Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Unexpecting the expected

(since this is part two, you might want to start with part one if you haven't read it already!)

Finding the answer to the anger management problem isn't easy.  In fact, sometimes I think that finding the problem isn't easy.  What, exactly, is the problem?  The problem is that I'm confused about what the problem is. 

It reminds me of a story I read in a magazine once.  It was about a guy who bought a house and turned his new backyard into an awesome garden with all sorts of cool plants and trees.  The guy had a couple of huge dogs, though.  Now, if you have dogs, you know that they are creatures of habit.  They wear paths through your lawn because they always run around the corner of the house in the same spot.  Well, this gardener and dog lover had a method: he let the dogs loose in the new yard for a couple of weeks.  When he found the paths being worn, he incorporated them into the landscape.  He made pathways where the dogs naturally wanted to walk.  That's a man who knows what the problem is: his ideal.  His expectation.

If I expect everyone to live up to my ideal, then I get frustrated.  People don't live up to my ideal. . . I don't even live up to my ideal.  That's annoying!  I get annoyed and frustrated and then I get confused about the problem.  I get to thinking that the problem is that people aren't living up to my ideal, when the problem is really that I am trying to restrict them to my ideal in the first place.  Even if they're wrong, I can't restrict them to my ideal.  God gave them the freedom to be wrong.  Shouldn't I be at least as lenient as He.

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