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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Own Best Jailers

Ever go to a movie and have a growing feeling that you don’t like the movie?  You sit there, minute after minute, tempted with every scene to get up and leave.  Perhaps you sat through the entire film while feeling it was a wasted two hours—or worse.  The movie may have been recommended to you by a friend.  Someone you were planning to report back to with enthusiasm that their recommendation was a good one.  Now you hope that they have forgotten your promise to go and see it.  Why is it sometimes we fail to bail and be free?  Why do we become our own best jailers?  The reasons may include 1) we made a promise—a commitment; 2) validating a relationship—we are doing it for a friend—when all is said and done we are affirming fundamental and regnant values; 3) we made an investment of time and resources (the sunk cost); 4) we don’t want to admit we made a mistake; 5) we don’t want others or ourselves to think that we are a quitter; 6) there is hope things will change for the better—it may turn out to be a good flick after all; 7) there may even be a feeling that God is in control—that if he didn’t want us to be there he would have prevented it—we are showing trust in Him by not leaving; 8) the force of inertia—once we have embarked on a course it is difficult to change direction—we simply do not consider leaving an option; 9) we rationalize our position saying “well it will only last two hours”—potential suffering is limited and is survivable ; 10) the sense that we are participating in fate; 11) the belief that we may derive from the experience a valuable though perhaps unpleasant lesson; 12) we don’t want to appear shallow or foolish; 13) we don’t want to appear snobbish; 14) we don’t want to admit we are different and view things differently from others; 15) conversely, we glory in our difference and seek to confirm it; 16) we feel a need to punish ourselves; 17) we may feel certain we were inspired to commit in the first place, and that inspiration validates and sustains our choice no matter the outcome; 18) we may feel a sense of justice—now that we have made our bed, we must lie in it.  So then, what is the best advice—to get up and leave or sit there and suffer through the movie?  The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.

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