There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
I think I’ll open an avian clinic to treat traumatic head and beak injuries. A female cardinal believes a rival for her mate’s affection lives in my dining room. Perched on the deck chair she glares at this interloper. She dive bombs; hits the glass; falls to the deck slightly stunned; poops and starts all over again. All day long we hear the tap, tap on the door as she attempts to chase her nemesis away.
Feral cats hang around our house and eat the bread put out for the birds. They watch the crazy cardinal with amusement. I thought I could employ them to staff the bird care facility. In close proximity, they can respond quickly. My husband suspects their idea of a treatment plan wouldn’t include aspirin and cold compresses. Maybe that’s not such a good idea.
Sometimes we act like this cardinal and reap the same miserable results. We see a problem, a threat, something that needs to be changed and we take action. The obstacle refuses to budge. Our repeated failed attempts, using the same strategy, leaves us knee deep in a stinking mess with a headache to boot. We’re not crazy to tackle such a project. Insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. What’s our problem?
Change is a challenge. The status quo, though less than perfect, is predictable. We learn to live with discomfort and craft storylines to support our position:
“I’ve always had a bad temper, it runs in our family”;
“I hate my job, but what can I do? No one will hire me. I’m too (fill in the blank)”;
“It’s not fair. I’ve given the best years of my life and look how they treated me. I got kicked to the curb and they’ve moved on.”
Volumes could be filled with the sad songs we’ve sung. Our frustration is justified; at times we’ve been wronged. Life dealt us a colossal, unfair hand. We’ve made a gigantic mess and now we’re stuck with the results. We choose to stay as is or we change. If change came with pre-printed, step-by-step instructions that guaranteed success every time and removed the element of unpleasant surprises it would be much easier. The degree of difficulty is often in an inverse proportion to the desire for something different. The more determined we are to redesign our circumstance, come what may, the greater the probability of success increases. One reason we fail to implement a new strategy for one that’s doesn't work is a lack of commitment. We hope for a quick fix, a knight in shining armor to come to our rescue (my favorite). When things are harder than anticipated we quietly give up. We put on a good show of half-hearted attempts to fool everyone including ourselves. Hey, at least we’re trying! The reality is our heart isn’t in it.
I worked as a graphic artist for a telecommunications company and designed ads for yellow page directories. The most frustrating aspect of the job was the sloppy, incomplete and illegible paperwork submitted by the sales force. It was normal for important information to be missing or incorrect, which resulted in additional work in order to provide the customer with a quality product. This wasn’t a new problem. It cost the company thousands of dollars in lost revenue every year. Management was unwilling to institute the necessary changes. Why? They, for the most part, were all former sales personnel. The job of the support staff was made more difficult and money was wasted. It was like banging your head against an immovable wall.
I thought I’d hang a sign on my door that read “Bang Head Here!” I know the bird doesn’t read but it would remove her reflection in the glass. With the threat gone she could finally get some rest. I think God does this for us. He puts things in our paths to disrupt our unproductive, painful behavior. I doubt He enjoys our futile attempts to produce the results we desire. Maybe it’s time to stop banging our heads and read the sign. It just might be the answer to our problem.