Trying to get a post written has been a little bit frustrating in the last week and a half. I don’t know what my problem is. I’ve made multiple attempts and been universally dissatisfied with them! Ah, well – that’s how goes sometimes. Since it is, and since I’m running out of time this week (yes, I know it’s only Thursday, but I have these things called plans tomorrow and Saturday), here goes yet another attempt. This one is going up, I just know it. In fact, this one might be a little bit different than what I’ve put up here so far, because I think I’m going to write about something that gets under my skin. I’m going to rant a little, mildly, I hope.

Something I’ve been thinking about recently, for no particular reason, is how irritating and frustrating I find statements like, “That’s just the way I am.” Generally, it bugs me when people say that to other people. I don’t like it when somebody tells me that. I don’t like it when somebody tells another person that. What I hear is not only “That’s just the way I am.” I’m also hearing, “Deal with it, because I’m not changing.” My reaction to that idea is something like an loud internal buzzer that you might hear on a game show after somebody gave the wrong answer. BBZZZZZZZZTTT!! “Nope,” I think. “Bad plan, man. Welcome to the museum, ‘cuz that’s where dinosaurs and OTHER FOSSILS (fossil – once living matter now turned to stone) hang out.” I really do not like being told, “That’s just the way I am.”

Why would that be, I wonder? I suspect much of it has to do with my own need to change, to become a new person, a new creation. Some of that is due to my Christianity. We’re supposed to be new creations, full of new life, to be overcomers, to be growing and fruitful and pretty much leaving all that old crap that tied us down behind. Throw that sin off, right? It entangles us so easily. Besides the religious motivation, I’ve had to deal with the baggage of being abused as a child. One of the more pernicious and personally horrifying aspects of that wasn’t how much I was hurt, but how much I hurt others because I was hurt, broken, and ignorant. Abuse doesn’t cause a person problems simply because they were hurt and mistreated, as awful as that is. It also causes people problems because it replaces good things (experiences, lessons, relationships, etc.) with bad things, and dealing with the consequences of all those misshapen opportunities is painful and difficult. Unchecked, those consequences can rule a person for the rest of their lives, long after the abuser has gone. I had to change, to learn new things, to become somebody new, and one thing I learned along the way is that abuse isn’t Life’s only bad teacher. There are plenty of others out there, too. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has room to improve. Perhaps it’s understandable why I’m horrified by somebody who refuses change or even to evaluate themselves for the possibility that they may need to change.

But that’s not the total of my objection, I’m afraid. As I mentioned earlier, I also hear “deal with it” sometimes in a “that’s the way I am” statement. Ever had a conflict with somebody end when they trotted out that statement? I have. It’s an unpleasant experience. Sometimes, honestly, whatever it is is not a negotiable thing for them. It’s the way they see it, it’s how they are, and at times like that, it’s best to (and I’m generally okay with) agree to disagree. As long as folks can be civil about it and understand that a new boundary has been erected in the relationship, it’s all good. However, sometimes it’s not like that at all. Sometimes, it’s an excuse or a demand or an ultimatum. Somebody thinks they can do whatever the heck they want, and you can just suck it up and deal with it, or else. Lame, lame, lame.

And I’ve yet another objection. Once in a while, somebody says that because they’re really stuck, and even though they want something different, they believe that they cannot change. What a heartbreaker that is. It’s a lie, a great, huge, ogre-ish lie. If God can create this whole world out of the void, He can change you. If He can take a single man and turn him into a people that flourishes today, He can change you. If He can raise dead folks and make ’em living, I’m pretty sure He can help you. The lame walk. The blind see. Lepers are healed.

Come, friend, and be changed.