Decisions, Decisions

“Oh Gross- this milk is chunky!” My husband gagged his way to sink.
“Dude- why did you drink that milk in the fridge, it’s totally expired!” I laughed.
“Why didn’t you tell me it was spoiled?!”
“You didn’t ask.”

When we seek answers only after a decision has been made, it really only serves as a reminder of how wise we COULDA been had we asked BEFORE the choice. In essence, how stupid we are for drinking the curdled milk in the fridge? How could this have been avoided?

MAKE OBSERVATIONS. If my husband had checked the expiration date prior to drinking from the carton, he probably would have saved himself from a mouth full of sour tapioca. How often could mistakes be avoided if you had only paid attention to your surroundings and the people in it?

ASK QUESTIONS. Do not assume you can assume anything in life. Without proper communication, systems in working environments break down, relationships crumble and frustration and heartache ensues. To make better choices you should always ask questions, seek council OUTSIDE of yourself. You can’t always believe what you think.

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.- Proverbs 12:15

And lastly, this instance could have been avoided with some clutter prevention:DON’T LEAVE EXPIRED MILK IN THE FRIDGE.

What criteria do you keep in making choices?

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Breakdown the Block

Do you ever ask yourself, “How did I get here?” or, “Didn’t this happen last year? (last week? yesterday?) Don’t we sometimes, all of a sudden, find ourselves on a path or in a situation we didn’t think could happen to us and certainly never saw coming? Or ignored it even if we did see disaster ahead? Last week I wrote on ignoring trouble hoping it will go away in “Trouble DeConstructed”

Today, here is one very simple statement, that if you are someone who struggles with making the same mistakes over and over again, and you can recognize the potential in this statement, can change your life.

Your past points to the fact that you are MORE susceptible in this area (insert your sitch here) THAN THE AVERAGE PERSON. Consequently, YOU CANNOT be content with AVERAGE BOUNDARIES.

Seriously. If you can grasp this concept, if you can admit that you CANNOT put yourself in that position, your life can change. When you admit that you can’t go to that bar. That you can’t say yes to everyone. That you can’t spend money like that. Instead of telling ourselves that we CAN’T- we tell ourselves that we SHOULDN’T and in essence giving ourselves permission to do just that which we SHOULDN’T DO! For example:

“I shouldn’t have that second piece of cake, but little Johnny just graduated.”
“I shouldn’t go hangout with the booty caller, but I’m lonely.”
“I shouldn’t have this shot of tequila, but I had a rough week.”

Instead, swap the “shouldn’t(s)” with CANNOT.

“I CANNOT have that second piece of cake, but thank you for offering.”
“I CANNOT hangout with you, Mr. Booty-caller, I value my relationship with God more than my time with you.”
“I CANNOT have this shot of tequila, it makes me physically ill and do very stupid things.”

See the difference?

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.” 1 Peter 5: 8-9

Braves in the New World

Love, love, love, love, love. We cry for it as babies, we bite over it as toddlers, we crush over it as adolescents and we make many mistakes over it as adults. We learn how to love from the people in our spheres of influence, usually our family and friends and colleagues who all teach us what acceptable behavior when expressing love is. We also get many examples of behaviors from the media through television, movies and books. What I (and perhaps you) tend to forget is to look at all of the various forms of education with discernment. It may not be a good idea to learn how to have a healthy romantic relationship from ‘2 and a half men’ or parental love from ‘family guy.’ It may not be the best idea to look for popularity tips from ‘tmz’ or ‘american idol’ auditions. If I make sure to have positive influences in my life and put time and energy into cultivating healthy relationships with everyone, I have a better chance to know what media to disregard and what lessons I can apply to real life. Learn how to eat the fish and spit out the bones. To be intentional in love takes courage. Here are some tips that can help to develop healthy, loving relationships in any situation…

Look for excuses to be the first to forgive and forget.

Optimize each other’s worth whenever you speak.

Vocalize affirmation through daily compliments.

Express unlimited grace by making mistakes on the side of love, not judgment.

In Ephesians 5:2 (msg) the Bible reads, “Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”
If we can collectively make efforts to practice the principle of love the way God intends for us, we can create change and growth in the health of our families, our churches our jobs and our communities. And quite possibly a brave new world without ‘tmz.’

Sticks and Stoned

When I give out negativity it inevitable boomerangs back to me, often knocking me on my back and giving me a splitting headache. A boomerang was originally designed as a weapon to kill prey. In the trial and error of creating that perfect weapon, the returning boomerang was developed and transformed into a sport. When I think of this concept in reference to the power of words, I am reminded of our ‘do unto others’ ideal in our relationships with people.
In Luke 6:37 it reminds us, “don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, and criticize their faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”
Doesn’t that just sound divine and so easy? Let us skip down the yellow brick road of life together and not find fault with anyone. I won’t point out your smoking or drinking or abusive relationships. I won’t talk about your sexual immorality or the simple fact that you are not performing up to God’s standard. Is this how I am to interpret this passage? I don’t think so. In order to honor God I need to live the principles I learn from those put in authority and at the same token, teach others who are in my authority. If I call myself a Christian, my responsibility is to teach others the hope in Jesus, call them to the work and help them take their own responsibility to reach those far from God.
We can challenge each other and throw the boomerang of strength and hope and light out there…guaranteed it will come back and fill us with the sunlight of the spirit just as much as the person we invite to a better life will feel it. Take up the initiative of creating that better life-throw the boomerang and create a concussion of accountability with compassion.