Monday, November 29, 2010

Jumbled thoughts

Three things on my mind these days. Running away (ala Jonah style), the concept of backsliding, and self-destructive self-deprecation. I know, I know. Not asking much of the brain, am I?

Anyway, running away is always so attractive a prospect whenever we're faced with a seemingly insurmountable or potentially painful obstacle. It's our survival instinct at its height. When faced with danger, flee. It's even a military strategy and gets quite a bit of time in the Book of Mormon. But what does it do but delay the inevitable? Don't we usually have to face the problem eventually? And every time we postpone that event, don't we feel a little less capable of success? I do. I remember a quotation that was delivered in a workshop I attended years ago dealing with time management and leadership skills. It had far more applications than the speaker was hinting. And the quirkiness of the visual image it generates has kept it with me.

"If you have to eat a pond full of frogs, eat the big one first."

As a confirmed procrastinator, it was quite a revelation to me. Somehow the idea of forcing myself to actually eat a large frog made most tasks I face seem immaterial by comparison. I try not to run away if I can help it these days because I know that big frogs just get bigger, and probably tougher to chew.

Backsliding is a weird word in the scriptural sense. The modern connotation is odd when you think about it. How did it get attached to religion or morality in the first place? Why didn't they use a word like relapse or re-offend instead? I've always thought it sounded like a style of tobogganning or body surfing, and somehow a little safer than going head first. After all, if you damage the head, it could wreck the whole body, right? The first occurrence seems to be in the 1580's, which makes me wonder who was doing the translation of the bible at that point, and why choose such an innocuous term to describe reoccurring apostasy? I mean, we all understand what it refers to, and sadly a lot of us do it, but who started the whole thing in the first place? What was the original wording in Latin, Greek or Hebrew, and would it translate a little differently today? I might just have to do some looking, because it's really bugging me.

Self-deprecation - a pretty word for making less of God's creation. But how often do we do it when we brush aside someone's compliment, or comment on our inadequacies in conversation, or send negative messages in the way we treat ourselves? I know it's a tough one for me. It's so much easier to negate someone's praise with a quick little quip rather than say thank you and move on. Why is that? How often does Satan succeed in telling us we're fat or too slow or not smart enough or just too plain? Too often in my case. And if you think about it, every time we swallow the lies, we reject the precious gift we have been given in mortality - the opportunity to experience physically and spiritually what it means to choose for ourselves. Because really, putting yourself down isn't really choosing for yourself, is it? It's just adopting someone else's opinion and pretending it's ours. Plagiarism, really. Theft of our own potential.

How on earth do all these things fit together? A bit of a stretch, I know, but it's just where my head is going right now. Running away and backsliding can fit together in a sense, but adding in butchering our self-esteem is a little harder. But they do work together if you consider that when we destroy our own confidence, it's much easier to rationalize the running away and backsliding. Because if you're not adequate or just not capable, you can excuse running away and backsliding by saying you wouldn't have been able to do it well anyway. And then having failed, we have the perfect excuse to put ourselves down even more and it snowballs into a complete sense of inertia. We can't begin to do anything because we're not good enough. And saddest of all, is the fact that it's really just another lie we've swallowed, because we were never doing it all by ourselves in the first place.

So be nice when you look in the mirror, don't run away, and pull out the condiments to make that frog palatable because he's only going to get bigger if you wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment