Don Cobb
The Miracle: Lead, follow, or get out of the way...
By Don Cobb
June 20, 2009

The miraculous process of restoring sanity to an insane person has to start with the humble admission that one's thinking has perhaps become askew. The evidence commonly includes being divorced and so unable to raise your own children, being incarcerated, drug and/or alcohol addicted, being abusive to your spouse or children or abused by them, homelessness, or being trapped in obsessive or negative thinking and/or compulsive behavior. I think we'll all agree that sound thinking doesn't typically facilitate circumstances I just listed. Collectively speaking, however, many people's life experiences include situations such as these. That's because collectively speaking, America is fairly insane right now.

For those of you who aren't so offended that you stopped reading already, let me expand on that. One of the dynamics of Human behavior is when we are in groups we tend to gravitate to the lowest common denominator. Our personal principles take a back seat to behavior which we find unacceptable in our own lives, yet we say nothing when others cross those lines which we've drawn for ourselves. Profanity is a perfect example. Perhaps our personal foundation doesn't include profanity and because we find it offensive and/or crude, we've gone so far as to teach our children that it's wrong and punish or correct them if they use foul language. When gathered with other people, however, we suddenly become quiet about things which we find important to us. Timidity appears to be the posture of the day when someone who embraces crude talk and lewd behavior stretches out and makes their lack of principles known to all within earshot.

I've watched it a thousand times, and have even been guilty of it myself, as the entire group either quickly or slowly joins in on the crude language as we collectively gravitate to the lowest common denominator, the unprincipled, undisciplined, commonly insensitive and self-centered individual.

Growing up in America has been quite the adventure. Like most of us, enthusiastically Liberal through my high school years and twenties, then growing up and waking up in my thirties to recognize what "an open mind," "personal responsibility" and "humility" really mean, I've embraced a more conservative approach to life since then. That is, I no longer subscribe to the liberal "If it feels good do it" lifestyle. After watching some of my friends die from reckless behavior and drug overdoses, and watching their children growing up without the benefit of having Mom and Dad to raise them due to dying or divorce, seeing the kids suffer from an unbalanced and uncertain lifestyle helped snap me out of the liberal stupor that commonly accompanies youth. It was easy to ascertain that the children were picking up the tab thanks to parents who lacked the humility and perseverance and self-discipline and ability to truly love one another. Divorced dads typically move on with their lives, creating new families and having new children, sometimes seeing the kids from their broken marriage on weekends, and some of them abandoning their first round of children completely. Moms almost always set out to find new 'daddies' for their children, seemingly completely unaware that their children already have a dad and their children would likely never see a new "daddy" as their father.

Without going on and on and on again, my point is, once again, that unprincipled living commonly results in selfishness, self-centeredness, failed or strained relationships, oftentimes accompanied by offensive, illegal and/or lowbrow behavior, the pursuit of lower companionship and personal problems which can appear to be insurmountable and unchangeable. That is, people who have embraced a selfish, self-centered lifestyle usually consider themselves "victims" of the mythological "They," as in "If only 'they' wouldn't have done that" and "They don't know who they're dealing with" or "They don't know what they're talking about," "They can't do that to me" and "They never gave me a chance." The excuses are endless when "they" are responsible for our plight. The truth is, however, that "they" are not responsible for our plight. We are.

We adults are responsible for our lives. We make the decisions that result in our children growing up with their father in the home, or not. We are responsible for our children's needs being met, or not being met. We are responsible for missing important opportunities in our lives due to our own lack of principles which always — yes, ALWAYS — results in self-centeredness and sometimes self-obsession. We are responsible for dreams unfulfilled. We are responsible for where we are in our lives, no matter what hand was dealt to us in the beginning. We are responsible for being stuck in careers we don't even like and for being in relationships which are abusive and/or cold. We are responsible for everything about our lives which we do not enjoy and we are responsible for changing our lives because there is a way to change our lives, if only we'd become humble enough to go there.

The challenge is that we lack the power and the wisdom to actually facilitate the kinds of change which would be necessary in our hearts and minds in order to change our lives from that of struggle into lives filled with victories and blessings and hope and love. We cannot change ourselves. (Sorry if you think we can change ourselves, I simply disagree completely and this is my column, after all ;-) Any attempts at changing ourselves from selfish to selfless are always brief and temporary, at best. We haven't the power to change our personalities. We don't commonly have the discipline required to turn our focus from inside (feelings and thoughts) to outside (seeking God and helping others). And our society demands that we become like "them" — selfish, self-seeking, self-worshipping and empty. That is what the lowest common denominator drags us all down toward. That is, unprincipled living always results in selfishness and self-centeredness, and Self is virtually never powerful enough to manifest the joyful life that most of us seek, unless we lower the bar and settle for a Boloney Sandwich Life rather than a Filet Mignon Life.

In fact, when we ignore our Creator, which many Americans have taken to doing over the past forty years, we limit our opportunities, our dreams, our power and our abilities, and likely end up either gravitating toward the lowest common denominator folks in our lives, or becoming the lowest common denominator to those around us. We sell ourselves short when we ignore the One who has all power and embrace the delusion that somehow "we" are responsible for our little world's being how they are. We didn't create our lives. We didn't decide when our lives began and we don't decide when our lives will end. Yet, left to our own devices, many people ignore the One who created them who makes all those decisions for us. It really is insanity, if you think about it.

Selfish people start comparing themselves to other people, and because we all fall short of perfect and because none of us naturally have a real and clear view of ourselves, our little egos commonly become big egos as we become like turds comparing themselves to other turds. Completely oblivious and unaware of who really should be admired, we euphemistically ignore the dog who laid these turds. You've seen it and I've seen it. Big fish in little ponds, all puffed up and enthralled with themselves, surrounded by smaller, less aggressive fish who envy and feed (love/hate) Big Fish's ego, all of them stuck in self-reliance and open or secret narcissism. I've heard "ego" described as an acronym for "edging God out," and it is clearly an apt description.

Mat 15:14 "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." While folks are busy worshipping the self-centered, self-promoting, faithless shills who are currently posing as our political leaders, yet another generation of children are virtually raising themselves. With the help of the internet and their neglected and parentless friends, another generation is launching into the same loveless and obsessive self-worship modeled for them by their parents. Idolizing dysfunctional behavior and dirt, and sacrificing real Truth for their overvalued opinions (aka "my truth/your truth"), it seems that only the humble and those whose lives have burned to the ground or who have been figuratively slammed to the mat have awakened from the drunken stupor that Liberalism causes. "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth" said the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the most important man and significant individual who ever lived. Words of wisdom, and words to live by. Then why is America ignoring this wisdom? Why, in fact, is America obsessed with Self and worshipping dysfunction and crime and rebelliousness? Who is it that has stolen America's virtue, is killing her spirit and who has destroyed any semblance of moral character in the public sector?

Who was it again who came to steal, kill and destroy? Is it any wonder that many have collectively turned their backs on God and embraced all that His Word warns us about? Is it any wonder that our nation is now bankrupt financially, morally, spiritually and personally?

Ah, but I must be careful not to focus on the negative. Amen? "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." The Miracle is a process in which the spiritually, emotionally and personally lost embrace the truth about life, about themselves and about the world around them. It starts with an honest and forthright personal assessment, which must lead to an intense inventory of one's motives, behavior and Self. Consider this a good start, and a step in the right direction.

("The Miracle" is an ongoing series of articles by Don Cobb regarding the process through which an individual and/or a group of individuals or even a nation get and stay right-side up. Addiction, sexual, life, social or relationship issues, regardless how deep or serious, are all resolved through this miraculous transformation.)

© Don Cobb


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Don Cobb

Don Cobb, RAS is an addiction recovery professional and serves as Executive Director for North Bay Recovery Services in Sonoma County, CA. Don recently published a book entitled 12 Steps: NOT For Dummies... (more)


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