When I first told my wife, Amy, the title of last week’s post, Christ-centered or Crisis-centered, she loved it. Interestingly enough, we had different takes on what it meant. My take was what you read last week … Crisis-centered people are those who focus more on the crisis than on Christ. In other words, the crisis becomes “your center” instead of Christ being your center. Amy’s take on it is what I’ll share this week … Crisis-centered people are those whose lives seem to be one crisis after another. They are caught in a crisis cycle.
First off, let me acknowledge that there can be times when we face a crisis, or series of crises, through no fault of our own. Job is a good example of this. Many of you are probably familiar with the Biblical account of God’s servant, Job. Job was a man that was upright, shunned evil, and feared God. In other words, Job was not living a life style that would bring upon him a crisis. Nevertheless, Job faced one and a big one at that. God allowed Satan to test Job in any and every way except taking his life. Job lost his children, his wealth and his health … now that’s a crisis. Through it all, God was with Job and Job ultimately remained faithful to God. If you want to be encouraged, read through the book of Job yourself.
Then there will be other times when a person’s life style becomes the bedrock for the crisis cycle … moving from one crisis to the next never quite recovering from the last. Maybe, this is you. Maybe, this is someone you love. The good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope in Christ. We have to identify the behaviors that contribute to breeding crises. One that I’ve identified is a lack of healthy boundaries.
Several years ago, when I first accepted my calling as a Pastor and Biblical Counselor, I struggled with establishing healthy boundaries. When someone came to me for help I would instantly drop everything and go into problem solving mode. Without even noticing it, I had allowed other people’s crises to become mine. I made myself totally available, allowing them to contact me wherever and whenever, even at the detriment of my own family. I allowed myself to take ownership of their problems. Even when they, themselves, had not. I had to learn how not to allow other people’s crises to become mine. I had to start seeking the Lord and asking, Lord is this something I should be taking on. I had to set boundaries that allowed me to lovingly put a time limit on phone conversations or unexpected contacts … to lovingly say I’m not available right now but here’s when I can be … to lovingly encourage them to pray and seek the Lord themselves. A dear friend of mine once shared with me a strategy that she uses to avoid taking on someone else’s problem. She says to herself, I’m not going to allow YOUR poor planning to become my emergency. Setting boundaries not only helps hold people accountable and encourages them to set boundaries themselves, it also helps keep me out of the crisis cycle.
Another behavior that I have seen create a breeding ground for crisis is poor organization. To take my friend’s words to another level, we should say to ourselves, “I’m not going to allow MY poor planning to become MY emergency.” Not knowing where you put your car keys because you just set them down anywhere because you don’t have a hook for keys … scrambling to find someone to watch your kids because you forgot they have a half day of school and you never wrote it on the calendar … frantically racing to get to work on time because you got up late again or couldn’t find anything clean to wear. The better organized we are with simple things, the less likely it is that we will face a day, a week, a month of crisis after crisis.
Now some of you Wade in the Word readers may be thinking, that all sounds well in good and I wish my biggest problem was a misplaced set of keys. But, I have way more serious things going on than that. Well, that leads me to the scripture I want to share with you this week. The Bible tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
There is a reason why God has put parameters in place for us. It’s called the narrow road. God knew that living on the broad road, too close to the edge of sin, would be a path full of problems. A path that leads to crisis after crisis. Some of you may be on that broad road. The broad road of family problems caused by divorce … The broad road of idolatry that makes us worship the created more than the creator … The broad road of greed and materialism that has us slaves to our debt …. The broad road of addictions which make us live a lie. When we refuse to take God’s narrow road, we open ourselves up to the life of crisis that broad road brings.. As I said earlier there is always light at the end of the tunnel, all you have to do is place your hope and faith in Jesus. Allow this Bible verse to comfort you as it has comforted me many times.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”