Time to Empty the Bleachers


It’ll be Spring in a few weeks. Although it’s going to be one major effort, I’m actually looking forward to Spring cleaning. It’s maybe the one time in the year (and when we have people coming over) that the house is really clean.

Because of the kind of person I am, and owing to a few recent incidents, I’m starting to wonder if a mental Spring cleaning is due as well. You know what I mean, don’t you? Maybe it’s time to get rid of a few people in my life.

Wait! Don’t get on your high horses and, “Gasp! I can’t believe she said that! And she calls herself a Christian!” because I may not mean what you’re thinking. But if I am, well, deal with it.

See, there are times when a person’s effect on me can be so negative I can hardly sit still agonizing over it. I definitely am not referring to annoying people who get on our nerves every once in a while. I’m talking about people whom we allow to sit on our mental bleachers, and by whose supposed judgment we do things.

Don’t we all have them? They’re like silent judges we allow into our thoughts. And when we have an idea, or we feel like doing something, or we don’t want to do something, we immediately think, “Yea. But what will so-and-so say?” Then we skip on that idea that could have turned out to be brilliant or we do something we regret and end up feeling bitter about.

I have some of them when I write. As I type the words, and when I go back later to edit, I delete or add sentences to appease these people on my bleachers. And I always hate myself for it afterward.

There are some things I wish I could do, but I haven’t because of certain people up there. Sometimes I feel like I’m protecting them. But really, when I think about it, I’m protecting myself. Somewhat vague? Not really. Think about it.

I once saw this dog running around someone’s front yard. I was amazed at how the dog would stop just before the sidewalk. Not once did it attempt to step past the borders. That was one trained dog, I thought. Not really. But that must have been some expensive invisible fence the owner had installed.

So I’ve allowed certain people to become my invisible fence. Here’s how they got the post, and not all of it started out bad:

For some, it was an unpleasant experience that resulted to some consequences I had to deal with. So I resolved never to have anything to do with them. That way, I won’t have to deal with any resulting drama.

For some, it was some major favor they did that I could never get over. So, as some way of repaying them, I gave them a bleacher seat. And whether they know it or not, they follow me every day.

For some, it was respect that got them there. It was their unconscious influence on me that earned them a spot on the bleachers. Most times, their influence is positive and provide the needed filter for many of the things I do and say.

For some, it was the classic case of a bull in a china shop. How to get rid of the bull? If I knew then they wouldn’t still be there.

So even though I already know, as Sara Groves sang, that “I live and breathe for an audience of One…” I still struggle to clear the bleachers. I don’t know why I do it to myself. Do you?

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