The Choice Is Ours

We are creatures of habit, which means we easily find ourselves in ruts. Ruts are a curious thing. Have you ever seen an agricultural field? Have you seen the long sprinkler systems that traverse that field? Those sprinkler systems are called pivots, because they “pivot” to the left and right from one location. From a distance, these pivots are fascinating to see. However, if you walk a pivot line, you will find that the field is filled with deep ruts from the pivot moving back and forth. Some ruts from these pivots can be nearly knee deep. If you are not paying attention as you walk the field, you could easily fall into a rut and be in a world of hurt. These ruts also pose significant problems for farmers when the pivot gets stuck and is unable to move. When the pivot stops moving, the rest of the field is starved of water. Farmers must work quickly to get the pivot moving again. However, the area in which the pivot is stuck has been saturated with water and has created a deep, muddy crevice that they must work in to mitigate the issue.

Have you ever been on a backcountry, all dirt, two track road? These roads can be pretty brutal to drive on. Depending on the time of year, these roads could be moondust, hard, and crusty, or they can be bumpy, muddy, and deeply rutted. There have been many roads that I have questioned traveling down due to the deepness of the ruts. Some ruts can get so deep that a truck can get high centered between the ruts. There are three options when driving a road with deep ruts – turn around, push on hoping to not get stuck, or blaze a new trail. Either choice comes with risk, and these choices can also be applied to life.

You’re probably wondering what’s with my sudden obsession with ruts. Well, it’s because I have found myself in ruts multiple times in my life. I have learned many things while struggling my way through the ruts I have made for myself. As I mentioned before, we are creatures of habit, and habits create ruts in our life. Habits can consist of anything. Some habits can be good, like making it a habit to go to the gym and be healthy. Other habits can be debilitating and turn into addictions that can erode the very essence of who we are. Whichever habits we have in our life, we are deepening the ruts of those habits the more we live in them. 

I would like to think that most of us are living in healthy, positive ruts that are creating opportunities and a better way of life for ourselves. However, the reality is that healthy ruts usually don’t run that deep, because it takes discipline to stay in those ruts. It’s the easy choices that take very little effort and work that create the deepest of ruts, and these ruts are typically unhealthy, paralyzing, and draining. The problem is we allow ourselves to live in these ruts knowing the effects they have on our life, and the more we live in them the deeper they go. 

Let’s go back to the choices we have when driving a backcountry road with deep ruts. We can either turn around, go through them and hope we don’t get stuck, or we blaze a new trail. These same choices apply to our life. Most of us keep on living in our ruts and get stuck. We then get an attitude of complacency and apathy. We begin to blame everyone else for our faults and failures. What we need to do is take ownership of our choices, be honest with ourselves, and make a different choice than the ones that keep us in our ruts. This is no easy task. This means we have to put in work – hard work – and stay focused on the mission. We must stay disciplined and make a deliberate effort to change course. 

When driving through deep ruts, the truck stays wherever the ruts lead. You can literally take your hands off of the steering wheel, and the truck will drive itself. In order to get out of those ruts, it takes power and a hard turn on the steering wheel. For us to get out of a negative, self-deceiving rut, we need to make a hard effort to change directions. However, just as the truck will find itself back in the ruts if we do not take care to watch where we are going, we will find ourselves in the same rut if we do not have discipline and make a conscious effort in our actions and choices.

A rut only dictates the path of a vehicle if the driver chooses not to change course. The same can be said about life. The ruts we find ourselves in only dictate our course if we choose them to. At any point, we can change course by changing our choices, actions, and mindset. Depending on the deepness of the ruts, a change of course may take multiple attempts. The tires of a truck fit nicely in well driven ruts, and to change direction, one might need to make multiple attempts to get out of the ruts from which the truck is driving. We tend to create deep ruts in our lives that lead to self destruction, emotional and mental pain, and a sense of loneliness. Some ruts run very deep, and to get out of them, one must work extremely hard, be disciplined, and make a sincere effort in changing course.

We must also remember that a rut does not determine our destination. The driver determines the overall destination, and as we are the drivers of our own life, we can determine where we go and the destination we end up. The choice is ours. Our success, our health, our progress is up to us. The only one holding us back is ourselves. To become better, we must be disciplined in our actions, choices, and intentions. We become what we consistently do. 

As always, stay humble and serve well!

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