So with nothing more than a tank of gas
I drove away without looking back
And I guess that’s how I got where I am
Going anywhere as fast as I can
A Little Past Little Rock by Lee Ann Womack
Years ago, country singer, Lee Ann Womack had an album out titled, “A Little Past Little Rock.” It was about getting over someone…or at least trying to. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the things I haven’t “gotten over” and how those things impact my ability to be happy. For many years, I struggled with family of origin problems; some of which scarred me so deeply that I’m surprised I was ever able to recover. But the reality is that at some point, I had to make a choice. Was I going to continue living a life where my attitude and actions were preset by circumstances over which I’d had no control? Or was I going to map out a different course and move forward, even if I had no idea where I was headed? Both options seemed terrifying to me, but in very different ways.
On one hand, I could keep doing the things that were familiar. Although I found no real joy in them, I could at least count on the end result being something I could “get through.” Or, I could dare to step outside the box and take my story in a direction that could potentially open up more doors to something that looks like happiness. It’s a tougher decision than one would think. And in looking at my own situation, I began to figure out something about other people. It’s not that people who find themselves in a tough spot are choosing those challenges. In many situations, the idea of moving into the unfamiliar territory of “happiness” is so overwhelming that they simply cannot make themselves take that step. They would rather stick with the pain that they know than to open themselves up to the possibility of experiencing something else that might hurt. Unfortunately, this fear also cuts off any promise of experiencing things that won’t hurt.
Sometimes we get stuck in fear, paralysis, stagnation, and all of the other things that describe a life less than lived. Until one day, some catalyst (whether inside your particular bubble or outside of it) causes you to take a good look around and the things you once thought made sense no longer fit you. And you either have to press on without them or just sit there in your ill-fitting life waiting for something to make sense. Which will it be?
Rebecca Benston is an inspirational author and publisher. She owns Higher Ground Books & Media, a Christian-based publisher located in Springfield, OH that focuses on producing titles that are educational, inspirational, and motivational. Benston’s published works include a P.I. mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories, children’s books including All the Scary Things, Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, and See How Strong You Are, and inspirational titles including Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and Talking it Over With Him. All of her books can be found on Amazon.com and in the Higher Ground Books & Media shop.