Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grabbing Hold of What's in Front of Us.

It's the first thing I see every morning. It demands my attention and care and I'm happy to give it. I know that it'll flourish if I do. But it'll droop, and eventually die, if I neglect it.

I have a very needy plant on my front porch. It's a very thirsty little fella so I need to water it daily. I love the way it looks, so I take care to give it what it needs to grow to thrive.

 million bells

Because it's always there, it'd be easy to take its beauty for granted. The same is true of God and the gifts He gives us. 

"If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life."--Frank Lloyd Wright.

Like the million bells above, God is always there, and is easy to take Him for granted.  But, like the plant above, our relationship with Him needs our attention. It has to be nourished if it is to grow and thrive. I struggle to prioritize spending time with Him. But I know it makes a difference.

How about you? What do you have difficulty putting at the top of your priority list? Don't forget to join the conversation.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Assumptions matter—a lot!

We make assumptions every day without even realizing it.
A couple weeks ago I was exhausted. I’d had a bout of insomnia the night before, so I was operating on three hours of sleep. After I got home from church, I lay in bed and immediately fell asleep. The clouds hung low, darkening the sky and it was forecast to rain.  
When I awoke, it was dark outside and the clock registered 4:00. “Gosh it’s early” I said to myself. But I was wide awake, refreshed from having slept so well that night.
I got up and went about my day. Had breakfast and puttered around the house. I checked my e-mail, wrote a few letters, and read a bit. The longer I was up, the darker it became. “We’re in for quite a storm” I said.
I caught a glimpse of the lower right hand corner of the computer screen. “6:47p.m. 6/24/2012”. That’s not right. I wonder how that got off by 12 hours  I thought.
No matter though. I changed the p.m. to a.m. and moved the date forward. I watched a few programs I’d taped earlier that week. Then I began to get tired and hungry. I had a snack but didn’t want to take a nap too early in the day. So I pushed through.
It wasn’t until about 12:30 that the proverbial light went on. I had switched to live TV and saw a late night comedy show. “Oh my gosh. I’m tired because it’s 12:30 a.m.”, I said.  Everything else began to fit into place and I just laughed. I was hungry because I’d had a bowl of cereal for dinner, not breakfast. And the storm had nothing to do with the darkness. It was the middle of the night! No wonder I was tired.
I ate a bigger meal, then went to bed.  
I slept until 10:00a.m. the next day. My body dragged as I tried to re-orient myself to reality. It was as if I’d traveled across several time zones and suffered from jet lag. It was a few days before I adjusted.
Later, I realized there was a lesson in this. Our assumptions matter. Because I’d believed it was early morning instead of afternoon, everything I did from eating breakfast instead of dinner, to resetting clocks on the computers was off base. Logical based on what I thought, but since my assumptions were off, my choices made no sense. And the results were nothing like what they would have otherwise been.
It made me pause. How often do we make inaccurate assumptions? About ourselves, other people, or motivations, perhaps. It makes a difference.

Have you ever made an inaccurate assumption that led you to the wrong conclusion, or had an unexpected outcome? Perhaps not as extreme as I did, but the results were still unexpected? Don’t forget to join the conversation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Need for Other People

If the only tool in your belt is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Abraham Maslow

I heard this quote referred to the other day and I realized it reflects how we go about most things in our lives. Not only do we tend to see difficult situations through our own set of lenses, we react to them with what we know, and only what we know.

While this seems obvious, its implications may not.  Not every problem is the same.  And each may require different methods to solve, or at least manage it. That’s why we need other people’s perspectives.  Others also have strengths and abilities we lack. I Corinthians 12:18-20 tells us this as it talks about the church having many parts in order to make it whole so it can function as it should.  If they work together.

I like to see myself as independent. But having moved into my new place less than a month ago, I find that others' ideas and perspectives are invaluable, especially since organization isn't one of my strong suits. And receiving their help and ideas also blesses them. So perhaps interdependent would be a better word.

How 'bout you? How do you see this reflected in your life? Don't forget to join the conversation.