Yesterday was a perfect day to play in the mud. It had rained all morning, and the dirt was ready to jump in, get stuck in, and get nice and dirty in! My kids LOVE to play in the mud. The good part about the mud (for kids), is that it is fun, sticky, and messy. The bad part about the mud, it is dirty, you can often get stuck, and it is messy!
As I stood there and watched them, I couldn’t help to think about how many times I have been “stuck in the mud.”
Sometimes I have chosen to get into the mud by my own doing, but other times I have turned around and found myself in the mud and didn’t even realize it until I was already knee deep. Sometimes it is my own mud, and sometimes it is the mud of the world.
I see the “mud” as the hard times we face. The struggles we go through. The relationship issues that may come up in our lives. The tough things at work. The financial struggles, the parenting struggles, the marriage struggles, or even just a place of emotional turmoil. We. Get. Stuck.
Now if you are like my kids in the mud, you often will try to throw the mud. Sometimes at each other, and sometimes on yourself. You also may push and wrestle and play until you find yourself covered in the mud. Sometimes you stay down in the mud because it just seems easier than the slippery climb of getting up.
Wow – isn’t that life? When we are doing through something, how often do we throw our “mud” on someone else or have their mud thrown on us. I don’t mean intentionally, but we often find ourselves covered in other people’s problems, or we cover others in our own. Maybe we put blame on others that have nothing to do with our situation, but we do it so that we won’t be in the mud alone. Have you ever just sat down in the “mud” and stayed put because that is what you know? Maybe getting out of the mud seems a bit too daunting or unsure? We all do it.
We fear that we will mess up, or slip back in. We fear that we are being judged. We fear there is no grace.
Here is a key factor about this mud. The only way out of the mud is to REACH out. You can’t just try to wiggle out and expect to get very far. You have to get one foot or hand completely out of the mud and onto dry land to gain some traction. You have to decide that you are done playing in the mud, and you are ready to get cleaned up. Sometimes you need help out. Sometimes you need someone to push you out. Sometimes you need someone to pull you out. BUT – Once one foot is on dry land, you have a better chance of taking another step to get your whole body out of the slippery slope.
Now my kids know the next step of getting out of the mud, and that is the cold, freezing, water from the HOSE! They are not going in the house covered in mud, they have to first go through the painful “initial cleaning”. It’s cold and rough, but it does the job. Once they have their first wash down, now they can go into the warm, cozy, sudsy, clean bath inside!!
Getting out of the mud and getting cleaned up is not always pain-free. In fact, it can hurt and be uncomfortable. BUT once we are out of the mud and cleaned up a bit, we find that being stuck in the mud is not as fun as we thought.
Whatever your “mud” is today, I challenge you to reach out and step out. You may need pushed out of the mud, or pulled out to get to dry ground. Mud can be fun at first – but we always end up dirty. The cleaning process is not always fun or easy – but when we choose to go a new direction in our life, ask forgiveness, forgive ourselves, then we can stop getting stuck in the mud, and start living again!
Will I let my kids play in the mud again? Absolutely.
Will I get stuck in my own mud again – most likely.
However, each time, I hope that I learn a little bit more about how not to get quite as stuck as the last time! Grace, forgiveness, and reaching out….one day at a time.
–Rachel Curtis, P31 Fitness Founder