You might not believe it but I was pretty good at basketball back in the day. For me, sadly, my glory days were not college. Not even high school. My glory days for sports were middle school. Yeah, I know. Shut up.
I still remember losing games and a friend of mine would always blame it on the refs. If he had a terrible game he’d blame the refs. And then I’d hear his parents after the games blaming it on the refs. I remember thinking back in middle school that we wouldn’t have had to blame the refs when it came down to the last seconds if we hadn’t gotten ourselves in that neck-and-neck situation to begin with. But the refs were justification for the loss. It was a crutch to lean on instead of having to take the blame.
Everyone has a crutch. A crutch is something you can lean on and blame for your life’s outcomes not being what you say you want them to be. They are excuses. They are training wheels that we never took off our bicycles.
Maybe some of these crutches sound familiar:
“I yell and cuss at my family but that’s because my father did it to me growing up.”
“No wonder she’s more successful than me, she had rich parents who paid for everything.”
“Sorry I never got back to you. I’ve been so busy.”
What do you find yourself going back to as an excuse for your unhappiness? What areas do you see other people succeed in that make you angry? What happens when you see someone do something you are doing, but they do it better than you?
If anything is coming to mind, that’s probably a good indicator of a crutch you have been leaning on. Crutches show up all the time. They usually make big scenes at pity parties.
They are a result of insecurities. They are also a result of pride.I’ve found that insecurity and pride are not opposites of each other. In fact, they pretty much walk hand-in-hand.
It works like this: Your insecurity will tell you that you’ll never get the lead in the play because you’re not good enough, but your pride tells you that you deserve it because you’ve worked hard.
I’ll tell you this much—nothing exposes your insecurities like jealousy.
We tend to be people who never have enough. We’re insatiable. We’re constantly blasted on TV and the Internet with the amount of stuff that other people are getting. No one posts pictures of empty rooms. And when we feel like we don’t have enough or we aren’t enough, we reach for our crutches. Our justification for what we’re lacking.
The Apostle Paul had a crutch. In 1 Corinthians 12 he said he was given a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know for sure what exactly it was, but we know that it wasn’t pleasant to endure. But instead of continually coming back to it as a reason for not doing the things he wanted to do, he found that it could be used for his good. It could be used for his progress instead of his restraint. It ended up being something he put on display and used to move forward. He said that the thorn ended up being what made him stronger because he could see Christ’s perfect power in a way he never could have before.
I’m not against empathy or sympathy at all. Surely there are times to grieve and times to be weak. It’s part of life, and I believe that some of the wounds of our past are meant to stay with us to be motivators and catalysts to help other people and to also change our own lives. But I also think that we all may have some crutches we have been leaning on for far too long.
There comes a point when our crutches just won’t cut it as good excuses, and those points tend to come quite quicker than we’d like. Feeling sorry for yourself never gets you anything but a couple of pints of ice cream that you end up wishing you would have never eaten.
How long have you been on your crutches? How long have you said the same lines that your friends could quote back to you? How long have you been unhappy just ‘cause? Stop letting someone’s happiness be what causes your own unhappiness.
I think it’s time we start breaking some crutches and start standing on our own two feet. Take responsibility, and then take action. Leave the crutches on the ground instead of letting them keep you there, too.