by Dr. Bill Austin
Most of us are familiar with the story of Exodus recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures. The story involves the deliverance of the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt. Before the slaves are freed, a series of plagues occurs as a contest between the God of the Hebrews and the gods of Egypt. In the midst of the plagues, there is a fascinating incident that illustrates what is so typical of many of us when it comes to making changes in our lives. The incident happens during the plague of frogs.
Frogs were everywhere. Pharaoh is up to his neck in frogs. Since he couldn’t do anything about the frogs because of his religion, he calls for Moses and asks him to remove them. Moses tells him what he needs to do: free the slaves. Pharaoh responds, “Tomorrow.”
What is so amazing is that Pharaoh had an opportunity to end his suffering but chose to put it off to the next day! The question comes to mind: How many frogs did he have to have before he would say, “Let’s do something about my problem and my pain now!”?
We lament and moan about how miserable the frogs are in our lives,
but nothing ever changes.
It is as if “confessing” them excuses our inaction
or takes care of our problems.
So we become experts on our frogs and on our problems!
Isn’t it amazing that even when we are up to our eyeballs in frogs, we find ourselves putting off what we know we need to do to make our lives better? It is like we are struck at what I call the “confession stage.” We lament and moan about how miserable the frogs are in our lives, but nothing ever changes. It is as if “confessing” them excuses our inaction or takes care of our problems. So, we become experts on our frogs and on our problems!
The question for us is: How many frogs do we need before we change? How long does everyone in our family have to suffer before we do something about our explosive temper? How long do we suffer with a spouse who demeans and puts us down before we stand up for ourselves? How many frogs do we need before we realize we have a drinking problem and need help? How bad does our life have to get before we do something to make our life better?
Why would we say “tomorrow” when we could find relief today? Perhaps some of the reasons we don’t do something about our frogs are: we believe we deserve the frogs; everyone lives this way; there is nothing we can do about them; expecting others to get rid of the frogs; fear of uncertainty, of losing control, of change, of losing self in the change; and lacking the desire to make the change.
Just think what we could be doing and how we could be spending our energy if we jumped off the lily pad and dealt with our frogs today!
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700