begin the pattern again.  A few months back both came into her life yet again.  It was no surprise to me that after the most recent attempt with the baby daddy did not work out she would return to the desire for her husband – always to bring him to Jesus.  If this is like previous attempts this too will be short lived.  I’d say two weeks is generous but I pray I am wrong.

It is difficult for me to avoid seeing the patterns that form in my life and the lives of others.  And if you keep a journal then it is even more clear the patterns that exist.  The question then arises – can these patterns be broken?  For me personally, I have seen some change and growth in areas of my life, struggles, sins, relationships, and whatever else there is.  Yet, it feels like insignificant change.  I have a good idea of what will happen in the next 24 days.  The ups and downs I am preparing myself for even now.  For me, even recognizing patterns is not always enough.  I select the path of least resistance and allow myself to go right back in.

This morning I wrote that you needed more than one.  I’d love if that was more than one personality because then I would be just fine, but unfortunately for me it is more than one person.  One who you let inside your inner circle.  My close circle feels like it consists of zero right now.  Why?  Because I am not free to be me.  Not free to be sad, crazy, happy, insane, dumb, nerdy, lonely, and all the other things that I am.  The things that make me me.  I am expected to be something different.  Something strong and not weak.  I want to scream to the world, “I am weak!”  But the world is not listening.  There are too many voices to be heard.  Plus I am not willing to let my guard down.

As I was putting all this on my white board, I recalled one of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions.  I only knew the key words “trace it back” so I had to read the first 24 resolutions before I found it.

Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

While Edwards is using this for conspicuously evil actions, I want to use the same idea of tracing it back to the patterns in my life.  So many things occurred in my past and those things create who I am in the present.  This is a fun time for sure.  Why we do the things we do?  But we cannot just look at patterns and triggers from the past.  We must look forward to those patterns and triggers in the future and determine what small steps to take so that we begin a long term process for permanent change.  A change towards holiness.

No, I am not planning on taking my own advice.  I plan to repeat the days over and over again.