How to Tell If You’re Insane

Sometimes we’re so smart, we outsmart ourselves.
Have you ever done that?
We are a savvy people. No one can pull one over on us.
We’re informed. We comparison shop. We have consumer reports and the world wide web of research and resources at our fingertips.
We glory in all we know.
But, still, we fall prey to the most obvious deceptions
like this quote, often mis-attributed to Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, or Mark Twain: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
Sounds like wisdom
represents itself as wisdom
and I suppose it’s a useful slogan in its place – like a twelve-step program or with individuals stuck in an unhealthy habit
but it’s not scripture and it’s not applicable to every circumstance or situation
because that would negate the value of persistence.
In an age where the air is as heavy with deception
as a laundromat is with humidity
we are called to state the truth, represent the truth, and live the truth
even if every time, we see the same undesired result – rejection.
Many of the prophets who spoke God’s truth to His people prior to the destruction of Jerusalem knew that they would speak but the people wouldn’t respond.
That is a crap assignment.
But we do what He plans for us to do and we leave the results to Him.
Some of us will be called to speak and write even if it looks like no one is listening.
Some will be called to remain faithful when everyone around them is corrupt.
Some will be called to persist in hope when even children find their hope laughable.
“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 2:7-8
Don’t live by slogans
whose time will die.
Live by words that will endure – persist – abide.
Sometimes doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is not insanity –
it’s the mark of one who perseveres.

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12 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Oh, man, Lori! You’re killing sacred cows, now! 😉

    Thanks for pointing this out. Good to slay deception, whatever form it takes (bovine or not).

  2. Don’t get me wrong. The ‘encouraging’ click was because of the length of this post. 😉
    My favorite part = the air is as heavy with deception as a laundromat is with humidity. 😀

  3. Joe Crowley says:

    I like the way you turned that one on it’s head in a hurry!

  4. So, what I’m hearing is shorter posts! Same truth, fewer words. I’m all over it. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Persistence is admirable if we persist in God’s Word. If we persist in having our own way, expecting others to let us mold them in our image, we’re on the wrong track. I agree with your blog but I understand why the definition of insanity has been around for so many years. Persistence and stubbornness are are not twins! MOMMA

  6. potofmanna says:

    I get what you’re saying. I’m all for healthy persistance. But I’m going to keep using the quote for folks who seem bent on (tenatious carnal obstinance) repeating unhealthy behaviors and leaning on their victim status when things don’t turn out.

  7. So, Mom and potofmanna, what you’re both describing is sinful strongholds – not, necessarily, insanity. Willful stubbornness and repetitive misbehavior are the result of sin and selfishness. Call it that. Not insanity. Just sayin’

  8. Lori, Of course Scripture comes first. Doint what God would have us do whether we repeat it 1000 times comes first.

    However, the quote about doing the same insane behavior is ususally used to point out destructive behaviors. Dr. Phil and others also say, “How’s that working for you?” Both those sayings usually are used to point out excessive drinking, addiction to porn, staying with an abusive partner, living w/a guy who won’t marry you, getting pregnant for the second time out of wedlock. These expressions are useful in the world to point out this type of destructive behavior.

    Persistence in God’s Word falls into another category completely. If someone asked me how waiting on the Lord was working for me, I’d answer, “Great, really great.”

    • I believe that’s where the phrase originated, Nike, but too often now it’s used carte blanche in other circumstances and it carries the weight of authority of being attributed to famous thinkers. I work with the population you described all the time and I often use the phrase “How’s that working for you?” but I don’t use the flippant phrase about insanity because it’s been hijacked and overused to the point of uselessness with people in actual trouble. So, I get where the phrase originated and it’s limited usefulness in therapeutic setting for confrontation of destructive behavior but that’s not where I hear it utilized in the general population and it’s just a slogan – not something we can’t dispose of in order to remain in line with truth.

      It’s good to hear from people like you who are careful to distinguish their use of it but you rare.

    • I do understand what you mean. People use these phrases off the top of their heads but give them great credence.

      About doing the same old thing that’s not working and expecting different results…my question would be is it according to God’s laws. And I don’t mean that legalistically. Is what we’re doing according to the principles God has set down in His Word? Because if we’re walking in our own understanding, doing it our way it’s probably not going to work out too good…or it won’t work out too good for long.

      There is a manual on how we should live and be…if we’ll follow it, we’ll be OK.

  9. 10 plagues on Egypt, marching around Jericho and ducking in the Jordan come to mind…