Choosing Your Rut
Choose your rut carefully: you’ll be in it for the next thirty miles.
-Sign on Alaskan wilderness road
It’s true. I learned in African bush driving that the rut you chose is very difficult to get out of. During the rainy season, dirt roads became paths of deep mud. Whatever rut I chose to follow would pretty well guide me through the next section of the road. With difficulty, you could change ruts, but there was a much greater risk of bogging down or sliding off the road.
It’s also true in life. The ruts, or pathways, we choose for our life set the pattern for our direction and movement forward. All of us are prone to get stuck in ruts of habit and comfort.
It’s been said that “A rut is a grave with both ends open.”
As I’m slowly coming out of my depression, I’m working on some ruts in my life. Please pray that I’ll be learning, growing, and changing as God leads. During the dark times, I still hear the still small powerful voice of God saying, “I’m not through with you.”
In addition to these thoughts on avoiding ruts, I want to mention another aspect that I call the rut of influence. It can be a positive or negative force in our lives and especially the lives of others.
I’m reminded of a story from my time coaching high school baseball. The father of our shortstop asked his son, “Why are you wearing your cap low on your forehead?”
The son answered, “Because that’s the way my coach wears his.”
This sobering thought is a reminder that our influence is both subtle and broad. Others are choosing to follow our lead. What a challenge to make sure our rut of influence leads in the right direction. We can only do this with God’s help and power.
This is especially true with our children and family members. Without words, they are adjusting their ballcap to what they see in our lives. That is why a daily growing relationship with God is essential. By our following God, others can follow us in a positive direction.
We don’t have to be perfect, just committed to growing and learning and leaving a rut worth following.
“Lord, help me set the right example for those who are following after me. I need your power and guidance to do this. Amen.”
“You are the light of the world . . . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” -Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16)
Missionary Robert Lane on a rainy season African road.