Last week, a gunman killed more than 10 people at a small community college in Oregon & there’s been a renewed outcry for greater gun control in the US. For Americans, this is a difficult quandary for lots of reasons, including something about the right to bear arms, somewhere in our Bill of Rights.
Whether you agree or disagree with gun control, I think that it’s worthwhile to consider that the gun user is most likely more dangerous than the gun. And for that matter, let’s take an even bigger step back & think about how frequently we might use our mouths to shoot up another person’s character, mock their personality or magnify their mistakes.
It’s easy to point the gun, so to speak, at someone else. But let’s be sure that our words, character and actions reflect Jesus, if we claim to be His follower
This past weekend, my husband & I attended a marriage retreat. Truthfully, I loath these kinds of things. I don’t like having relationship stuff discussed in such a public forum, it makes me uncomfortable & twitchy. But we all do things that we know to be good for us, even when we don’t like it (eating kale, jogging, going to bed on time, etc).
Relationships can be challenging & being married can be outright arduous. Here are some takeaways I gained from this weekend, relevant not only to marriages but to relationships in general:
winning an argument often means that relationship loses
forgiveness is essential & trust is earned
love is doing what’s in the best interests of the other person even when it’s difficult for me
being safe in a relationship requires communication & attention
It seems to me that we can sometimes struggle when there’s uncertainty in our lives. Having travelled a fair amount, I’ve seen a wide spectrum of uncertainty, from war ravaged uncertainty (clean water, reliable food, etc) to the uncertainty of getting to work on time because of unexpected traffic challenges. It seems to me that our human existence will always have varying degrees of uncertainty – so maybe the issue for us isn’t about escaping uncertainty but rather how to effectively deal with it.
Here are a few helpful ideas:
be stable on the inside regardless of what happens externally – the peace of Jesus guarding our hearts & minds sounds about right (Phil 4:7)
chose wisely what you allow your mind to focus on – instability breeds instability (Phil 4:6)
remember that our Heavenly Father is changeless, faithful & stable, more than the rising sun every day
We have a joke in my family about my cooking: the more smoke alarms that go off, the better the meal. So a 3 alarm meal is likely to be super awesome!!
Alarms help us pay attention, particularly if something is bad. So maybe we should ask the Holy Spirit to be like an alarm in our thinking. For example, sometimes my mind & thoughts can get dark. I might find myself discouraged about something at work or maybe I received some bad news about one of my kids, or sometimes I might have a conflict with my husband. If I’m not careful, I can let some of those discouraging thoughts become all consuming & before I know it, I’m a victim to depression, discouragement & darkness. While I’m not saying that we should live in denial or dismiss bad news or negative thoughts. We absolutely need the Holy Spirit to alert & give us a wake up call when such thoughts go too far & begin controlling & even sabotaging our divine purpose & destiny. 2Cor 10:5 says,
Sometimes the alarm goes off on my car as well, so I have these “fun” reminders in my life to stay alert & perky
One of my kids is very steady & generally unflappable. They don’t freak out easily & I love that they are so level. The other side is that they can also be stubborn & resistant to change. I’ll totally give you that not all change is good. But being hostile to change can prevent a person from growing, learning & maturation.
Let’s be people who get the good stuff out of being faithful & steady. But let’s also be people who can learn, adapt & grow! Seems to me that we become moribund & zombie-ish when we refuse to learn & change. If we are perpetually changing, however, we risk the danger of not being committed, the lack of roots & absence of fruit
In the news, I’ve been reading about Volkswagen & the massive recall they’re doing for cheating on their emissions software – about 700,000 Volkswagens have this cheater software installed in these cars. Clearly, this is a global embarrassment & I have no doubt that there are many employees who have lost their jobs from this debacle, including the resignation of their CEO. The problem we see today is obvious on a global level, but the truth is that the problem was kept behind closed doors for many years.
My takeaway from this news event is that what we entertain in our minds & allow to grow in our thinking can create behaviors & lifestyles that could be crippling & even destructive. Watching VW has been a sobering wake up call to me, challenging me to inventory my thoughts & actions for the purpose of eliminating duplicity & destruction
Ever feel like life sometimes has 3 steps forward & then 1-2 steps back? Truthfully, Monday mornings often feel like the toucan two step with some possible backward progress.
Translation: I’m not a Monday morning fan.
But no matter what happens or doesn’t happen on difficult days, let’s keep in mind that God has given us the ability to chose our attitude, words & actions. I’m very happy to have this ability & I just need to be careful that I keep my attitudes, words & actions moving forward & positive rather than letting them slip into some Monday doldrums