Never look back

In a post last week, I talked about making choices. This or that…

Once the choice is made, never look back. Be confident in the choice you made and move on with life.

Years ago, we needed to replace our dishwasher, so I went to the local appliance store and picked out a new one. It was stainless steel when they were first coming out, and it was quite expensive, but we had enough money to pay for it in our checking account, so I wrote a check and made arrangements for it to be installed.

When I told my mom, who had moved in with us shortly before, about it, she criticized me for spending so much money. She made me second guess my choice-to the point where I called the store to cancel the installation and order the cheaper one. Because I had paid by check, I had to wait for the check to clear before they could refund. It was quite an ordeal.

Eventually, the cheaper, non stainless steel model was installed, and the first washing was to occur. Dinner was spaghetti that night… and we washed the dishes and the entire interior of the dishwasher turned pink. I could have spit nails as my mom said to me, “you should have gotten the stainless steel one”. Really????

That moment was life defining for me. As seemingly insignificant as a dishwasher, what I learned through that experience was to trust my own judgement and not allow someone else to make me doubt it. Sure, I believe it’s important to seek advice from those you trust when making a decision. But at the end of the day, once the decision is made, never look back. Own it.

Ironically, a few months ago, we needed to replace that dishwasher. I did my research and bought an expensive model with very high ratings. It works just fine.

I made a life decision last week, one that will begin to take shape within the next few months. It was not an easy decision. Both choices came with benefits and potential challenges down the road. I’m not looking back. I’m going with the decision that was made, confident that the future will be what we make it.

As you finalize decisions, never look back. Even in the bad decisions of life, God is working to shape you into who He needs you to be for the purpose to which He’s called you.

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB

Copyright Journey For Life 2019. All rights reserved

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Inner-Monologue

The Power of Self-Talk– by Dr. Perry, Make it Ultra

Dr. Perry is one of my favorite bloggers – one day last week his post about self-talk was extraordinary. You should check it out – as well as other posts on his page.

Self talk, or inner monologue, is the voice inside your head. We all have them. In his article, he talked about two schools of thought about how and why they exist. He also described how, many times, this voice will start positive, but as life wears on, will become more negative, telling you all of the reasons why you can’t do something.

One key take-away from his post was this:

“We must learn to actively engage with this (inner) voice in order to keep it positive and avoid letting the negative self-talk or negative core beliefs infiltrate our life.

It helps to identify your inner voice as that of your inner child. Much like a child, it needs to be taught rules and manners. It must be trained to be comfortable with silence in order to avoid constant unnecessary chatter. When your inner voice throws a tantrum and begins to tell you all the things that are wrong with you and your life, it must be met with kindness and compassion.”

Unnecessary chatter – my inner voice frequently talks to me – in fact, probably needs to be trained to be comfortable with silence..   Often, my mind will role-play conversations with other people, most of which never take place.   The good thing about my inner-monologue is that, in general, it is very positive.  Ever since over-coming my “dark” days, I tend to be a very positive person and, as such, my inner voice is generally my cheerleader, telling me that I CAN do things, often encouraging me to step out boldly without a safety net.  Frankly, I’d rather live life dangerously than not at all.

 What does your inner-voice tell you?

SB

Quality of Life vs Quantity

When I was in California a few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to meet up with my cousin, who lives near Hollywood. He is six years older than me, and both of us are the babies of our families. We spent a good bit of time reminiscing about our childhood and about our grandparents, with whom he spent much time with as a child.

My grandfather was a Tri-State athlete back in the day, and earned many medals in multiple track and field events including shotput, discus, and pole-vaulting. He was very strong, and very muscular, and I can remember him “high jumping” the railings in our split level home well into his seventies.

My grandmother developed Multiple Sclerosis in her 30’s, and had a rare form of it that doctors told her would allow her to live a long life, which she did. For most of my life, however, she was completely crippled, essentially paralyzed from the neck down. My cousin could remember when she could walk without assistance, but my earliest recollection of her walking was with a walker, and mostly I remember her being bound to a wheelchair.

Because of his strength and physique, my grandfather was able to pick her thin but dead-weight body up well into his eighties. He would get her up every day, get her ready, and take her out for a drive. Every single day.

Because she spent most of her time sitting, she developed bed sores and eventually had to have surgery to address them. During her stay in the hospital, she received breathing treatments so that she didn’t develop pneumonia, again because she spent her time laying/sitting, but not really moving. During one of these breathing treatments, she passed out. The nurse, who was very young, said, “oh she must have fallen asleep.” I argued with her, saying that it seemed she’d had a stroke or something, and insisted she get help, which she did. It was difficult to revive her, and the nurses and doctors didn’t believe she had a stroke, but from that point on, she could no longer even talk to us.

She lived for about another two years, in the most agonizing, slow death I’ve ever seen. While my grandfather did his best to care for her, she was eventually put into a nursing home to receive “more care”, though spent most of her time in bed. He spent every day with her, right at her side. I visited every Sunday, and tried my best to keep her updated on my life. All I wanted was to hear her voice, but could only see her eyes looking back at mine, wondering what the thoughts in her head were saying.

I told her about my job, beginning my career as an engineer, our wedding plans, and my cold feet about marriage. I desperately wanted to know what she thought, and tried to read her eyes, but couldn’t.

My prayers for her actually changed to praying God would have mercy on her and take her home. She knew Jesus as her Savior, and there was peace in her journey, but it went on for an agonizing period of time with a horrible quality of life. I got to where, although I would never do it, I understood why people wanted assisted suicides. Watching her die like this, and being able to do nothing to help was one of the most excruciating pains I’ve felt.

My uncle made her a wheelchairs bed so she could attend my wedding. Here she is. (Gramps is right behind Grandma. My cousin, Ed, is in white on left rear, along with rest of the family on mom’s side)

All of this brings to mind the question of whether it’s better to have quality of life verses quantity. I felt as if her quality of life was horrible, yet God chose to leave her here for a very long time. On the other hand, I felt my dad, who died of cancer when he was only 47, wasn’t here long enough.

It seems we don’t have a choice in the matter, but if given the choice, is it better to have quality of life or quantity? Does your decision change if you have security in knowing where you’ll spend eternity? If you have fulfilling relationships? If you have accomplished all you wanted in life or have more to do? I’m interested to hear your thoughts….

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

Waiting on God

A few weeks ago, I downloaded two books to my audible ap, and was blown away by how God worked in my heart when I listened to the first one

Yesterday, I listened to the other one while I had some driving time. It was called Waiting on God by who I thought was Francis Chan. Turns out it’s not really a book at all, but a connection of sermons (or talks) by Francis Chan, Bill Hybels, James MacDonald, and John Ortberg, all dealing with the same topic of waiting on God.

It is incredible to me, although I shouldn’t be surprised by it anymore, that God knows exactly what I need to hear and provides it to me.

One of the challenges about listening to audiobooks while driving, though, is I can’t take notes. I’m going to listen again to the book, this time with my pen and notebook, pulling out the wisdom and reflecting Gods Grace

Essentially the message I heard yesterday was that 1) we cannot expect God to fulfill His promises to us while we are walking in sin. We need to rid sin in our lives and align our hearts to His. 2) our “wait” is not a passive one… that He is shaping us by our experiences while we wait– shaping is FOR the promises He will fulfill in us.

God knows what He’s doing. We need to step back and trust Him.

I’m trying

Id appreciate prayers to help me wait on Gods perfect plan, and allow decisions and circumstances to further shape me to who He wants me to be.

In Him,

SB

Copyright Journey For Life 2019. All rights reserved.

Worth the wait…

2019 – my year of waiting. (The Word – naming my year)  Truth is, I’ve been waiting for some things a short while, and other things a long while.   If we’re all honest with ourselves, we’re probably all in the same boat…  waiting for new opportunities, waiting for a package to arrive, waiting to find true love, waiting to retire, waiting for news from the doctor, waiting for the baby to arrive, waiting for something…

In an interesting turn of events in my life, I find myself at the cusp of a rather big change (details of which I must withhold for now, but where share sometime in the future when it’s appropriate). Due to prior commitments I’ve made, cannot actually make the transition until later this year. In a conversation with one of the stakeholders of the change where I described the delay that must occur, his comment to me was, “It’s ok. We feel you’re worth the wait”.  (Awww.. in all honesty, this was one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever had, personally or professionally).

worth the wait (2)

I think of this in relation to what God has for us…   His plan is worth the wait, but sometimes we (I) are impatient and try to force it to happen in our time.. like Abraham and Sarah, to whom God promised a child, but they waited for what seemed an eternity.  Taking matters into their own hands, Sarah suggested that Abraham get together with their maid-servant, Hagar, which they did, resulting in the birth of Ishmael.  Later, Sarah bore a son. Isaac, just as God had promised.   However, because of their impatience, the bitterness between Ishmael and Isaac became the bitterness we recognize today between the Palestinians and the Jews.  It is interesting and confusing to me that God still blessed Abraham and Sarah with the son He had promised even though they weren’t patient enough to wait for His plan, yet the consequences for the rest of the world have lasted generations.

I’m still learning how to wait – some days are better than others.  I am honestly trying really hard not to simply take matters in my own hand in areas where I am impatient, but instead rest in knowing that God’s plan is best.

I’ll keep waiting…

Blessings,

SB

 

 

This or that…

One of the parenting truths I realized as my kids got older is that they will one day be completely responsible for their own choices, just like I was. When they were in high school, instead of giving them a litany of rules to follow, I simply reminded them to “make good choices,” knowing some of them would be good and some maybe not, but they would have to own them.

We have choices in life. Some of our choices are good ones and some, not so much. We’ve all made good ones and we’ve all made bad ones. Even our bad ones, however, seemed good at the time. Hopefully we learn from those to make better choices next time.

I’ve lived long enough to know that every choice has a consequence, which makes some choices extremely difficult to make.

Some of you know I work as a leader with the youth group in our church. Some of our youth are in the process of deciding which college to attend. In discussion about that a few weeks ago, one of them asked our youth pastor his opinion between two schools. His answer was essentially this. (I paraphrase).

A lot of times we feel as though God has a singular path for our lives and we are trying to find it. We think there’s a specific stone path to take and we don’t want to deviate from it, but the reality is that it’s more like a large field with a fence around be the edges to guide us us to follow within boundaries that are healthy for us but we can choose to be wherever we want in the field.

Sometimes it’s easier to make a choice when there isn’t one.

Faced with a “this or that”, the analytical side of me pulls out a spreadsheet to track the pros and cons of each choice, trying to find the best solution. So people make decisions based on gut feel (Myers Briggs calls them the “feelers”). I tend to make decisions based on data (Myers Briggs calls them the “thinkers”, not to imply that those who make decision based on gut don’t think, but rather that they make decision based on intuition rather than data.)  I am ridiculously data focused, perhaps to a fault.

In general, I find it fairly easy to make decisions – some I make quickly, and move on without time to assess regret. I can walk into a store and very quickly peruse the rack and decide if I’m interested in anything or not.  When faced with a really important decision that has the potential to be life-altering, career-altering, or family-altering, however, I pull out the spreadsheet, and try to contemplate potential consequences.

The Bible recommends to seek counsel when making decisions, perhaps from those you trust, or those who have made similar decisions.

20 Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.

Proverbs 19:20 | AMP

14 Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 11:14 | AMP

Gathering all the data you can find, seeking counsel of those you trust, some choices are still hard to make. If we could see down the road, around the bend, it would be easier.

I was reminded this morning that sometimes we get only a lamp unto our feet, not a light that lights the whole path.

lamp.jpg

I guess that’s what faith is for…

Be blessed, today, my friends.

SB

2019 Journey for Life – All rights reserved.