Last year I met a brother in Christ through a mutual friend. We ended up having lunch one day at Cracker Barrel to talk about different spiritual things we had on our mind. One of the stories he told me was something that he tells his kids. Early on in his parenting he would tell his kids when it was raining, “Don’t step in any mud puddles!” He soon realized that he couldn’t have given them better instructions to step in mud puddles. It seemed that his instructions was encouraging his children to step in mud puddles. How could this be? The instructions seem clear enough, but they were not producing the desired result.
He began to study and think about a different way to tell his children to avoid mud puddles. The answer he came up with was to tell them to stay on dry land. The next time it rained his children came back dry. They had not stepped in the mud puddles by changing the focus of the instruction.
The theory behind this is that the subconscious part of the mind does not differentiate between the positive or negative. In other words, the command “don’t” is not observed but the focus of mud puddles is. This is also seen when driving and hitting an icy spot that causes the car to lose control. Seasoned drivers know that where your eyes are looking while correcting is generally where you will end up. Wherever the focus is is where the results will be.
This applies to stopping destructive behaviors. I tell participants that I do not want them thinking about not using. I want them focused on the right things they need to do. This includes SFT homework, processing pain events and reading positive materials. It also includes spiritual things like prayer, reading scriptures, and surrounding yourself with Christian people. There are examples of people who attempt to do the very things I just listed but do not get results. Often this is because just doing those things are not the answer because it is being done simply to attempt to avoid mud puddles. It is not just about going to church more, but it is about falling in love with God. It is not about going through the motions, but it is about a complete change in our being that seeks God and His kingdom first in all things. (Matt 6:33) It is when He becomes the desire of our hearts that we find ourselves walking on dry land.