Sunday, February 12, 2012

This "PIT" will not consume me!

Ever hit bottom and find yourself recognizing the depth of the pit all while life continues to demand more and more of you?  I think all of us have experienced being overwhelmed in some "pit" at one time or another.  The impact of the "pit" is determined by the perception we maintain IN the pit.  We can continue to look down - seeing only the darkness of the lowest point.  We can look outward - seeing only the closeness of the walls surrounding us, seemingly holding us in a position of bondage.  Or...we can look up, taking notice of the glimmer of light breaking in the distance, and take hope!

 5 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?  Why are you crying the blues? 
   Fix my eyes on God—soon I'll be praising again.  He puts a smile on my face.  He's my God.
(Psalm 43:5 The Message)

David penned these words a long time ago, but they have awesome value for us today.  In the midst of the pit, he questions himself.  The searching questions he poses reveal much.  First, he asks his "soul" (mind, will and emotions) why it is down in the dumps.  There are times when we need to examine our thoughts in the "pit" of despair - simply because all action begins with thoughts.  Our mind is key to our perspective.  

If we recount only the darkness of the bottom of the pit, or the closeness of the encompassing walls, we see no way out!  The will plays a part in determining how we perceive the "pit" - without determination, we never change our focus.  The emotions just serve to overwhelm us when our mind and will have chosen to focus on the depth of the pit and the limits of its walls.

Second, he asks himself why he is "crying the blues".  Simply put, this is the tendency we all have to "rehearse" the darkness of the pit over-and-over again. We ruminate - chew the cud, so to speak.  In doing so, we tell ourselves the story again and again until the story become the "reality" by which we make all our decisions.  In the end, we wonder why the walls are closing in and the floor seems to be getting darker!

As quickly as he asks himself these questions, he seems to recognize the futility of the position he is allowing himself to remain in.  Yep, you caught it when I said he "allowed" himself to remain in the pit.  The pit is indeed a choice.  We determine our response to the pit - the pit has no influence over us until we give it the influence!  He turns as quickly from the futility of his "pit-dwelling" emotional upheaval and begins to speak to his soul.

Did you ever consider the meaning of "pitiful"?  I think it is a word which describes being so consumed by the "pit" that we cannot be filled up with anything other than the pit!  David begins to turn his focus upward - seeing the "light" from the opening of the pit.  He "fixes" his eyes on the light - and in time, his heart is lifted in hopeful praise.  He sees the way out - determines to focus on the opening rather than the closeness of the despair which had become his object of focus for a while!

I am not a "pit-dweller".  When I stumble into the pits of life, I soon begin to recognize the absolute hopelessness of staying there too long.  In fact, I have come to recognize the way out is often the opposite of the way I got into the pit!  No one gets into the pit from the bottom first!  We all get there.  The choice to remain, or escape, is made in the moment we determine our focus!