Author: Larry Dansky
You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run…..
So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26, 29-31.
We’ve all known of or been directly involved in tough situations where we had to wrestle with deciding what the best course of action might be. An abused wife stays with her husband, not knowing if she can make it without his salary. A young man or woman stays in a non-satisfying job not knowing what else is out there and whether they could make it on a lesser salary. A mother continues to financially support a son she knows is a drug addict, but is afraid to cut him off. A good friend frequently asks us to lie to cover for him, and although we want to help, we can see where this can end poorly with people getting hurt.
What is it that keeps us from taking action when we’re in difficult situations?
I think back to when I worked in a medical institutional setting that was not a good fit for me. I didn’t fit in, had a different approach to most of the work that needed to be done, and felt like I was resented by much of the staff. I did try to adjust, but on some level, I knew that I would never fit in, and yet I ended up staying for years. Why? I’ve come to believe that it was fear that kept me in that toxic workplace. Mostly, fear of not know what might be next for me if I left. I suspect that I’m not alone. Fear of the unknown can be a powerful determent to leaving a difficult situation. Rather than taking a chance on improving our situations, the fear of the unknown keeps us unhappy. We “hold them” until it’s too late to “fold them”.
I learned a lot through my workplace experience. I did finally leave the job, and although I felt lost for a few months, a much better situation presented itself and I was back to practicing rural family medicine. So I’ve learned to be more comfortable, and less fearful, of not knowing what’s to come. And anytime I need a reminder, I can read Matthew’s account of Jesus sending out his disciples with little more than the shirt on their backs on a dangerous mission to teach his gospel. His message to them (Matthew 10) is a message to me to not let fear determine my course of action.
Lord, when I fail to act out of fear of the unknown, remind me to trust in your care. If I find myself in a bad situation, help me to know when it’s time to fold them, to walk away, or even to run.