“YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT!!!!” When we were growing up, you probably heard that a few times, as did I. Now that I’m an adult, I still hear those words in my mind sometimes. “You shouldn’t be driving so fast! You shouldn’t be sarcastic, you shouldn’t be so casual, you shouldn’t . . . . . ”
In religion, there’s lots of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” – we wishfully think that the right behavior will fix everything. From my perspective, this kind of thinking is like putting peacock feathers on a cow: accessorizing the external in an attempt to deny or compensate for the internal.
More than we realize our beliefs shape our behavior, so perhaps we would be better to consider what we believe as the first step. Yucky beliefs and thinking always result in yucky words and actions 🙂
I don’t like snakes, never have & I have very strong beliefs that I never will. I don’t like snakes, full stop. Lizards, on the other hand, don’t wig me out nearly as much as snakes. I watched a lizard eat a bug the other day & found myself cheering for the lizard – yea buddy! United against bugs!! 🙂
My husband informed me that I need to understand that lizards eat bugs like snakes eat mice & rodents. Even though I don’t like the snakes, everything has a place & use, by Divine design.
This makes me consider that perhaps God has a use for the things I don’t like,
I don’t like that babies starve to death with no hope for the future = Saving Moses
I don’t like that a 3year old girl sells condoms to her moms sex clients = nightcare
I don’t like that my thoughts can get murky & tainted = meditating on the Bible (1Cor 13 is a great starting place or the Sermon on the Mount, Psalms 23, Col 3, . . . .)
God can use the things I don’t like for significant redemptive value, maybe even snakes ,)
From time to time, I think it’s important to do some assessment & personal inventory. We tend to do these kinds of exercises at the end of the year in anticipation of some possible New Years resolutions that we might consider. But I think that doing an occasional personal assessment is really healthy. So here are some questions & things to consider:
*What are 3-5 things that would be my top essentials?
*What are the consistent inputs that I have in my life? What do I watch, read, listen to, friend conversations, etc?
*Are these inputs what I need to constructively support the 3-5 essentials that I identified above?
*What top 3 areas in my life need more work, attention & help?
*Am I doing things that I could eliminate?
*Most importantly, how does my daily living align with my personal relationship w God? What adjustments do I need to make?
My trip to South Sudan with Saving Moses has been different than what I expected. I had the honor of getting to tag along with some REALLY experienced people who do all kinds of relief work & I was able to watch how they operate, what their priorities are & the importance of teamwork among all of them – so in that sense, the trip was a very good learning experience.
But now I’m on my return home & I’m starting to think about all of the issues that need work at home. I’m grateful to God for the recent pause for me with these issues – getting some fresh perspective & possibly some fresh priorities.
But if I’m not careful, I can get overwhelmed really quickly with all of these things, all on the backdrop of seeing & hearing some difficult things that are happening in S Sudan.
So my conclusion is that God is more than adequate & I am not. God has more provision than I have need & more answers than I have questions. When I run out of wisdom, strength & Sarah, I see that God is continually engaged throughout my life & I only need to lean into God – so I turn my thoughts & focus to my Divine Help 🙂
I like to take walks no matter what the season is because they can help me relax & kind of think through some things. The destination for the walk isn’t as important to me as the experience of just walking & enjoying being outside. With that being said, it’s important in our thinking to be mindful of how we are thinking & the things on which we are focusing. If we focus on hardship & struggles, such things tend to get magnified. If we keep our thoughts & focus on Jesus, who is walking with us everyday, then the hardships stay small in light of our loving Savior 🙂
I have lots of people in my life who are great at planning. They know dates, expectations, schedules and how things are supposed to happen. They educate themselves, assemble the resources that will be used and do all kinds of preparation, thinking and planning. I’m really grateful for these people because these kinds of things can be kind of tricky for me. For example, I’m grateful that my husband frequently asks me when I make international with Saving Moses trips if I have cash with me for traveling because I can forget important things for concentrating on not forgetting my coffee supplies ,)
Here’s my saving grace, it’s been my experience that The Holy Spirit, Whom I call The Helper, is my Great Planner – seems to go along with how God organized & planned the world in Gen 1. This gives me great confidence that God is planning my life and Helping me along each step of the way – and for you as well!! 😀
When I was younger, I used to make decisions really fast and sometimes this worked out well for me. Quick decisions are helpful when you’re low on fuel for your car or when you’re dehydrated and need to drink more water. Quick decisions, however, are not as helpful when the stakes are higher – as I’ve recently learned.
Last month, I had a situation come up that was really important & I needed to make a very high quality decision on this issue. Thankfully, I didn’t just do a quickie snap decision but rather took a few days to think, pray & evaluate. After taking a little bit of time and getting some high quality input & advice from other people who were well qualified to give input on this type of situation, I made a really excellent decision and the outcome has been extremely wonderful.
I’ve come to the conclusion that when I need to make a high quality decision, it helps to give it some high quality time ,)