Archive for making decisions
when we have been treated unjustly we all have the natural instinct to react, to protect ourselves. God must have given us this built-in feature as a defense mechanism, right? so that we would not fall prey to fools, thieves and criminals. He might even have armed us all with this quality in order to protect each other, to look out for the weak or less fortunate. we may even swing back literally or figuratively in haste, not with malice but with self-preservation. we could issue our judgments to explain away the behavior, not to belittle but to seek understanding and compassion. and we may react with anger, not to settle a score but to insert our passion for what is right and just. in our actions we might seek resolution for the wrongs that have been committed in some circumstance privately with God, in others out in front for all to see. and there in lies the quandary, which is it? are we to forgive and forget, work it out from within and let God take it from here? or should we to act to protect the very goodness He stands for? He says “vengeance in mine” (Roman 12:19) and so do we walk away from the perpetrator and allow Him to do his work? or do we act on His behalf in an effort to “seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17). that’s a tough one but here’s a thought…maybe there is more than one answer. maybe “it depends”. but we do know this, we are called to live our lives by the Son’s example and yet we have witnessed his forgiveness as well the selfless actions he took so that there would be justice for others. we also know where He went for all His answers…His Father. He prayed.
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30
recently reminded of a study completed in 1979 regarding a varying levels of success for harvard mba graduates. the premiss is in regard to goal setting. the idea is to compare those who did not have specific goals vs. those who had specific goals vs. those who wrote out their specific goals. the study revealed that only 3% of these hyper-smart people had clear written goals, 13% had goals but did not write them out, while 84% did not have specific goals at all. o.k. good to know, but here is the real story. 10 years later these same folks were interviewed and the results were clear. the 13% who had goals but did not write them down doubled their earnings compared to the 84% who did not have goals at all. the 3% who had goals and wrote them out were making on average 10 times in earnings than the other 97% combined. and here is the application: we all have a vision of where we want to be, what we would like to achieve. most of us realize that in order to achieve these things there are processes along the way like education, training, coaching, risk, testing and even failing. maybe this concept of planning for our future is not new but for a lot of us, and most of these harvard mba graduates, writing down a specific plan is. while a lot of us think of goal setting in regard to our education, our jobs, our economic future, what about spiritual life? when will we use the goals that have already been written for us by the oldest and wisest ”goal setter”? He has set the ground work for all our successes, the plans have already been made. He didn’t need a ten-year harvard study to tell him to write it down. His “10 step plan to ultimate achievement” has been guaranteed to guide us to ultimate earning potential or you’ll get back what you paid for it. as always, He knows how to get there. all we have to do is buy in and participate.
“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14
how many times have we made a decisions and even formed our emotions around what others do. all of us have been influences and have even benefited from the actions others have taken. we have watched their confidence, fed on their clarity and gone along. in some cases it has worked out, in others…not so much. but next time we are faced with a choice to follow or take our own road, let’s try this…
“do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.” – dogen quotes
ahhhh, the sweet freedom of making a clear decision based on what is best for us. of going a direction based on a long-term plan, not just a short sided vision. sometimes it is easier to go with others…share the fear of the unknown. but when we act on our own and lead our own lives there is good news…we aren’t really alone. we are with the One who knows leadership like no other. Jesus followed only One, He made decisions based on His destiny and His plan. He went against the crowd because He knew the direction for His life, the long-range plan. it wasn’t easy, but it was clear. “follow” his lead in your life and listen to your heart. make your own lighted path using the energy from His.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12
“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” Philippians 4:11 NKJV
now that makes things very simple…or does it? in this letter from Paul, know he was in prison. also note the word “learned” was used. assuming he did not skip happily into bondage, imagining he felt helpless and punished as his captures threw him into repression, he probably wasn’t “happy” to be place in confinement. however, his faith and relationship with Jesus allowed him to unlock his shackles no matter where he was. he practiced his faith and learned how to apply it. he took the keys of his soul, slipped them down his sleeve ever so slightly and quietly. like a secret agent in an action flick who has hidden the paperclip in the roof of his mouth to be use at just the right moment for the big break out, Paul took his training and applied it by choice to set himself free. he unlocked the hand cuffs of misery and chose to be content. being happy is a choice, how we decide to view life is all on us. will we choose to see life through our own eyes or will we choose to learn what Paul learned and see life through the prism of our faith, through the teachings of our God? the curriculum is already there for us. we are already enrolled. the world famous professors have written the lessons. the question becomes, will we show up for class?