Day 18 – “Keep Me From Lying To Myself…”
18 Elul 5769
“Keep Me From Lying To Myself…”
During this season of Elul (the month leading up to the High Holy Days on the Hebrew calendar), we are encouraged to take inventory of ourselves. We need to deal aggressively with those things that we have allowed to separate us from Hashem (G-d). How do we do this?
Several years ago, my husband and I hit a rough road in our marriage. I allowed offenses – things I didn’t think he was doing right – to grow into what the Bible calls a bitter root.
Hebrews 13:15 – Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
I was angry and didn’t know it. Slowly the bitter root began to poison my thinking and attitude. I came to the conclusion that “I did not want to be married.” I felt G-d had let me down and the only way to salvage the rest of my life was to be free of all that I felt was “holding” me back.
Yep, folks – I drank deeply from the cup of the bitter root and became filled with “me.” What was once small shots of (My needs, my desires, my hurts….) had now become huge wine goblets filled with “the way life should be.” And it did not have my husband in it.
Yes, I was inebriated but never fully out of my mind. I had learned through one of the classes my husband was teaching on renewing the mind, that there was an exercise I could do to help me count the cost of my thinking. (He did not know at the time that I was in a battle for my soul).
Counting the Cost of Our Behaviors, Sins and/or Attitudes
First – Consider what this attitude, behavior or sin has already cost me: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, and professionally.
Second – Write down in very vivid detail, what it would cost me if I did not change. Who would I hurt because I was not willing to step outside of my “perceived” needs and walk in love. How would my relationship with my young daughter be impacted? How much pain would this cause her? Five years from now – ten years from now? What living legacy was I bequeathing to her regarding G-d, family, relationships and accepting personal responsibility for her decisions?
I wrote it down. It was very specific, the emotions were very detailed. The images were very vivid. The sense of loss loomed large and became overwhelming as I imagined life without G-d, and my family. I saw others suffering because of my focus on my needs, wants and desires. I saw myself hurting my friend, confidant and greatest supporter.
I DID NOT LIKE WHAT I WAS SEEING…
But the movie would not stop playing and it would not allow me to lie to myself about the potential effects of my decisions!
Like “smelling salts” each vignette slowly but surely countered the inebriating effects of the bitter root until I was left standing face to face with myself. Undeniably the one who needed to change was me. There were some bitter roots I needed to release and raw truth I needed to embrace. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy but to remain the same was simply unacceptable.
On September 24th, we will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. (Taking individual responsibility for our own emotions, thoughts, and actions is the hallmark of our marriage).
My constant prayer today as I aggressively confront those bitter roots along the rough roads of life is a scripture that gripped my soul during that critical season in my life.
Psalm 119:29 (NLT) | Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.