Tag: decisions

it gets complicated

(this is a reblog fron the worminmyapple.  Apparently blogging over the week-end is NOT a good idea which is when this was originally posted so I brought it over to this blog to post at a better time.)theworminmyapple.com
theworminmyapple.com

I was feeling all warm and cozy at what had been an unexpected epiphany a couple of days ago when with one phone call I found myself fighting for that freedom. Than I realized something. (You can read it at “depressionsgift.com” for May 3oth. I’m not sure whether it’s considered ok to give yourself a pingback.)

Wow, another epiphany! I’m on a roll.

Freedom to live our lives isn’t easily come by. Especially when you’ve been the “go to” person for everyone in your life, when you’ve been the one they’ve all counted on. To suddenly change course and carve out some time for yourself reeks of selfishness.

But, please, if you find yourself in this situation, think again. If you are doing the best you can for the people in your life, you have not only have a right but an obligation to yourself to place some “soft” boundaries around your own life. Not in a vindictive manner. Not in a “I’ll show them”, but just in a way that lets you breathe and maintain some balance. In a way that lets you pursue your own interests without feeling guilty. (I must admit this is very hard for me.)

I find it hard to carve out my own space. I’m always aware of the Biblical injunction to love others. I forget the times that Christ walked away from the crowds to re-group. And he never apologized. I forget how Christ didn’t apologize to the rich young ruler and how he walked away after the rich young man refused to listen. If Christ who is love can do that, I need to learn how too.

When we give freedom to others to live their lives, it boomerangs back to us. Just the awareness that we are giving them that freedom reminds us that we are a person too. Exercise the freedom to live your life while giving others the same courtesy. It makes life so much easier all around

(There is one caveat to all this. Sometimes we are responsible for the physical care of someone. Practicing that freedom under those circumstances can be very delicate. While we need to have some freedom from the pressure, we simply might not be able to have as much as we’d like, only what we need. I’m somewhat in that position myself and I never find it easy. It’s hard to know sometimes when I’m being fair to myself or just incredibly selfish.)

just because a door opens doesn’t mean you should walk through it

(Heads up-this is a longer post than usual. 
Just wanted you to know.)

“God never opens doors that have been closed. He opens other doors, but He reminds us that there are doors we have shut (bold is mine), doors which need never have been shut, imaginations which need never have been sullied. Never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way…..God will turn the what “might have been” into a wonderful culture for the future. ” (My Utmost for His Highest“, Oswald Chambers)

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I’ve used this devotional for years and years. The first copyright is 1935 so the language is a bit stiff but the daily readings are incredibly powerful. I’ve yet to feel that I’ve gotten to the depth of what Chambers is saying. Every day seems fresh and as though I’d never read it before. .

My personal copy is so marked up I need to use my newer one but the over-worn pages of this one are too comforting with its scars, underlining and dog-eared pages. I would feel like I was abandoning a friend. I share the quote above with you today because I sense someone needs to hear it.

I’m hesitant to even discuss this as it’s such a complex subject and certainly one relatively short post doesn’t begin to do the subject justice. But because this kind of thinking seems so prominent I feel prompted to at least try. This whole “open and closed doors”, whether one is a Christian or not, is highly overrated as a sign to decide upon a course of action. It’s like saying, “If that purse is on sale when I go back to the store, it’s a sign (open-door) that I’m supposed to buy it. If it’s not (closed-door), it’s a sure sign I’m not supposed to buy it.” Ridiculous, huh, but we all do it. I’ve done it often myself.

Christians often take it a step further and mistakenly assume that an open door automatically means God is behind it and a closed-door means He’s not. But doors are open all the time that are not good for us and closed doors may well mean God wants us to work harder or go in another direction. If Moses had accepted Pharoah’s first denial to let the Israelites go as a closed-door, the Israelites might still be in captivity!

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If I went by my experience with blogging as an example, all I can say is I’ve felt like a lot of doors have been shut but I keep plugging away anyway because I am sure I should do this.

Years ago, my husband was eagerly sought out by a local business person who wanted him to come and work for him. My husband was feeling the pull strongly as his current place of employment at the time was undergoing some difficulties due to the fact that it was a family owned business and they were squabbling with each other. The new offer meant more money. We discussed it and we both felt it was time to move on so my husband accepted the job.

His new employer said he and his wife would like to take us out to dinner that night. We agreed. When we got into his car, it was as he had morphed into someone my husband had never met. I was meeting him for the first time and I can honestly say, I felt a kind of terror when I looked him in the eyes. This was a man who oozed malevolence.

As the evening wore on, my heart sank deeper and deeper.  I knew I had met the first (and only one up to this point) person I would characterize as truly “evil”  His demeaning behavior to the wait staff at the restaurant was horrendous to say the least. He was nothing short of a bully. His revelations about his family said a lot. (They didn’t have anything to do with him.) My husband was feeling the same way. We kept exchanging glances that said, “Oh, no, what have we gotten in to?”  We knew we had made a huge mistake.  No amount of money in the world would make up for working for this man.

It was about 10:00 in the evening.The night had gone on way too long as this bully of a man ordered people around as though they were his personal servants. We hoped my husband’s former employer would re-hire him but you can figure out how that went. That door was shut and God didn’t open it. I can remember that night clearly. We were heartsick and knew even worse was coming. We were not mistaken.

It was a year and a half of hell. My husband went into a deep depression. The stress was so great his  back went into spasms that continued for months. As it turned out this man was criminal in his business practices. After about a year, my husband reported him to the board of directors. He was eventually fired but by this time the company was on its way to complete failure. My husband found another job but that too went south. All in all it was  three years of hell.

Finally, after three months of unemployment (thank goodness that’s all it was), my husband found a new job at one-half his former salary. Ouch! This time though we knew it was a door that God had opened. We also knew that our years of turmoil were our own fault. We had been greedy. This new opportunity turned out to be the best job he’d ever had. The people were great; the company was great. The job led to international travel and allowed us both to see the world.

We keep this experience in the front of our memory always, as a reminder of how easy it is to think that when something looks good, it is good.  Not so. Many people have been led down a path to destruction because of that line of thinking

Consider the words from “You Light Up My Life” recorded  by Debbie Boone and more recently Whitney Houston, and LeAnn Rimes, “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right“.

Oh yes, it can.

When something doesn’t smell right, doesn’t feel right, we need to step back and let God clear our thinking. And even if it does smell right and feel right, we still need to step back and let God either reinforce the direction we are heading or put a roadblock in our way.

I’m not suggesting it’s as easy as I made it sound. Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn’t. And, yes, sometimes we can talk ourselves into believing God has directed us to take a certain course of action and still be wrong. Sometimes only time will tell.  In our case, we hadn’t rushed into our decision but we also hadn’t brought God into the equation as we should have. Those three years were our training ground in learning to lean on God. But we don’t believe this was God’s preferred method to teach us.

This is a big subject, God’s leading. I certainly don’t mean to come across as an expert but I have had a long walk with God (since I was very young) and I’ve done my homework. And I realize the argument could even be made that we did make the right decision and that God meant for us to go through a tough learning experience to grow our faith, that the depression and back issues were because we were slow learners. (I should add that I had my own issues during this period but mostly they were centered on excessive worry where my husband’s health was concerned.)

Even if all that were true, the concept of being slow to assume an open door is God-sent still applies. I just know that when a “good” opportunity comes our way now, both of us are much more cautious before we walk through that door.

What do you think? What has been your experience with “open” and “closed” doors? I would love to hear from you  regardless of your faith background. It’s never been my intention to narrow the audience of this blog to only those who believe as I do. We learn the best when we expose ourselves to different viewpoints.

(I guess it’s every bloggers biggest hurdle-to get people to comment. If I could figure out how some people have managed to place a little tag on their blog that says they always reply to comments, I would. But that door is closed for the moment. 🙂  But I will reply.)

how do we know?-part three

 

difficult decision making

difficult decision making 

how do we know?-part three

We cancelled our trip. Took my mom to the doctor. She isn’t “playing wolf” this time at all. She has pneumonia. She’s still seriously depressed as well. There are no  confusions, no doubt and no regrets with this decision to stay home.

Do I wish we could still go?  Of course. Am I feeling the pain? Of course.  But remember what I said yesterday about whose pain would be the worse? Who might tolerate the pain the best? Her pain would be the worse if I left. Mine I can handle.

I really needed a break. At least I thought I did. God thought otherwise.  I could’ve still gone as my brother lives with her but it was clear what I should do.

I’ve looked back over my process of decision-making and realize it’s been right on-track. It hasn’t been without emotion. It hasn’t been without a lot of going back and forth. It hasn’t been without a lot of prayer and thinking through what I know God wants of me overall.

I also mentioned that “feeling” peace is not necessarily the result of a right decision-even a decision God has made clear.

The right decision is the right decision.

The peace that God provides passes understanding, therefore we can’t define it. But we know when we have it. Knowing we’ve made the right decision results in a quiet confidence. A quiet confidence that God has done the leading and we have done the following.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m disappointed my plans had to be cancelled. I was so looking forward to relaxing in the sun. Collecting shells on the beach. Reading one book after another. Walking the beach and listening to the waves. My mom is not going to change but my anger with her over the past few days has been wondrously replaced with a warm and tender love. With all my frustration with her, I love her deeply and want only the best for her.

As I fell asleep last night, I reminded myself of Proverbs 3:5 & 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”

He did.

I knew this morning what my decision would be.It came as easily as deciding between coffee with cream or without. (It’s always without.) It kind of surprised me in its quick acceptance in my heart. I didn’t fight against it. It was simply the right decision and needed no more thought.

God is so good. When we ask for wisdom, He gives it. We may take many detours to find it. We may have to muddle through many options. We may take one path of thinking only to turn around and take another less traveled. It may seem as if God’s playing with us. We feel like a hamster on a wheel that God keeps turning. But if we hang in there, the wheel stops and we can get off.

I hope the only decisions I have to make for a while are whether I’ll wear the red sweater or the black one.

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