John’s uncle used to raise hogs. Going to the farm was always fun because this gal from suburbia hadn’t experienced these critters except in zoos or on a plate as bacon.
Quite different in their own space.
Pigs wallow in mud as a way of life. It’s purposeful, not playful.
As a kid, I thought pigs just loved dirt. They really need the mud. It’s for body temperature control, protection from parasites and the sun.
It’s for the wellbeing of the pigs. It’s part of who they are. Pigs have an instinct that this works for them. Those who don’t have places to wallow don’t thrive.
This got me to thinking about wallowing. Something I do when I’m feeling sorry for myself or angry about something I have no control over. I don’t find a mud hole, but I burrow deep into my own self-pity, allowing myself to focus on my own sadness and disappointment.
I’d never call that a good wallow.
I was in wallow mode the other day. Things coming up I don’t feel ready for. Expectations I didn’t think I could fulfill. I sat for a bit and felt the sense of despair roll over me. My head was full of negatives, my heart felt sad. I was totally self-focused.
At my very core, I felt more than heard the question, “Why?” My immediate heart response was, “Why not?” But I sat with the question a little longer. Thought about why I was feeling down, the circumstances that had brought me to that place. That stuckness I couldn’t seem to pull myself from.
I didn’t want to stay there. Didn’t want this to define me in the moment. This attitude, feeling, of despair and hopelessness. Over things that weren’t that big of a deal.
I remembered a verse in the Bible written by King David.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2
God didn’t want me in the mire and slime any more than I wanted to be there. But He recognized that’s where I go when I feel out of control. Chaos grabs my heart and bars peace from happening.
He doesn’t leave me there. If I look to Him, He will lift me out of the slime and mess. Pull me away from my stuckness. He’ll give me a place to stand on solid rock–His truth, hope and love.
To stay in wallowing mode takes away my hope to thrive. But if I see the wallow for what it is–a place where I’ve become so focused on me I can’t get away from myself–it can be a simple cooling off period. A time to see what’s going on and honestly deal with my junk. To turn to my only hope.
Wallowing for a time is our human condition. Lifting my arms to be pulled out of the mess by my God, the Rock, is a chance to redirect my focus on His truth.
We don’t have to live in the mud.