As I walked down from the deck on the back of our house, I noticed a hole under the bottom step. Since we regularly have them as unwanted visitors, and their habits are now familiar, it was clear an armadillo was the culprit. It had spent some time digging to get behind the steps. I don’t know if the critter hoped to find a good hiding place or thought there might be a better food supply available.
I chuckled when I thought about it, because the steps are open on each side. If he had walked two feet over either way, he could have simply gone around and ended up in the same location with a lot less trouble. I wondered if he worked and worked, made it through, and felt a surge of triumph (maybe a fist pump and a YESSSSSS! or a little dance with his front paws in the air like “Rocky” at the top of the steps). Then, he looked around, saw the open sides and slapped his forehead: “Duh! I coulda’ just gone around!” Most likely, that didn’t happen. Most likely, he didn’t learn a thing.
I can fall into the same mode of thinking as that armadillo. A task needs doing and sometimes I take off in the first direction I think of. Often, a little pondering (as I like to say) and looking around would provide an easier solution.
A second problem with the “first thought” approach is that once I get started, it’s hard to stop or change direction. (“I’m gonna do it my way if it kills me!”) That could just be a “man” thing, but I think I’ve seen women operate that way too – so it could be a “human” thing.
So, as we face our next problem, what should we do to avoid “armadillo thinking”?
- Take a little time to ponder. Take a little time to pray. Pondering and praying go well together.
- Get some guidance – others who have faced the same problem can provide encouragement and sensible advice, and God’s Word is always our best resource.
- Choose the direction or method to pursue – inaction rarely solves a problem (although that’s sometimes my first response, it never works). So, with prayer and guidance, we need to choose a course of action and go.
- Continue observing progress and be ready to stop or change direction if prudent – as we follow our plan, we can find new information or encounter obstacles. If we need to make changes in our plan, that’s the time to do it.
In closing, we can add one more: If, after awhile, we end up slapping our forehead and saying:”Duh! I coulda just gone around!” – we can chuckle a bit at our oversight, learn from it, and take it with us as we continue to the next step we need to take (or go under or around).
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:26 ESV