Guest Author: Ben Rose
Circumnavigating the Island could be hurting you more than you think.
Before we move on, let's define these terms:
Circumnavigate: A nautical term for circling around an object or an obstacle. A way to avoid facing an issue head on.
Island: An issue, weakness or secret in your life that you know you need to deal with head-on. (Don’t think tropical island, think of Admiralty Island outside my hometown of Juneau, AK. It has one brown bear per square mile)! The island could represent anything that gets in the way of you living according to your values.
The island in my life was an addiction that I had been keeping secret for over 2 decades.
This addiction was a weakness in my life that I was too scared to deal with head on, too ashamed to be honest about and too embarrassed to ask for help. I would lie, exaggerate, spin the facts for a desired outcome, gossip, manipulate with anger…this is by no means an exhaustive list but you get the picture. I circumnavigated the island, knowing that I needed to cross but always told myself that I would deal with it the next time it came up. The next time became the next time became the next time, until the promises to myself became hollow and void of real meaning, let alone real action.
Delaying finally caught up with me in a big way:
I was fired from my job when I could no longer hide the addiction as it spiraled out of control. My dad used to say,
“Sin will take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay and cost you more that you are willing to pay.”
How true is that?
The reality is that you can’t circle forever, there will be consequences
I had finally had enough. I was exhausted from paddling around this island. I was emotionally fried. It had cost me my job, put my marriage in jeopardy, and had taken a toll on everyone that I loved and cared about.
It was time for this boat to come ashore and for me to face this thing head on. I was done with lying to my wife, having to cover my tracks, delete my browsing history, being angry with myself and others and having a perpetual sick feeling in my stomach. I was done living a lie and was ready to be the husband, dad, pastor and business man that I was created to be.
I made a decision to change and took steps I had never taken before, no longer around the issue, but straight across my Island.
What does the island represent for you?
What is hindering your productivity, your capacity? What is holding you back from reaching your full potential, your destiny?
Lets look at how circumnavigating the island could be hurting you.
It requires lots of extra effort, time and energy to avoid crossing the island. There is a lack of productivity when you are living incongruent from your values. When you are hiding or avoiding something, you have to use distraction methods. You may have to overcompensate in an area, lie, exaggerate up or down in order to keep the secret hidden. This causes us to always be preoccupied and not able to be present in the moment.
We only have so much mental, relational and emotional capacity as humans.
We have to be very aware how we budget it. When I double click the home button on my iPhone I see all the apps that are running in the background. The more apps open the more it drains my battery and slows down my operating system. The same is true with us.
When our lives become cluttered with secrets and hiding, it becomes a constant drain on our energy and causes us to be ineffective.
Crossing the Island is all about becoming the person you want to be.
The person that you know you were meant to be. This is about living congruent with your values, being a person of character and integrity. It’s about being free on the inside to be able to do what you’ve been placed on this earth to do.
The truth is, the very thing you've been trying to avoid, trying not to think about, trying to ignore is the very thing that when faced will help propel you into your destiny.
How do you cross?
Here are some steps to get you started on your journey, and to help you keep going when it gets tough:
- Just Start. Stop procrastinating. No more saying words like, “next time”.
- Confession. Be 100% transparent. Crossing the island begins with letting the light into the dark hidden corners of our lives. Nothing that we desire for our life grows in the dark!
- Accountability. Find someone that you can be 100% honest with. You can’t do this on your own. Tell a mentor. Join a recovery group. Get counseling. Face this thing head on.
- Take a Sober assessment of self. Be 100% honest with yourself. Don’t try and convince yourself that you can do this thing alone. Don’t try and convince yourself that you’re strong enough now to go back to ANY of the old bad habits or thought patterns.
- Commit to the Process. Island crossing is not an overnight event. I had spent many years in addiction and had to retrain my brain. It was a process of confession and transparency.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. It’s going to happen, it’s a process, remember? Get back up and keep going.
You may feel that no one else is dealing with issues on the same level that you are.
That is a lie. You’re not alone. We all have issues and weakness. My hope for you today is that you would take a sober assessment of self and begin to row your boat towards the shore of the island.
Is it hard? Yes.
Is it scary? Yes.
Is it worth it? Yes!
Crossing and circumnavigating are both hard. One will lead to bondage while the other leads to freedom.
The question For you is:
Will you continue to circumnavigate and lose out on productivity, limit your capacity and ultimately compromise your destiny? Or will you decide to confront it and cross it?
Living a life free of secrets and lies makes the sky a little bluer and the grass a little greener. I am a better husband, father, pastor and business man.
I have by no means arrived but I can now say that I’m an island crosser.
Originally from Juneau, AK, Ben Rose is a pastor at The Collective Church. He is also an accomplished videographer, entrepreneur, and media director. He lives in Portland, OR with his wife Heather and three kids.