Personal Paralysis

20 Mar

Lately, I’ve been considering this quote quite a bit:

“If you just once give up everything for the Lord Christ you will never again be in chains. If you walk away from everything–just once in your life– you will be able to do it again.” — Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I came across this quote while browsing through my many blog subscriptions. One blog I’ve been subscribed to for awhile is Conversion Diary. I found it while searching for blogs that dealt with topics related to converting to Christianity in adulthood. While my path is similar to hers in some ways, in others it is quite different. Most notably, I am not Catholic. Anyway, this quote was posted a couple of weeks ago on her quick takes page and I’ve been fascinated with it ever since. I have trouble walking away from things. Even toxic situations. I seem to experience what I’ve dubbed “personal paralysis” in regard to those sorts of situations. I freeze up when faced with the agonizing choice of having to choose. “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” plays in the back of my mind and somehow, whatever situation I’ve found myself in suddenly seems not quite as bad as I imagined it to be.

I’ve known of many people who have this innate ability to walk away from just about anything with nary a thought of the consequences. I envy those sorts of people who aren’t driven by details and don’t split hairs over the infinitesimal and the inconsequential. I’ve spent most of my life watching those around me make the same poor choices over and over again. As a young adult, I vowed never to make the same mistakes. I wanted to be wise, to always do the right thing, to not be guided by my own feelings or worse yet, swayed by the opinion of someone else.

Yet instead of being freed by the powers of righteousness, I’ve found myself trapped in the quagmire of self-doubt and paralyzed by indecision on numerous occasions. I’m a shell of whom I envisioned myself becoming. I can’t walk away from some people and things…yet I desperately want to do better in life. I’m slowly learning that being right (being convinced and convicted that I am doing the right thing) is not the same thing as being righteous. And that’s a painful sting to my ego, if you know what I mean.

Doing what I think is right is not always a good thing, and what I think is right is very often quite wrong. I try to intervene and play peacemaker within my life, thinking that I can somehow make things better. I want to spare everyone (including myself) from pain. I don’t want to be bitter, and I hate getting hurt. That is why I avoid change and become paralyzed at the prospect of having to make a decision.

I try to imagine walking away from the burdens that have pressed down on me in order to walk towards Christ. Whereas I can’t seem to make peace in my life or the lives of those around me, He can. It is difficult to walk away from a situation when you are uncertain of how things will turn out. Ultimately, we are called to trust in Christ, not ourselves and sometimes that means that we trust his judgement instead of our own…even if we don’t like what he has decided. That’s the hard part right there. Being at peace with a decision when you can’t even begin to understand it.

One Response to “Personal Paralysis”


  1. audio: “one last thing” (how to try to stop agonizing) « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality - 04/04/2012

    […] Personal Paralysis ( […]


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