Tag Archives: choices

What Makes Us Do It?!

A horrible thing happened this morning.  Horrible.

Sampson, my dog, loves to chase squirrels.  He will run them all day long up trees, hoping fiercely to catch one but it’s never happened…until today.

He ran a squirrel up a very tall light pole at the park.  While other squirrels ran for safety in the surrounding trees, Sampson was fixed his prisoner.  He taunted, barked, bounced and badgered the squirrel but he just scurried higher up the pole.  Sampson didn’t move.  He refused to give up.  Suddenly, for no reason at all, the squirrel jumped down off the pole!  He was dazed and couldn’t scamper very fast so Sampson got him.  Can’t be mad at the dog, that’s what dogs do! I stood there, shocked and amazed.  Why.  Why in the world would that critter take such a chance knowing it was a long fall, Sampson was right there and he may not survive it?

What makes us think we can jump into things we know we shouldn’t and not be hurt or hurt those we love?  Why do we think it’ll always turn out ok when the chances are 50/50 – sometimes less – that they will? What makes us lurch into danger giving no thought to the consequences that await us?

Maybe it was fear.  The squirrel was probably terrified.  I reason in my mind that had Sampson treed him he would have never taken such a chance.  Sampson kept on taunting him, the squirrel went up as high as he could but maybe felt he wasn’t far enough away from his enemy that he thought, “If I could just get to that tree, it’s close…I can make it, then he won’t see me and I’ll be safe…” and went for it.  Sometimes don’t we think the same?  We think if we can’t see the enemy he surely can’t see us; we think any decision we make out of fear is an ok one; we have to do something, so we do what we know to do, maybe what we’ve always done: JUMP!  Maybe it was wanting to hide, to get away.  Maybe it was the challenge, boredom, adventure, something different.  I don’t know.  All I know is it didn’t end well for the squirrel and it won’t end well for us if we flirt with disaster thinking we can get away with it.

Jumping into danger (whatever the danger is) in all likelihood won’t end well for us either. Humans (supposedly) have another sense to guide us and perhaps talk us down before we take the plunge and if a Christian, an even greater resource, the Holy Spirit.  Before we move for whatever reason, take a minute to think (yes) but especially to pray.  He has the best sense of what’s good for us and will always guide us, if we let Him.  Always pray before plunging.  Okay?

Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”

But Then, I Prayed.

I’m just not feelin’ it.  Early mornings and lots of effort will produce just what it did yesterday.  What’s the point? I think I won’t today.  But then I prayed and before I knew it, my feet were on the floor and the wonderful sounds of a brand new day welcomed me on.

I want what I want. What’s the harm?  No one will know.  I think I will…but then, I prayed and the strength to resist came; the want to, to please The One greater than myself gave me the will, I chose Him and the thought left my mind.

I want to be as mean to them as they are to me.  I want to act out of my rights, my justification – because after all, they gave me a reason to lash out so it’s all good…but then, I prayed and The Voice whispered, “greater love – because that’s how I love you…” immediately came to mind…so I chose love over hate.

It’s as simple as that.  It’s not easy, but it is that simple.  Who will I please today? It’s always a choice.  None can do it on our own strength – at least I can’t.  All the willpower and determination I can muster is never enough; sometimes when I want to choose right and do, I still act wrong. But then I pray – pray for the strength and the want to, to act out right, say right, be right…in His eyes.  Sometimes I think my morning time with Him will be enough to carry me through…then I find myself with another crossroad, another choice to make then I pray.

Let’s be conscious to choose first to pray, then to live in a manner that honors Him today, one incident at a time.

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for your yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

RESET!

I’m a Medical Transcriptionist and sometimes because the audio files come from faraway places it’s mumbled and inaudible. Drives me crazy. I have to rewind and try to decipher what the dictator is saying and a lot of time is doing this which ultimately cuts into production.  Over and over again, I listen attentively adjusting the speed to no avail.  This morning, I noticed an option I’ve been scared to try before.  I couldn’t understand what the doctor was saying so after about 15 minutes of this back and forth with frustration building, ready to quit, I decided to risk clicking the button and to my relief and surprise, I heard what he was saying perfectly.  I had left many blanks (time stamps as they are known with the company I work for) and was able to fill every one of them in with understandable words.

Loving how God uses everyday occurrences to teach me something, I thought I would share these lessons with you hoping we all take them to heart.

  • Time stamps. How often we muddle through just marking time oblivious to the things and people around us.  I wonder how many times in how many areas I’ve been content to just go and do, not caring about anything but just going and doing what I have to do.  What have I missed?  I wonder how many times I’ve just marked time only to reflect later and wonder why I did what I did and what I missed while there.  You?
  • Settling.  How often do we just do things not caring if it’s good or bad but we just do them because we have to, to arrive at the finish line?  I could have left that dictation just as it was, sent it in and let QA clean it up and make it presentable to the account and that would have been “good enough” – as long as the document is marked properly it’s perfectly acceptable (and sometimes necessary) it’s okay to do this, but I tried something different (something I was actually hesitant to do, scared of what the outcome would be) and that made all the difference.  Why are we so hesitant to try something uncomfortable or different!?
  • It’s okay to reset. We keep our cycle going…the way we’ve always done things and that’s okay; that’s good but it isn’t BEST sometimes. We’re getting by just fine, working hard on being content and grateful but there could be so much more.  I’m not talking about materialistically (although that’s entirely possible too) but spiritually.  We try so hard to “be good”.  We make good life choices, even spiritual choices and complete tasks A, B, C and D sometimes wondering what if would be like if we _________  (you fill in the blank – trusted more, believed God with conviction to really believe…tried ____, devoted ourselves more…).  Give yourself permission to go farther and deeper with God.  Faith requires action.  A better life (spiritually and physically) may require better and different choices.

That button made a huge difference in my work day. I’m wondering what else I can reset today.  Sometimes a reset may just be what we need.  Go ahead.  Hit reset!

FIGHT!!!

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning.  Lots of people are at church…I am not. Not happy about that.  For the past five weeks, my work schedule has prevented me from going.

That’s not all.  LOTS of things…little things and big things are vying for my happiness…lots of things are bugging me.

I’m laughing out loud because just over an hour ago, I spent two hours in my Bible soaking up the love, ingesting what God had for me for this day.  I was such a happy, happy girl because that time in the mornings with Him is my most favorite.

Then real life kicks in and there is a raging fight going on inside of me…I can focus on all that’s wrong or turn to the One who makes everything right. Seems like there’s always a fight for contentment.  It’s a relentless cycle of emotion to keep and protect our contentment, our faith and a positive demeanor.  I’m forced to eat my words during these times…how many times have I said “happiness is a choice”, “fight for your faith”?  Some days it’s easier than others…some minutes it’s easier than others.

It’s hard for me not to spout and shout.  I fight myself more than (and harder than) I’ve fought anyone else. I can choose to throw a well-justified fit – or I can choose to be quiet and calm down and choose contentment over circumstances provoking me to lose it. “Whatsoever” comes to mind in 1st Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Does that word apply to fit-throwing, discontentment raging, unhappiness-feeling? Can I be discontent and unhappy “to the glory of God”? I think so.

I fight not to let my feelings dictate my behavior or distort my faith.  That’s a tall order when I’m my center.  I must fight to get my eyes off me and my selfishness and onto Him.  In this moment I’ve chosen to do just that (greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world). I choose to not let my feelings produce ugly actions and words.

That’s the fight for faith – not to do life the way we see it played out all around us. I choose (this time) to bless God. If Christ is in us there should be some of Him coming out of us (if we choose to let Him).  So, in this moment of discontentment I fought me and I let Him win.  The next time I may not…but I’m praying I do.

I CHOOSE TO LOVE HIM *HERE*!

Finally after a long, long life journey, I find myself in the physical place where I most want to be. This is where I belong but I must say since I moved back, all kinds of things have happened I’ve never been through before. I started to doubt whether I have made the right decision and began to wonder if God wasn’t punishing me for moving. For a moment, I believed – I mean REALLY believed I had messed up and was out of the will of God. I was basing my truth on my circumstances and I got totally consumed by my feelings of failure, believing if I was truly “in God’s will” the ride would be smooth – I mean I had to have really messed up otherwise things wouldn’t be so testy. Right? Isn’t that the way it goes? You control your own universe; if things are good it’s because of what YOU do; things are bad because of what YOU do or don’t do. I’m laughing out loud right now. YES I have always believed that no one else but me is responsible for the bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences that followed. But controlling the universe and controlling my destiny sorry. I just don’t believe that.

For a moment though I got lost in all of this and frankly I was ready to just stop and let the chips fall where they may and basically just surrender. I could go into all the stuff that’s happened but I won’t. It has been just crazy. Suffice it to say, I’ve had it. Where’s that white flag. I’m ready to give in and either go back or not move. BUT…

While at church last night a familiar verse was spoke by our Pastor: “…the joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10). All of a sudden, the Light came on. I had forgotten where my strength comes from. I had gotten wrapped up in my fears and frustrations and the fatigue that accompanies them. I got stuck in me and it was getting ugly. From those words until the end of the Bible study, everything said was relevant to our lives. It was one of the moments you live for.

I came home, got in the Word and got on my face. He showed me some things I thought I had learned but I was forced to confess I hadn’t put to use in quite a while. I didn’t realize how caught up I had gotten in trying to live through all this stuff until last night. Lord, forgive me.

The whole process has shown me AGAIN (how many times must I have to relearn this lesson!?!?!) how intense the battle is and how good the enemy is at deception. I KNOW what I believe; I KNOW what God said to me personally and yet, I was in a mess. If you’ve not been led back into fear and anxiety in a while, good for you! BUT don’t think it can’t happen to you. There are all kinds of battles and snares within the battles for all of us. The way you fall to the enemy may be different from how I fall…but we all are capable of falling.

During those times when things are a mess and very frightening there’s a decision to be made. Will you believe? Will you trust? Will you be thankful and love God there in the midst of the mess? I chose last night to love Him and believe Him right here. The scary hasn’t changed yet. The provision has not come – yet. BUT I believe it IS coming. I believe He will see me through this trial. I remember my joy, my faith, my willingness, my ability, my comfort and reassurance are found in Jesus alone. He’s the stability and the strength I so long for in all this uncertainty. I have Him and I believe Him. I choose to love Him here.