Change of Direction

My pastor has a way of saying things during his sermons that I’m sure are meant specifically for me.  No matter how far back in the sanctuary we sit, his words find me with laser-like precision, cutting past the little old lady who has fallen asleep and the child scribbling on the bulletin to find me, minding my own business near the back of the church.  Sunday was one of those mornings when I felt as though a spotlight was shining down on me as he spoke.

The subject matter for the day dealt with loving God, but as always, the lesson applied to many things in life.  Lately I’ve found myself talking to people about actions and how they relate to emotions.  When I was training to be a counselor, the method of therapies I used were called cognitive-behavioral therapies.  The incredibly simplified explanation of CBT is that we can change our emotions by altering our thought processes and behaviors.  For example, a friend recently asked me if I distance myself from my husband when we’re going through a rough patch in our marriage.  I pointed out that separating from him physically seems like the worst possible idea if I’m hoping for improved emotions.  Spending quality time with a person increases your feelings of love for them, does it not?  Why wouldn’t that be my course of action?

Sunday reminded me that, in my pastor’s words, we cannot allow ourselves to be “led around by the nose by our emotions”.  Instead, we need to take specific actions and practice intentional behaviors so that our emotions follow.  I was already with him, nodding along, applying his reasoning to my own life and the lives of the friends who talk to me about their own situations when Pastor Kevin read a poem I had never heard.  It was my ah-ha moment.

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk

Chapter I:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am helpless.
It is not my fault.
It takes forever to find my way out.

Chapter II:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I sat in the back of that church waiting for the pastor to read, “I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fix the hole.”  And then he read…

Chapter V:
I walk down another street.

In that moment I was reminded that sometimes what we need is simply to change direction.

Leave a Reply


  • WOW. What a great reminder! Thanks for sharing this, Amy!

  • Lisa

    These are good thoughts, Amy. Changing a habit is a challenge. Recognizing the habit and even seeing an alternative to it must constitute half of what is required to make it happen.

  • Wow, this has hit me and I’m not even sure exactly for what reason, but it has. Thanks for this post!

  • Hi there,
    I interpreted what you stated the pastor as saying that we are all lost and then found when we find Jesus. For those of us that know Jesus, it shows how much we need Him everyday, to help us “keep our path’s straight.”
    Awesome, Praise God!!!! 🙂

  • I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve been thinking about a change in direction for a LONG time now.

  • Gwen De Rossi

    I couldn’t agree more! My line of work involves a lot of one-on-one coaching sessions. When I don’t see any development in one of our employees after several coaching sessions, I don’t dwell on figuring out what’s wrong with the person, instead I dwell on concocting a new approach to motivate him.

  • This post was one of those that you didn’t know you needed until you actually read and really thought about. Thanks!