D.H. Lawrence said, “Sometimes snakes can’t slough. They can’t burst their old skin. They go sick and die within the old skin.”
We are like a snake. As soon as our old ways outlive their usefulness, something in us dies when we do not grow new skin. If we have the courage to think honestly about ourselves, we can surely find at least one thing that is choking and smothering us.
Only you can decide whether you need more new skin. I offer some questions to help you decide.
How long has it been since you gave up some old habitual way of looking at life? Do you look at the opposite sex the same way you always have? What about other races? What about other religions? What about other nations and cultures?
Talk about a tight skin! If we have let others condition us and never questioned it, we are truly perishing inside that old dusty hide.
Look at your emotional buttons and ask: Did I install these buttons, or did others wire them up for me? Vernon Howard says, “Much of what we create is based on what we have been told. We are conditioned by our culture, parents, teachers and peers, and then we proceed to live our entire life out of that conditioning. ... Living our life in accordance with what we have personally realized is what freedom is all about.”
In my early 20s, I saw a book titled “The Age of Reason” in an Oak Ridge bookstore by Thomas Paine — truly one of our Founding Fathers. It did not cause me to toss away all my concepts, but it did fundamentally change the way I thought. It got me into some new skin. It gave me a faith balanced with reason because, for the first time, I used my own God-given reasoning power to think through some things. Any faith not based on your own reasoning and experiences is as useless as a milk bucket with a rusted-out bottom.
I remember one New Year’s Day when I had been deeply disappointed in a woman. I thought, “This will be my year to not believe anything any woman says to me.” Carry that thought out to its logical conclusion, and you have a man who cannot have any kind of healthy relationship with any woman.
Sometimes our own mind will help us burst out of old skins. In the throes of that negative attitude, the thought came, “Wasn’t your wonderful mother a woman? Don’t you believe she was honest with you? Isn’t your sister a woman, and hasn’t she been your most trusted and loyal friend? Isn’t your daughter a woman? Haven’t you often said you learned more from Frances Wyatt, one of your job supervisors, than you learned from any man you ever worked for?”
My friends, I came bursting out of that old attitude like a baby chick comes out of an eggshell! Thank God for giving us the simple power of reasoning!
Once a year is just right to look at our skins and see if there are some old attitudes we need to shuck to find more freedom, power and joy. And what better time to do it than Easter.
Roll back the stone! Grow some new skin.
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com