And the responses flooded in. Tons of people felt like they had given Jesus the wheel to steer their lives, and Jesus had crashed their lives right into a ditch. Holy crap, if Jesus even still has his driver’s license, his insurance rates must be outrageous.
Now, some people had questions that we didn’t figure out, but we did figure out one thing…
…the ditch is real. And no one likes being in it.
And as I read all of your comments and started thinking about the ditches my own life has hit, I realized that people almost always start believing a few things, mostly lies when they’re in a ditch.
I’ve talked with plenty of people who find themselves in a ditch, and I’ve been in plenty of ditches myself, and the first thing that always comes to my mind is that:
No one else can help me. Not my wife, not my friends, not my church. God has forsaken me. Getting out of this ditch entirely depends on me, and I’m probably too weak and helpless and stupid to recover.
It’s actually helpful to assume that no one can help you out of your ditch. It’s less work sending invitations to your pity party.
But it gets better. See, a lot of us, myself included, then take that thinking to another level where we don’t actually tell anyone we’re in a ditch. We think they should just know we’re in a ditch, and when they don’t know, we can blame them for ignoring us and not showing up to our pity party that we didn’t bother to send invitations to.
Maybe no one can help you out. Maybe Jesus Christ himself put you in that ditch, and you are the only person who can get yourself out. But everyone has at least one friend who you can talk to and they can say, “I’m sorry you’re stuck in that ditch. Can I get you anything while you try to climb out?”
You know, even though many bloggers share a lot about their lives for everyone to read, it still goes through a filter. Things get edited and censored and sanitized. And it’s easy to believe that most everyone else except you has it all figured out. Life must be perfect for everyone else!
Last Wednesday, I made my yearly pilgrimage to the Bloggers Meetup in Atlanta and met a lot of people in person whom I admire from afar.
And you know what?
They are real people, just like me. And they have real problems. Some of their problems aren’t as big as mine. Some are way bigger. It doesn’t matter how much I look up to someone, and assume that their lives must be amazing all the time, most people are climbing out of their own ditch.
I’ve said this to myself more times than I can count. Every time Jesus drives me into a ditch (or I drive myself into a ditch and blame Jesus), I assume that no one can help me. Then I assume that no one else is in a ditch of their own…
…Then I start picking out people who deserve to be in a ditch.
You know, those people whose lives I deem to be a bit too perfect. The people I assume have no problems. Those are the people I hate most when I’m face down in a ditch. If only lightning would strike them, if only Jesus would crash their car, then at least I wouldn’t look so bad by comparison, and since I see no way out of this ditch, that is the best consolation prize I can think of.
It’s why we love to watch people who have it all crash and burn with voyeuristic obsession. We like to see people get knocked down a peg because their “perfect” lives made us look even worse than we already feel.
It’s why we show up like Debbie Downer and try to make everyone as miserable as we are, hoping we can at least pull some friends down into the ditch with us.
And the thing is, none of these things ever actually helped anyone get out of their ditch.
Okay, talk to me. What goes through your mind when your life hits the ditch? Do you fall on your knees in prayer, or do you shake your fist at God for singling you out and cursing you? Do you assume no one else is in a ditch and start wishing they were?