Just a quick reminder this week, that we get to choose how we respond to events in our life.
It’s easy to think that we can’t help ourselves, or to blame others (or our emotions) for how we respond to the stimulus in our life. While we can blame, the truth is, we get to decide how we respond.
Let’s decide, and then follow through, on making good choices.
I’m going to talk about one of Jesus’s principles this week, so be warned. If that’s not your thing, come back next week. 😊
“If you only love the loveable, do you expect a pat on the back?” Luke 6:30 Msg.
It’s easy to love those who love, us, or to be kind to people who are kind to us. However, Jesus teaches that we’re also to be kind to those who aren’t kind to us. And to love those who don’t love us. This is challenging teaching. It’s even more challenging to put into practice.
I’ve had the “opportunity” to put this teaching into practice with a couple of people for the past 11 months. It has, indeed, been challenging, but I can also report that with prayer and commitment to Jesus’s teaching, it has gotten a little easier. Not easy, just slightly easier that it was 11 months ago.
Jesus’s teaching is for our benefit, because he wants what’s best for us. Following this particular principle has kept my heart from festering with disdain or hate toward others, and has instead caused me to regularly cast my gaze toward Jesus for his assistance, strength, and peace. All of which I have received.
So, while it’s been challenging, I can also report that it’s been what’s best for me. I have peace instead of anger, and gratitude for His teaching instead of animosity toward others.
It’s a nice place to be.
As I was journaling this morning, I was reminded how our self-talk can limit or lift how we see ourselves. Think about that, the words you tell yourself, about yourself (whether audibly or simply thought), have a direct impact on how you feel and think about who you are.
Taking this thought a little further, what we think/feel, about ourselves, will influence our actions. And, the actions we consistently take are what shapes the lives we ultimately build for ourselves.
The question that feels like it needs to be asked is, “Do you like what you’ve built?”
If your answer is, “Yes”, great! However, if your answer is, “No”, it might be reflecting on you’ve talking to yourself to discern if there’s any negative thoughts or talk you’ve regularly had with yourself.
It might even be time to start a new, positive conversation with yourself… because you’re worth it.
I love the idea that there’s a place in my town where I can walk in, grab as many books as I want, and borrow them for several weeks at a time. From this same place, I can borrow audio books, guitars, and ukuleles as well! From a self-improvement standpoint, I can think of no place more beneficial than your local public library.
If you love to read and/or consider yourself a life-long-learner, I suggest (if you aren’t already) to make frequent visits your public library.
What a blessing to have such a wonderful gateway to learning right in our own towns!
My cousins were in town this week, and Thursday evening one of them text me to see if I’d be available for lunch on Friday. My first thought was that I would be working that day. After about 2 seconds I said, “Lunch sounds great!” We all had a great time.
I share that little story as a reminder not to be too quick to say, “No”. We can always find reasons not to do something, but we can just as well find reasons to engage, especially when it has to do with building relationships.
In 10 years, I won’t remember what I would have done at work for those couple of hour, if I had said “No” to lunch with my cousins. However, I’ll never forget the time we had.
I made a good choice!
Last night my wife and I went to a presentation/story telling session on homelessness in our community. There were 4 different people, that either were, or currently are, experiencing homelessness. It was an eye-opening look at homelessness from the perspective of people who have (or are) living it.
The first person to speak said that the 2 primary causes of homelessness are a lack of empathy (the feeling that no one cares or understands) and/or broken relationship. The other speakers, knowing it or not, confirmed this statement through their stories about how they became homeless.
If you would have asked me before the presentation, what I thought the 2 main causes of homelessness was, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked a lack of empathy or broken relationships. I probably would have said something like drugs, or mental illness. From what I heard last night, it seems like those things came a little further downstream.
Suppose lack of empathy and broken relationships are, indeed, the primary causes of homelessness. If so, doesn’t it seem like human connection and compassion would go a long way in preventing homelessness? It seems like the most important place for these antidotes is in our homes, and with our families and friends. It also seems like there are no boundaries with regard to where human connection and compassion would not be beneficial.
The presentation not only changed my perspective on homelessness, it also gave me much to think about regarding what I do with what I heard. I’m thankful that others are willing to share their story, in order to provide a perspective, I might not have.
Here’s a simple thought that can yield significant results: when you’re stuck, ask for help.
Whether it’s a problem you’ve got that you’re trying to solve, some expertise you need that you don’t have, or wisdom you lack that you need, seek help from those who have the knowledge you do not.
Why should we spin our wheels trying to solve something when we don’t have to?
I was really impressed with something our pastor did in church last Sunday. As I was reflecting on it later in the day I thought, “I should send him a hand-written note and tell him how much I appreciated what he did.” That’s a good intention. However, as the week got busier, I could feel my intention slipping to the back burner toward inaction. If I didn’t do something, the likelihood that this intention would ever bloom into realized action, was not looking good.
So last night I just decided (and actually followed through) that I was not going to do anything else until I got the note written and put it in an addressed envelope with a stamp. As I type this, the note is in the care of the USPS and on its way to the recipient.
When we have a good intention, we should honor that intention by taking the necessary action to bring it to life. Not only will be feel good about following through on our good intention, we’ll hopefully be blessing someone else as well.
Think, for a moment, of all the things that people can have differing opinions about. The list is endless! Topics range from volatile ones like pollical leaning and religion to more innocuous ones like music preference, being a morning or evening person, or your favorite flavor of ice cream.
Now think of the people you know. How many of them do you have the exact same opinions on every topic with? Zero? Yeah, me too.
With so many things to be divided over, it’s important that we are mindful of what we actually allow to drive wedges in our relationships. Do we really want to shut someone down or vilify them over minor differences? Do we really want our radars up looking for reasons to be divided, versus looking for what unites us? Do we want others looking us with an eye toward division?
Leading with an eye toward division comes with a high price. We miss out on opportunities to learn more about others. In some cases, we drive wedges between those closest to over insignificant differences. What a sad realization it would be to look back on such a life, and see all the division we’ve created, because all we were seeing were differences versus people.
This week’s post is simple: If you need to ask someone for forgiveness, do it immediately. I had a choice to do that this week.
This week, a great friend of mine pointed out a behavior to me that falls well below my personal standards. It wasn’t terribly easy to hear, but I could recognize the truth in what he said. As I pondered his words later that day, I got the Holy Spirit prompting that I needed to ask this friend for forgiveness.
We have a choice when we know we need to ask for forgiveness. We can either do it (obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit for Jesus followers) or make excuses why we don’t need to seek forgiveness. In these situations, our excuses not to seek forgiveness are usually just lame excused to protect our pride.
I am blessed that my friend gave me forgiveness. When I think about it, had I instead chosen to protect my pride (which is easy for me to do!), it could have cost me a dear friend. In my book, that was far too high a price to pay.
I tell you that to encourage you to seek forgiveness when you know it’s what you need to do, so that you don’t wind up making a relationally costly mistake.