Write To Stop Evading

Write To Stop Evading

My dear, sweet mother-in-law brought us dinner and ate it with us, something she does each Wednesday and Sunday. She made pot roast and it was as good as it sounds.

When she was ready to go home, she said, “Well, I’m going to go home and go to bed.”

I said, “Didn’t you say you had to clean your kitchen?”

She said, “If I don’t turn the kitchen light on, I won’t see it.”

We laughed, and I don’t know if she cleaned her kitchen that night or not, but it sure made me think about one of my favorite topics: evasion.

What is a true thing that you don’t want to see?

What do you do every day to make sure you don’t see it?

If you are wanting to quit reading this, it may be that you know I’m about to make you think of something true and important that you’d rather not see. I’m trying to turn on the lights. If you’re going to bed with a dirty kitchen, at least know that is what you’re doing.

If you are letting your marriage fall apart by neglect, at least know that’s what you’re doing.

If you are allowing a toxic person to drain the life out of you, at least know that’s what you’re doing.

If you are failing to put boundaries up because you don’t want confrontation, write down that you are doing exactly that. Go to bed with that dirty kitchen, but don’t pretend it’s not dirty just because you’re trying not to look at it.

Is it Ever Okay to Ignore Something True?

Only by choice.

While I’m writing this, a good friend keeps texting me. I’m glad he’s texting me. I’m going to want to read that text, but right now it’s distracting. There is nothing wrong with putting my phone in another room, knowing that I’m going to go get it later when it’s time for texting. Now is not the time for texting. It’s time for writing. Even though I’m “evading” the truth that I’m receiving texts, it’s no big deal, since I’ve agreed with myself that I’ll check it later.

After being a pastor for two decades and a writer with an intimate look at my clients’ lives, I can tell you, evasion is an international pastime.

What Kinds of Truths Get Evaded?

I won’t evade the fact that the title for this section is awkward. But it’s a good question to ask yourself. Here are a few common ones; turn off the light before you see yours!

  1. Weaknesses – If we saw our weaknesses up close we’d have to fix them, or at least accept them (which is sometimes a fine option).
  1. Arguments from Opponents – It’s a high cognitive load to think for yourself, especially about issues your tribe has already thought of and told you what to think.
  1. Addictions – It’s the classic, “I can quit anytime!” So do it.
  1. Mortality – You’re going to die, if you aren’t quite to Paul’s “to live is Christ and to die is gain”, what do you need to do to get there?
  1. Toxic Relationships – You may need help with this one. Toxic relationships get in deep and are confusing to navigate alone.

Writing to Root out Evasion 

Here’s a Step-by-Step Process:

  1. Read and pray Psalm 139:23: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts (ESV)!
  1. Wait and listen for at least 5 minutes.
  1. Start writing. I recommend you write by hand with your most careful penmanship. It slows down the brain and something powerful happens when the hand motion is connected.
  1. When you have written all you think to write, write down this question: What topic tries to enter my mind and causes me to shut the door and turn out the lights so I don’t have to confront it?
  1. Write what comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind, write it again, slowly and carefully. Write it as many ways as you can think of:
    1. What am I trying to avoid?
    2. What don’t I want to see?
    3. What makes me anxious to consider?
    4. What has someone said that triggered me because I’m afraid it might be true?
    5. Is there anyone I hate because I’m afraid I’m like them?
    6. What about myself do I truly loathe?
    7. When do I pretend to be someone I’m not?
    8. What memories threaten to come to the surface and scare me?
    9. Who do I routinely avoid and why?
    10. What responsibilities do I usually procrastinate on? Why?
    11. What about my current circumstances shows a pattern in my life that might not be good?
    12. What have my friends and family said about me that I hate?
    13. What am I afraid of?
    14. What contradictions am I holding and how do I try to reconcile them?

Write and write and write until you have the lights on. Coming into the light is extraordinarily biblical. There may be some repentance necessary, asking someone’s forgiveness, reconciling, or atoning. There may be a plan that comes out of this. Maybe being honest can cause you to take action.

When you’ve finished all this writing, show it to someone who loves you and see if they go, “Yeah, I’ve been wanting you to understand these things.” They might say you’re being too hard on yourself, but take the chance.

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