Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hell's Half Acre

HELL'S HALF ACRE – Is an expression I have heard many times. One could say it is a bit of a slang phrase. “Oh she is driving all over hell’s half acre.” Once we drove to California and 'we took a wrong turn and ended up driving all over hell’s half acre trying to find the right road.'

I decided to look up the phrase. To my surprise, I did not find much information about it. What I did learn is that 'hell’s half acre' has been referenced to a place in California and a place in Texas. It is also described as being a wild, desolate, or dangerous place. You may be wondering why I have been thinking about that phrase? Or Maybe you couldn’t give a hoot because you are too busy trying to find your way out of your own hell’s half acre? Many a time, I’ve felt lost in that little parcel of land.
Since I have experienced this myself, I recognize many other people spinning their wheels on their travels. I can envision the dry dusty road, the air, a cloud of dirt seeping into the car’s air vents, windows down and the driver spitting out the dust. Their optical vision is somewhat obscured from the dust and cracks on the windshield.  It can be a dangerous place many of us get lured into. Once we take up residence there, it can be very difficult to escape. For some reason, I always equate the word hell to go hand-in-hand with the devil. The devil is that big, mean, ugly dude, who many imagine to be dressed in red with pointed horns protruding from his head and standing with a pitch-fork in hand, trying to intimidate us to never leave that parcel of land.
In my reality, that devil has a name and is very real. He does not wear a red super-man suite but actually comes in many disguises. Some of which are quite inviting, deceiving, or shall I say enticing? One particular weapon used against every human being is called busyness. His subtle ways of working within our lives, whispers into our deepest weaknesses and tells us we have to do this or do that, until there are so many things to do, we couldn’t possibly have enough time to get them all done. At the end of the day we fall into bed, tossing and turning thinking about the next day’s events. Morning comes and we get back into that car and drive the rubber onto the roads, doing all the things we think we must get done. That makes me ask myself, who is really in the driver’s seat? Maybe a question we all need to ask ourselves?
It occurred to me the other day that there is a word in our vocabulary which is often difficult for some of us to say. I remember my children at a very young age had no problem saying the word NO. I think it was the first word they learned. In fact, that little two letter word can have such an impact on how long we drive all over hell’s half acre. I think many times we don’t do ourselves or others any good service by not saying NO. I'll label it as being the Mr. Nice Guy or Christian Nice Girl syndrome. I am beginning to think that other people see those titles written on our foreheads and some people abuse people for their niceness.
I’m learning a very difficult lesson, but it is actually very freeing and good for my sanity (emotional well-being) and my physical health. What I have been learning is actually better for the relationships in my life. I’m learning the word NO. That little word NO may disappoint other people in the initial response, but in the end it will be better. When you do say yes, they will appreciate your efforts. When you say, NO, they will learn to understand that NO does not mean never.  It simply means that today, I cannot do that one thing. How about tomorrow we arrange to do that? Or maybe for today, you will have to ask someone else, because today, I’m driving some place else.  I’m leaving ‘hell’s half acre’ behind. I love you, but I'm going to drive through the gates from slavery into freedom.  I’m not going back.  Think of it as putting on a life jacket. How can you save someone else if you run yourself ragged trying to please everyone else? For Christian’s reading this blog. I know many have been taught to always be nice to everyone. Your being nice can actually give people the freedom to abuse your niceness. Think about this. . . . There are many examples where Jesus, may not come across as so nice. A quote for women – from No More Christian Nice Girl – written by Paul Coughlin & Jennifer D. Degler . Don’t let the title fool you. The book talks about being good which is better than being nice.
Here is the quote from No More Christian Nice Girl:
“Though Jesus was not a model of compliance or “good behaviour,” often women try to put a positive, nonthreatening spin on everything he did, acting like public relations spokes women covering for a bungling political candidate. They end up doing damage control for the Son of God – and damaging themselves in the process. Fortunately, Jesus Christ doesn’t need damage control or help from an image consultant. As presented in the Gospels, Jesus is most definitely not one-sided. He is the complete embodiment of healthy, balanced human personality; thus, Jesus is immensely compassionate, kind, and gracious while also being assertive, forceful, and firm when necessary. He is good, but he’s definitely not “nice” or as safe as many Christians want to believe.” There is so much more.
                Please don't get all freaked out about that one paragraph you just read. I’m not disrespecting Jesus. I'm just encouraging you to look at both sides of who Jesus is and who we are to be. I've been learning it is best to first have a parallel relationship with God. (Me and Him) and then the horizontal relationships follow, but find the balance. Enjoy the journey and quit wasting time driving around 'hell’s half acre.' Don’t let that devil steal your joy, peace, strength any longer. You have permission to say NO once in a while. Spend some time doing what is best. I think deep down in your Spirit, you will know what that is. If you don’t, ask Jesus. Prepare to receive a good answer but not necessarily one that feels nice. Enjoy your new found freedom.