I laugh when I look back at things that seemed like such a big deal in the moment, but are soon forgotten. Like the time I tried to put in a sprinkler system in my yard. It seemed so simple and made perfect sense on paper, until I actually set about the task. After renting a ditch witch (that I didn’t even know how to operate) I proceeded to tear up my lawn in a failed attempt to dig trenches for the sprinkler lines. I addition, I also broke off my main water line to the house at the meter while attempting to connect the sprinklers to water. What a mess!
Needless to say, I was pretty anxious and discouraged in that moment, and for several moments beyond. I had a hard time seeing past the big expensive-looking mistake I had just made and was worrying about I would get it corrected.
Fortunately, I was able to get things rectified. The plumber came out and fixed the main water line, and a local landscaper came out and took over where I left off. Never before have I been happier to pay for someone’s services! Everything worked out, and before long, my discouragement and frustration were a distant memory.
I think back to my sprinkler event whenever I find myself experiencing a similar “adventure”. This memory is important in that it helps me not to become anxious or fall into needless worry. When I think back now about how much worrying I did over the sprinkler situation, it seems like such a waste of time. I don’t want to waste time like that because it doesn’t achieve anything. Mathew 6:27 sums it up well for me, “Can anyone of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?” I know I can’t.
Dale Carnegie also has several good thoughts on worrying. One of my favorites is, “Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.” I like the premise in this statement that we decide how much anxiety or worry we give something, and we can choose to give it less.
I hope you’ve got some “adventures” of your own, where in the moment they seemed like such a big deal, but after you worked through them, you now wonder why you worried so much. If you do, use those memories to help regulate your anxiety when the next adventure occurs. We’ve got better things to do with our lives besides parking in worry’s driveway.
This week a good friend from church told me that they’ll be moving to another state to restore an old house they’ll be living in. This friend has a real knack for restoration, interior design, and overall leaving the world better than they found it, so I’m super excited for this adventure of theirs.
I’ve been thinking of the years we’ve spent together in the same Sunday school class, the fun we’ve had playing in the worship band, and the great conversations we’ve had over the years. I also remember the often-spoken kind and encouraging words from this friend that have been a source of joy and comfort as we’ve traveled life together for several years.
There’s a song I’ve heard recently by country singer Brad Paisley titled, “Last Time for Everything”. It’s about how good things transition away, and as they go, you experience them for the last time. This song, and my friend’s move, again remind me that we’re to enjoy the people, places, things, and even the time of life we’re currently in, while we have it, because things transition.
I’m certain my friend and I will continue to stay in touch and will no doubt see each other again in the future. And I’m also reminded that while good things transition out of our life, just as often, equally good things transition in.
Earlier this week I had a video visit with my primary care provider. Nothing major, just a follow up from a previous annual visit. I really like my doctor and as he was talking to me, I was extremely grateful to have him to help me navigate the healthcare world when I need it. I am grateful to have him on my team.
We all have a team. Our team are those people we seek out when we need advice or guidance in an area where we are not very skilled or familiar with, or they’re those people we regularly visit to make sure we’re on the right path. A team can consist of such things as a:
- Doctor or dentist
- Financial planner
- Trusted mechanic
- Personal trainer
One thing that is nice about our team is that we get the privilege of picking who is on them. As such, we should be looking for specific attributes when we’re looking for someone to join our team. For example, what I especially appreciate about my doctor is that he takes the time to teach me about the concepts he’s talking to me about in a way that I can understand. He doesn’t dump a bunch of jargon on me that I’m not familiar with, and then get frustrated that I don’t understand what he’s trying to tell me. He actually teaches me. I come away from my visits with him knowing more than I did when I arrived.
I also appreciate that he asks me if I have any questions. He’s not an information dump truck that quickly dumps a pile of information on me and drives off. He wants to make sure that I leave with my questions answered, versus making sure that I just leave.
The next time you’re seeking to add someone to your team, do your homework. Make sure they have the attributes you’re looking from someone who will influence your decision making in a certain area of your life. And if you have someone on your team that doesn’t have the attributes you’re looking for, perhaps it’s time to consider replacing them. It’s your team. Fill it accordingly.
When you hear a discouraging word or someone says something false or unkind about you, remember this: those words only have the meaning you give them.
Unkind thoughts, words, or opinions of others are not an indictment or sentence someone else gets to place on you. You are the one who decides what meaning, if any at all you give to those words. If someone says that you’re, say, selfish, and you’re clearly not, you don’t have to be negatively impacted by theirs words or opinion. You can decide that those words don’t ring true about you, and therefore have no meaning for you. You are then free to let those words go and not carry them around with you.
If perhaps, in this scenario, you realize that you are indeed selfish, the meaning you give those words may be along the lines of agreement and that this is an area you’re going to seek to better yourself. A rebuke of who you are is not the meaning you give them, but rather it’s a picture of something you’d like (you decide) to change about yourself.
We can also give positive meaning to words of encouragement or affirmation. We can take these words to mean that we’re on track to being the person we’d like to become.
We are the ones who get to decide the meaning we give something. It is not placed on us by others but determined by us alone. What a privilege!
“Make every minute two: one to experience it, one to savor it.” ~Neal Peart
“Your gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.” ~Trace Atkins – You’re Gonna Miss This
I’ve been thinking about the passing of time lately. Isn’t it amazing how quickly it goes by? Consider the following scenarios:
You plan a vacation and eagerly look forward to it. Before you know it, you’re actually experiencing it. Then, almost overnight, it seems, the trip is a 5-year-old memory.
You and your new spouse are just starting your lives together. You’ve got nothing but dreams for the future that you’re excitedly anticipating. You can hardly wait to move from your current situation to the life you envision. Before you know it, you’ve realized some of your dreams and you’re looking back at where you started with 2 thoughts:
- That went fast!
- Those were some good times!
Time’s march, at a 24-hour cadence, is steady and brisk. When I was in basic training for the Army National Guard (several decades ago! Like it was yesterday.) I was amazed at how slow each single day went, yet how fast the weeks and months seemed to fly by.
This steady cadence reminds me to take time to enjoy the experiences I’m having as I’m having them because they’ll be memories (and soon old memories) before I know it.
Let’s make sure to makes sure to not only experience our moments, but to savor them as well. They go so fast that it would be worth stretching them out as much as we can.