Christian Self Help
The Line In The Sand
(Part 1) The Line in the Sand - Chapter 2. - Incoming
Picture yourself hiding alone in a foxhole in the middle of a battlefield. Bullets are flying everywhere. You radio for help and there is no answer. War is raging all around you. Fear is welling up inside. Anxiety over the outcome mixes with the fear. As you reflect on how you got here, and upon who gave the orders to put you where you are right now, anger mixes in with the fear and anxiety. The situation seems completely hopeless. You tell yourself, ďI am going to die here in this foxhole, alone.Ē
Suddenly, the bullets stop. The cries of battle fade into silence. You can hear your heart pounding in your chest, as you wonder about the change in your circumstances. Hope starts to come back as you work up the nerve to lift your head above the lip of the foxhole to see whatís going on out there.
At first glance, the surface vision looks almost tranquil. The field is quiet and the trees are rustling gently in the wind. As you look deeper and more closely, you see the horror of the battle. Details etch indelibly into your memory as you see the barely visible wasted lives and debris scattered just out of reach. Looking deeper, you reflect again on how you got here. You are now saddened by the loss, anxious about the outcome, afraid of dying all alone, and angry about being put where you are.
Right then you see the enemy forces advancing in the distant forest. There are hundreds, even thousands of them. The amount of loss you've suffered becomes clear. Anxiety starts to well up in your heart. Fear begins to overcome your rational thoughts. Anger starts to build as you reflect on the resentment that has fueled your bitterness. Thatís when you hear the whistling-whine of the incoming volley from the enemy. They know you are here. They know your position. They know you are a threat. They send a mortar in your direction. Incoming!
Daily life sometimes seems like a war, divided into battles and skirmishes. All you have to do is get up in the morning to start being in the foxhole. Just start your day. Walk to the kitchen. Step out the door in the morning, on your way to school, work, the grocery store, the zoo, on a cross-country trip in the car, or on an airplane. It doesn't matter where you are, when you leave or when you arrive, just get ready, because the bullets and mortars are already on the way. They know you are here. They know your position and they know you are a threat.
ENEMY FIRE comes in from unknown persons inflicting damage and pain upon you unexpectedly. Someone steals your purse. An inconsiderate driver cuts you off or takes the last parking slot in that row. The cashier at the supermarket intentionally short-changes you, or slams your groceries carelessly into the cart smashing your fruit and bread. You spot someone you donít even know laughing at you. You get an annoying sales call during dinner. The doctor tells you that you have a terminal illness. A look, a word, an action; all aimed directly at you, at your pain, at your faults, at your heart. All of these things are incoming from the people you do not, or barely know. Nor, do they know you.
FRIENDLY FIRE is the most unexpected, most painful, and yet most common type of incoming. Your boss is inconsiderate of your contributions to the big project. Your husband or wife barely notices that you exist today. Your friend calls with bad news. Your son or daughter says they hate you. Your husband buys a brand-new boat without so much as a word. Your parent dies. Your spouse abandons you. Your father leaves when you are three years old.
Your mother drinks herself into a stupor every day. Your spouse commits adultery, with your best friend. You are emotionally, physically or sexually abused by someone you know and love. Your spouse reacts in anger to something you say or do. Your spouse becomes quiet or shuts down when confronted. No one around you appreciates a good thing you accomplished. You are not listened to. You are criticized for how you look or how you act. You are hurting and receive no comfort. You are left to your own choices, but with no resources. You are threatened with harm or even death. All of these things are incoming from the people closest to you, the people that you love and spend the most time with. They know you very well, and they love you, too.
What? How can these people even begin to love me? They are hurting me, sometimes intentionally crushing at my happiness, my spirit. They are ripping at the very fabric that I am knit from, squashing my potential, and stealing who I am, right before my very own eyes.
These people are the ones who are supposed to love you, care for you, comfort you, appreciate you, accept you, provide for you, nurture you, walk with you, hold your hand, pick you up, and when all seems lost they will still be there, never abandoning you.
Why, then are they taking pot shots at me? I think I like the foxhole better, so I retreat to it. It is safe in here. No one can shoot at me in here. All I really have to do is keep my head down.
Just when I feel like Iím safe in my foxhole in the middle of the battlefield, in the middle of a skirmish in the war, I look up around the rim of the foxhole. There they are. All of my companions, the ones who are the closest to me, to my heart, are lined up around the rim, point blank...
They are aiming right at me.