As each of us travel a new road of greater commitment to the Lord, we became aware of reactions in our lives that Larry and I began to call the “Railroad Tracks Syndrome.” This is when we say we believe one thing (usually the biblical, godly way) but our behavior reveals the opposite. Our claim of obedience is one of the rails on that railroad track and we think we’re living a “mono-rail” life. But the truth is, it’s a railroad track with two rails! And the other rail is the opposite of what we claim. 

For instance, as we gave lay counseling to “Grant,” it became evident that his need to be pessimistic proved he was more often trusting his own schemes instead. He pushed people away to make sure friendships didn’t create pain. All the while, he insisted that he trusted God. As a result, he wouldn’t face his sin and of course, then he couldn’t change. 

Let’s look at actual comments we’ve heard from others:

“Of course I trust God; but it’s no big deal for me to worry a little about something this important.” (The truth: God says “do not be anxious about anything” in Philippians 4:6-7, italics added.)

“Of course, I love my husband; but the only way he’ll be motivated to clean up the yard is if I nag him a little.” (The truth: God says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” in Philippians 2:14.)

“Of course, I have God’s power to do whatever he wants me to do; but I’m not so sure I could be a missionary to some third world country.” (The truth: God says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” in Philippians 4:13.)

We all have this Syndrome in our lives and it deceives us from being aware of our lack of trust in God. As a result, we develop a hardened heart that becomes resistant to change.

Recognizing our own Railroad Track thinking most often requires the insights of others or being open to some instruction through books, sermons, or counseling. Most of the time we are too blinded to them because we’re thinking we’re right. Being open to being willing to change means having a teachable heart that hears and considers the opinions of others. God may indeed want to use friends and family to help you see your blind spots. Are you willing to do that? Does your gratitude for the grace you’ve received motivate you to risk and face all that God wants you to face?
(This is an excerpt from our new book, Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today (Leafwood Publishers) which offers Christians hope that they can change their destructive patterns of behavior through identifying their sinful self-protective strategies and then being empowered to trust God instead. )