Why does trouble find trouble?
Because it wants to.
Those who are living unsavory lives certainly don’t want to be exposed. Their shame and secrets are safe with like-minded people. In protected circles, their actions will be applauded rather than challenged. They are encouraged to continue down a destructive path, as long as they return the favor to those around them. Don’t expose. Don’t challenge. Don’t speak truth. No guilt. No growth. No shame.
Just acceptance and support.
Acceptance without work. Without effort. Without obligation. Without commitment. Without reproach.
Have you heard these words before?
“Well, if people can’t accept me for who I am, then too bad on them.”
“I’m comfortable with me and that’s all that matters.”
“Who made you the judge?”
“Who says your way is the right way?”
“I’m not hurting anyone. What’s it to you?”
These are nice, tidy attempts to keep the truth out. To let trouble continue on its path of destruction. To shield the truth from those who don’t want to be exposed. Who are not ready for change.
It’s far easier to stay in the company of those who agree than those who don’t. So walls are built, relationships are abandoned, and trouble continues to find trouble. The cheerleaders in your life are essentially rooting for disaster. They’re not only watching the train wreck, but encouraging it.
But it feels good. Temporarily. The support. The acceptance.
Who Looks for Trouble?
Many of those who find trouble don’t even recognize that they are either (A) IN TROUBLE or (B) LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. Who might this include?
- People who make selfish and dangerous choices because they are lazy, irresponsible, and immature.
- People desperate to fill a void in their lives. They may be lonely, depressed, or hopeless.
- People in pain who attempt to mask pain and grief.
- Parents who make foolish decisions because they want to be liked. To keep the peace. Oh how the weak and misguided parents crave acceptance.
So who looks for trouble? Unfortunately many do, whether intentional or not. Everyone from self-seeking individuals who just don’t care about anyone else but themselves to those in heart-wrenching, debilitating pain to those who just simply don’t know any better.
But trouble still craves trouble.
And it crosses all age, gender, educational, and socioeconomic lines.
[Tweet “Trouble crosses all age, gender, educational, and socioeconomic lines.”]
Is Your World Really All That Healthy?
Unfortunately, many troubled people don’t see their lives as such. Controlled and bubbled off from opposition, they relish in feeling protected and secure. In their own homes, neighborhoods, and circles, they remain sheltered from disapproval and immersed in an environment riddled with denial. With those who insist they love…and care…and respect.
But this is a façade and a farce.
People who are unable or unwilling to speak truth aren’t necessarily the ones who care. Or who love you. Or who want the best for you. Or who are healthy for you.
They’re using you…and you’re using them. And demons stay hidden.
It’s all terribly convenient.
The Story of Two Friends
Years ago I was a ‘20 something’ Momma of two in a miserable marriage. I was a young Christian and didn’t quite understand what it meant to walk closely with the Lord. In spite of my spiritual immaturity, I knew some of the decisions I was making were wrong.
My two closest friends at the time were, let’s call them, Mabel and Matilda.
Mabel was my ‘Rah Rah Cheerleader’. She never challenged my behavior or choices and supported everything I did, right, wrong or indifferent. It was easy to be her friend and it felt good that in the midst of heartache and turmoil, I could count on Mabel for a non-judgmental and understanding ear. It was a relief to have one less person in my world to answer to. I could just be myself and it was always okay.
Matilda was my straight-talking, no-nonsense, call it the way she sees it friend. I knew she loved me but she challenged my choices and made me think about my actions. Which I didn’t like. At all. I felt like I had to work for her approval. Even though I knew her opinion was based on God’s Word, I felt like I was being double-teamed. Yup, I had Matilda and God speaking truth into my life when I really didn’t want to hear it.
So I did what any guilty, troubled person would do. I embraced Mabel and kept Matilda at arm’s length.
Until I wised up and decided to get my life together. I committed to living for the Lord with integrity and purpose. I was tired of feeling guilty and ashamed and I knew I’d have so much more joy and peace in my life if I walked in obedience to the Lord. I wanted to do things right.
And thank goodness for the wise, albeit harsh, words Matilda spoke to me. Sure, it may have taken me a bit to come around, but her words were imprinted on my heart and God used them in my time of healing and restoration.
And guess where Mabel and Matilda are today?
To be honest, I have no idea where Mabel is. Our friendship crumbled as I began to grow and thrive.
And Matilda, well, she has been my best friend for just about 25 years now. Through life’s trials, disagreements, and heartbreaks, we have been there for one another and have seen each other through it all. Deeply devoted to our friendship in the most precious way possible, we remain steadfast by always speaking truth in love. We hit everything head on. No mincing of words, no stroking just to please, no rewarding bad behavior. I am eternally grateful for my ‘Matilda’!
When I wanted to find trouble, I did. When I was ready to walk away from my stupidity, I did.
The choice was mine to make. Just as it is yours.
It’s ironic because those who are opposed to commitment are actually making a huge commitment to continue down a path of trouble; a promise to perpetuate destruction and heartache. Excuses are made and heels are dug in. And the obligation to trouble stays strong.
But deep inside, the heart stirs and the truth gurgles. Buried under guilt and justifications, it’s barely noticeable, but it’s there. Faint and fleeting perhaps, but present nonetheless.
Grab it and hold on for dear life. Make a decision to declutter trouble and restore true joy to your life.
How to declutter trouble?
- Change your circle of influence. Get rid of the unhealthy cheerleaders, or at the very minimum, set firm boundaries. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
- Consider the opinion of those who care about you, even when you disagree. In your darkest hour, these will be the people who don’t give up on you. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
- Consult God’s Word. Read and pray. Trust Him. “…God shall supply all your needs…” Phil 4:19 Let Him.
- Walk in light, not darkness. Don’t bury concerns, yet instead, expose them. Darkness cannot win in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” John 1:7
- Declutter shame and embarrassment. It is better to acknowledge and correct mistakes than to stay stuck in stupid. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
- Implement actions based on God’s standard, not yours or those of the troubled people around you. “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” 1Thes 2:4
When you are ready, with God’s help, you WILL succeed in decluttering trouble!