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my problem is _____________

My problem is ___________

How would you feel in the that blank?

Seriously, finish the sentence with the word that first comes to your mind.

My problem is ___________

Many times, but not always, we identify the problem as out there.  My problem is the person I work with, the government, the system, my family, my church and/or a whole host of other things.  It is easy to name the things that are not working that are outside of us.

We own and worry about things that are outside of our control.  We focus our energy and imagination trying to solve problems that are not ours to solve.

This effort is not only fruitless but it is extremely tiring.  It wears us out to attempt to fix what is not ours to fix or own.

This is what I have found:

Many times identifying a problem out there is easier.  I can get mad at it, them, or ‘those people’.  I can get really worked up.  Expend lots of energy.  Most of the time I find this reality to be true:  the problem – the anger, frustration, and worry – has roots within me.

The problem is ‘in here’ not ‘out there’.  Please understand there are valid concerns ‘out there’ and they need people to help and lead to bring change.  But we can not lead out there until we face what is inside of us because until we face the problem within we only cause more confusion in the problems out there.

I challenge you today, if have been in a rut where the problem out there is so large and looming it has overshadowed you.  Or you have fought and fought, but have found no relief with the things ‘out there’.

Then, turn your gaze inward.  Examine your heart.  Examine your actions.  Examine your motives.  See what needs to be adjusted, corrected, changed on the inside.

Don’t fall into the trap of always seeing the problem outside of you.  The wise person knows that every room they walk into, they bring themselves and their stuff.

Be mindful of your stuff.  Don’t let avoid the stuff on the inside because your eyes are so focused on the stuff ‘out there’.

A prayer from Psalms 19:12-14 that helps when looking inside:

But can anyone know what they’ve accidentally done wrong?

Clear me of any unknown sin and save your servant from willful sins.  Don’t let them rule me.

Then I’ll be completely blameless;

I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.

Let the words of my mouth

and the meditations of my heart

be pleasing to you,

Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Vigilant in all things,


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