Difference Between a Rut and a Grave

Ellen Glasgow famously said, “The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.” I have heard a variation on that quote that says, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.”

In life we regularly participate in patterns, routines, and cycles of behavior. Some of them are consciously chosen, such as exercising regularly, attending worship, times of prayer, or entertaining guests. Others might seem like they just kind of happen. You find yourself seething with anger in traffic for the third time this week. You and your spouse get entrenched in the same argument you’ve been having for the last 3 weeks, 3 months, or even 3 years. You don’t intend to neglect your personal time of prayer or scripture reading; it just never seems like there’s enough time in the day. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in ruts.

Pay attention to your patterns of behavior in relationships. Where are the times in your week when you find it really hard to connect with others? When do you have the least patience or understanding for others? When do you have the least patience or understanding for yourself? Compare the amount of time you spend in life-giving relationships to the time spent in draining relationships. What are the topics or situations that seem to trigger intense responses from you? The more aware we are of our lives the more we can walk in new ways. When Jesus told a story of the prodigal son, he described this awareness as when “he came to his senses.”

We want rich relationships where we are seen, known, encountered, and loved. Often we settle for relationships where we try to control how we are perceived, interacted with, and valued. When it seems like our control is slipping through our fingers, we might flee into frustration.

Frustration can easily set in when we want something we cannot have; we want to do something we cannot do; or we are concerned for what others think about us. It is no secret that our closest relationships often bear much of the burden of the frustration or unhappiness we carry inside ourselves. We haven’t spent the time we would like to with someone because there is so much on our plate. We have tried to keep our shame, anxiety, or anger under wraps, but it surprisingly gets vented on an innocent bystander.

Jesus invites all of us to come into his presence. He invites our ways of being in the world that bring us success and fulfillment, as well as our ways of being in the world that lead to failure and frustration. Jesus’ welcoming presence shines the compassionate, challenging, and transforming Love of God on our lives. Jesus offers us healing power to get us out of ruts and resurrection power to lift us out of the grave. How much of yourself do you bring to God? Can we bring something to God we are unaware of in ourselves? What personal rut do you want to bring into the Light of God’s Love?

This summer the young adult ministry at Trinity Baptist will be offering married couples a few Date Nights as a time to focus on strengthening their marriages. I hope you’ll keep an eye out for those dates in the next Trumpet or on Facebook at facebook.com/youngadultsTBC