When Does a Rut Become a Grave?



I heard a pastor one time make this comment about the difference between a rut and a grave-“a rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out”. One day you look up from the daily fray of life and realize that you’ve spent years being someone you wished you weren’t. You ask yourself “how did I let this happen” and begin to believe that it “will never change”. Those are the words of death to the soul. Without hope that things can be different, despite what has happened, a rut becomes a grave. However, you don’t have to continue to believe the lies.

I have made this observation – as good as it is to plan, no master plan will ever be carried out exactly as developed. Look back at the last year of your life. Is there ANYTHING that happened that wouldn’t have been or wasn’t on YOUR master plan for the year? Undoubtedly the answer is a resounding “YES”!

As my wife and I look back one year ago, we didn’t know our son would be getting married this summer or that my wife’s father would die exactly one year after her mother died. Though I had begun to map out a course of leaving a large international ministry as a full-time missionary, I didn’t know exactly how that would look and certainly wouldn’t have concluded it would look like it does today. Now, before all of you task masters and list makers hyperventilate, I’m not saying its bad to plan. I am saying you need to hold your plans loosely and that if you’re at a point in life where you feel it will not get better, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring since you probably didn’t plan on being where you are at today.

This applies to all facets of life but, as a dad, it’s a critical truth to ponder. No matter where you find yourself in relationship with your children, you can start today to change that legacy. Don’t let the rut of not having spent as much time as you wished you had with your kids, going to more of their events, spending one-on-one time with them, not telling them you loved them and how proud you are of them, etc. keep you from being the dad you’re children need TODAY. It’s not too late. Don’t let the rut of not having been the dad you wished you had been keep you from being the dad you can be NOW. Age or time is not a factor. Forgiveness and reconciliation may be necessary to heal real wounds. Don’t die in your rut of fatherhood. Rise up and let this year be the year you filled in the rut of your life as a man and dad, and purpose to let God bring you hope and joy.

Here are some things that I’ve done that have helped me rise above the rut and fill in the trench of my life so I could begin or regain hope in my life.

1. Don’t believe the lie that it can’t get better. Begin to pray and ask God to heal your heart and to give you hope. It’s why he sent Jesus – his life, death and resurrection showed that sin and death were defeated so we would no longer be a slave to either. You have to start with hope that God can and desires to give you freedom from your sin and despairs.

2. Find a trusted friend that you can meet with to share the hurts you’ve experienced or even perpetrated as a man and/or father. Isolation is the enemy to hope and growth.

3. Find some great resources about being the man and father that you were created to be. Organizations like FamilyLife and Focus on the Family as well as All Pro Dad and Men’s Fraternity have some great books, group studies and other articles, podcasts, etc., that can help you develop and take the courageous next steps

4. Do something! Take one of the steps mentioned above or do something like… Call your child/children. Take them out. Text them. Send them a video message. Write them an old-fashioned hand written letter or card telling them you are thinking about them. But don’t just sit there. Maybe you have a very damaged relationship that will need a lot of time to heal. But, you can and should make the first overture as a dad to begin the healing process (this doesn’t take into account some legal or other significant barriers that may exist in some circumstances). The hardest step to take is the first one.

There is hope for every one of us. That hope is that we are made for a purpose and we were given the responsibility to pass on a Godly and positive legacy to our children. You may not have started well but YOU CAN finish well.  Hope is the dirt.  Get help in filling your rut.  Don’t let your rut become a grave.


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2 Responses to “When Does a Rut Become a Grave?”

  1. Bill Weatherford Says:

    I appreciate your insight. Fatherhood is hard work. Many of us men are not highly skilled in relationship building and we get easily discouraged when our efforts to be super dad fall flat as they often do. It is easy to get into a rut. Thanks for the reminder to start each day new and to not get mired down by past failures.

  2. Jeff Abramovitz Says:

    Thanks, Bill. It’s a lesson I learn daily, even with adult children. It’s easy to start thinking my job is done. But, fathering is a lifetime role and each phase is to be embraced and enjoyed! Appreciate your comments!

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