Every week, a handful of folks from our church get together on Wednesday night to discuss the sermon the pastor preached on Sunday morning. It’s a fin time discussing what we got from the message and bringing up questions we have. At the beginning of our time together this last Wednesday, we realized that none of us had been to church on Sunday! It’s kind of hard to have a discussion about something none of us had heard. Regardless, we had some sermon notes, so we pressed on undaunted.
That turned out to be one of the best discussions time our group has had! We explored the section of scripture, discussed the questions it raised, which lead us to other sections in scripture. I was pleasantly surprised, because I wasn’t expecting it to go that well, since we were all seemingly inadequately prepared.
The thing that made our discussion go so well was that everyone “showed up” and contributed to the conversation with their questions, observations, and experience. What, at the beginning, looked like it could have been a flop, became an encouraging and engaging conversation; all because people contributed what they had to offer, regardless of how ill-prepared we might have felt.
Are there any areas you fill ill-prepared or inadequate? If so, I encourage you to acknowledge that, and offer up what you do have; to move forward regardless, instead of quitting canceling, or giving up.
Who knows, you might be surprised to realize a better outcome that you expect.
What would you say was the cause of a person falling off a cliff while trying to take a selfie? Bad luck? Bad timing? Lack of a proper barrier? Maybe. However, I think the cause is more likely something we’ve all been guilty of doing… not paying attention.
While our lack of attention may not cause us to fall off a cliff, it can have unintended consequence that that negatively impact our life. Think about something in your life where you’re not doing as well as you ‘d like. Now consider whether or not you’re paying attention in that area.
|If you’re falling short in your…
||You might not be paying attention to…
||How you’re communicating with your spouse or to the signals they are sending you.
||Changes or trends in your career field or to what you should be learning to stay current.
||The types of food you’re eating or amount of physical activity you should be doing.
||Where your money is going.
If we want to do well in an area of life, it requires our attention. Checking out and going on “mental autopilot” will not lead us anywhere great or significant.
Is there any area of your life where you’d like to make a positive change? If so, the good news is the change can begin as soon as you start paying attention.
Later this month my wife and I are going to take a long week to get away for a couple of day. I’ve been looking forward to this trip because it’s finally been sunny and warm in the Pacific Northwest, so I’ve been spending the last several days thinking how nice it will be to enjoy some sun while we’re gone. However, I just looked at the long range weather report and realize that it is forecast to be cool and rainy at our destination during the time we’ll be there. What a bummer!!
I have to admit that the weather report got me down a little. My expectations of warm sunny weather appear to be in jeopardy of colliding with the reality of several rainy days. I’m currently being reminded that there are things we control and others we don’t, and that I shouldn’t spend too much time concerned about the things I can’t control.
Ultimately I have a couple of choices:
- I can go on the trip as planed and adjust some of the things we were going to do toward more weather appropriate activities.
- I can pick a different destination that has more rain-friendly activities.
- I can decide to go at a different time when there is a greater likelihood of sun.
- I can go as planned and complain about the lack of sun.
I don’t see any value in that 4th bullet point, so I’ll scratch that option off my list.
The biggest thing I have control of in this situation is my attitude. Therefore, I’m choosing to focus on the positives, of which there are many:
- I still get to take some time away with my wife, which is fun no matter the weather!
- I’ve got plenty of options to come up with a good Plan B.
- Even with the rain, Plan A wouldn’t be all that bad.
In the process of writing this post, I’ve decided I’m not going to get frustrated by the potential weather that I can’t control. Instead, I’m going to focus on the things I can control in this situation; the biggest being my attitude. Over which I have complete control.
One of the easiest things to do is complain. We complain about what we have or don’t have. WE complain about how things aren’t fair, or how we are being taken advantage of, how forces are conspiring against us, or a zillion other things. As easy as complaining is, on its own, it produces little to nothings as far as results.
There’s nothing wrong with having a valid complaint. In fact, a valid complaint can be the starting point for significant change… if that complaint is follow up with action.
Think of some of the things you have complained about recently. Now ask yourself, “What did I do about it?” Di you just complain or did you cause something to happen (aka, take action) to bring about a better outcome? Did you:
- Register a formal complaint
- Make changes to your habits and behavior
- Offer your time, talent, or treasure toward a change
When we limit ourselves to complaining, we’re rendering ourselves helpless victims of forces happening to us. We have no power and we have no hope. However, when we follow up our complaints with actions toward positive change, we take control. We steer our lives where we want them to go versus just letting things happen to them.
Do you have any complaints that require action? If so, it’s time to decide what action you need to take in order to chart a course for your life that will lead you to a destination you want to go.