Tag Archives: idea

How Do I Decide? Well, Who or What Do You Want to Be?

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A few nights ago my daughter and I watched a movie, and something one of the characters said caught my attention. I think it can apply to more than just the obvious situation, don’t you? The main character’s best friend said:

“Don’t choose the better guy, choose the guy that’s gonna make you the better girl.” —Trish in This Means War

So who do you want to be? What do you want to be? Are your current life choices keeping you from being the person you really are deep down inside? Are current relationships with people and organizations helping you grow or keeping you stunted?

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” —C.S. Lewis, author

I’m not talking about being a snob.  I’m talking about the people you include in your inner ring, your most intimate of friends from whom you seek advice and with whom there is mutual benefit and not just a one-sided relationship.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” —Proverbs 27:17

I’m also not talking about micromanaging our lives, and I know sometimes making the best choice isn’t always easy. After all, we’re human, and we make mistakes… sometimes, big ones. We cannot allow fear to keep us from making decisions either, because as Harvey Cox, an American theologian once said, “Not to decide is to decide.”

Don’t allow apathy to make the decision for you. Choose between what will keep you where you are or what will help you reach your goals.

Don’t just sit there. God cannot steer a car that isn’t moving.

“Are circumstances driving you, or are you controlling your circumstances?” —K. Scott Bonovich, author

It’s okay to say no.

Don’t kill yourself trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Do you want to be like them, or do you want to be you and who you believe God created you to be?

I recently made the decision to become a firefighter, and I am pursuing an education to become an EMT. I have been surprised by those who have been supportive from the beginning and those who are still not supportive to this day. One of my family members remarked that it seemed like the fire department had chosen me instead of my choosing the fire department. I assured her that it was my choice, and I worked hard studying the apparatus and equipment so that I could earn my shield and begin riding to assist and gain practical experience. Like anyone who has ever experienced great success, sometimes I had to decide between playing and working. I am grateful for those who also chose to work by taking the time to teach me. We played afterward.

“What are you prepared to do?” —Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables

How badly do you want it? What will it take to get it? Who do you want to be? It starts with a vision and then one decision after another.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Happy New Year!!

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits

Photo credit:  David Gunter

Photo credit: David Gunter


Randomly Selected? Somehow, I Don’t Think So

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Have you ever had an anonymous, random act of kindness done to you? Yesterday as I was getting some work done in and around the house, I was feeling a bit like Cinderella, and I started talking to our heavenly Father about how I was feeling. You know those times when you feel like God is far away, but in your head you know He’s always close by, because Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us? That’s how I was feeling.

To my surprise a car pulled up, and a lady came out and asked, “René?”

“Yes, I’m René,” I responded as I looked on with curiosity.

She opened the back door of her car and pulled out a HUGE bouquet of balloons. “Are those for me?” I inquired with bewilderment.

“Yes, they are.”

I was so touched, tears welled up in my eyes, and I had to keep myself from crying.

“Is there a card?”

“Yes, on one of the top balloons.”

The card read, “Rene, You have been randomly selected for a happy Saturday Bouquet! Please pay it forward.  — [name of local balloon shop]”

“Wow! Who could I pay it forward to?” I wondered, “And is this something [the local balloon shop] actually does, or did someone I know send it anonymously?”

I thought of a friend, who has been homebound and in pain, and after taking pictures and posting what happened on Facebook, I loaded the balloons into my car and took them over to her. She was so surprised and happy, not only to receive the huge bouquet of colorful balloons but also to have some company, so I was doubly blessed!

Thank you, Father, for putting it on someone’s heart to send the balloons to me and brighten my day when I was feeling a bit lonely. Thank you, too, Anonymous, not only for such a wonderful gift, but also for prompting me to pay it forward, so that someone else could be blessed as well. What a great idea!

 

 

If you liked this, you might also like… God Danced?

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No Offense Taken; Raising Awareness

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Have you seen this picture?  You may have if you have a Facebook account or browse memes.  A few friends have alerted me over the past year or so about a meme, because it contains this picture along with two others, and because this one is of me taken almost six years ago.  I am grateful for friends who love me and were offended for my sake and even defended me publicly.  Why were my friends concerned and feel the need to defend me?  Because the meme mocks Christianity by making us look superficial, and because they know me.  Thank you, Tim, Greg and others.

The meme bears three images with the heading “THANK YOU JESUS”.  The caption under my photo says, “For helping me find my car keys”.  Then there are two other photos, one of the professing Christian football player, Tim Tebow with the caption, “For letting me throw that touchdown,” and a third photo of an emaciated little boy bearing no caption.

While I was saddened to see the meme, I was not offended.  In fact, I was even grateful.  I’m saddened because the meme portrays Christians as being superficial and as Jesus not caring about the emaciated child, who it would seem has nothing for which to be thankful.  I am grateful, because the meme is a good reminder that people are suffering tremendously, and if the meme has moved even one person to act out of compassion, why should I be offended?

What can you do?  Give to an organization that helps people in need.  Give to and/or volunteer in a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.  Does your church have a food pantry or benevolence fund?  Keep your eyes and ears open for people in need or suffering from a crisis.

Food for the Hungry (FH) is a Christian organization serving the poor globally since 1971 by reflecting the love of Christ in short-term emergency relief and long-term work.

Project Rescue provides physical, emotional and spiritual rescue and holistic restoration to women and children in sexual slavery.

Compassion International is a Christian organization that exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.


Don’t Panic

ImageDo you ever feel like you’re losing control and things are slipping through your fingers?  Sometimes when things start becoming a bit chaotic or scary, we panic and grasp for control.  But like holding sand and trying to grasp it more tightly, we find it slipping through our fingers even faster.  And instead of maintaining control, like King Saul, who was jealous of David’s success and popularity, he eventually lost his kingdom, his son, and his very life.

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Or maybe you’re more like Eli, the priest, who was passive and failed to properly train and rein in his sons.  He held them too loosely, not realizing things were slowly slipping through his fingers, and he, too, eventually lost his sons, the Ark of the Covenant and his life.

Finding the balance between panic and passivity can be difficult.  You may have heard the phrase “Let go and let God”.  When we are passive, we use it as an excuse to continue holding things too loosely, and we actually shirk our responsibility.  Then we wonder why things are slipping through our fingers, and we blame God for not coming through.  When we panic, we have a difficult time letting go and letting God and trusting Him to come to our aid.  When things continue to fall apart, in our pride, we tend to blame others rather than asking if we ourselves are somehow to blame.

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When we hold things properly— not too loosely and not grasping for control, acting responsibly and trusting God— not only will things not slip through our fingers, but with our hands firmly cupped and looking to God for direction and strength, He is able to help us and even bless us with more.  So don’t panic.


Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

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Do you ever wonder why you seem to keep ‘dropping the ball’?  A couple of nights ago I was playing catch with my little friend, Isabella, who is almost three years old.  She is wonderful at catching, especially for her age, but at one point she kept becoming momentarily distracted by the other children and would drop the ball.  She wanted to continue playing catch, so I finally said, “Isabella, you gotta keep your eye on the ball.”

Her response was so adorably humorous.  She took me literally, and as she tried to focus one eye on the ball, she blinked and winked with the other.  Her focused eye was intensely focused, but when I gently tossed the ball to her, she missed it, picked it up, and put the ball on her eye.  While being humble enough to take my advice and try to apply it, she’d forgotten she already knew how to catch.  I guess I should have simply encouraged her to pay attention instead.

Anyway, it got me thinking how the concept applies to life and how we can sometimes become so focused on one part of the process, one group of people, or one element that we forget about the others which are equally important.  Even though “Keep your eye on the ball” is an oft-used expression when teaching others to catch a ball, hit a baseball, or kick a soccer ball, our mind’s eye still sees our arms, hands, and feet participating in the action as well.  It takes focusing and coordinating all the parts in order to be successful and stop dropping the ball.


Resolution Bucket: A New Strategy

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I made only five New Year’s resolutions last year, and I must confess I completed only one.  [sigh]  I nearly completed another but didn’t quite make it, and the others fell by the wayside.

I’ve decided to try a different strategy!  I once heard if we are undisciplined in one area of our lives, all other areas will suffer as well.  The fact that I failed to keep 4 out of 5 resolutions, with my weakest one not even making the list, would seem to bear that out.  Many years ago when a previous church we attended was seeking to make some improvements in the ministry, we were handed a booklet having a picture of a bucket with broken and worn slats.  We were then asked to list some of the parts of the ministry that needed the most attention.  The booklet suggested we work on our weakest area, which was symbolized by the shortest slat on the bucket.  Then it said something like, “The bucket can hold only as much water as the shortest slat, so if you work to fix it first, your bucket will hold more water, but if you try raising a taller slat, you’re bucket will still hold the same amount of water.”  Isn’t that brilliant?  So, I am going to use that strategy and choose my weakest area and make only one New Year’s resolution this year!  I’ll let you know how it’s working.

Happy New Year!!


Beauty Out of Painful Times

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A Christmas ornament made years ago by my sweet friend, Judy Soules.  She made several one year for gifts to her extended family when she and her husband had no money for Christmas presents.  She went out in the yard and picked up pine cones, spent $1-something on a can of spray paint, and used fishing line and random craft supplies around the house.  She was more shocked than anyone at how they turned out, and they remind her each year that God makes beautiful things out of the most painful parts of our lives.  Thank you, Judy, for both your creative and spiritual inspiration!


The Birthday Book

Yesterday was my granddaughter, Gracie’s, first birthday. My son and daughter-in-law hosted her birthday party at a local park. It was a beautiful day and a blessing to celebrate with family and friends! She received a lot of gifts, but the most meaningful was a book given to her by her daddy… my son. I’m so proud of the man he has become.

The Birthday Book
The book is a blank journal in which he has begun a tradition of writing a letter to her for each birthday.  For her first birthday he recorded some of her favorite things, her accomplishments, her characteristics, and an exhortation to always remember not only that he loves her and thinks she is beautiful, but God does, too, “and His opinion is what really matters”.  What a rare and precious gift.  Did I already say how proud I am of him?


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