Friday, July 12, 2013

Think!



Napoleon Bonaparte



George Bernard Shaw



I have a lot to do today and I need to stay focused.  Staying focused is key for me.  I’m excited about today and I’m grateful, very grateful, to be here.  Here are some other things I am grateful for today:
·      I’m grateful for this blog.
·      I’m grateful for my ability to write well.
·      I’m grateful for the people who love me and the people I love.
·      I’m grateful that someone texted me a prayer request this morning.
·      I’m grateful that I was up early this morning so I could get to work quickly.
·      I’m grateful for my health.
·      I’m grateful that I have food.
·      I’m grateful that I have a job.
·      I’m grateful that I have time off from that job to do other things.
·      I’m grateful for my books.
·      I’m grateful for the many opportunities to learn.
·      I’m grateful for my home.
·      I’m grateful for my car.

This list could go on and on.  Yes, there are areas in my life that are far from perfect.  Having an attitude of gratitude is not an exercise in fantasy.  I am not oblivious to my difficulties, but there are really only three ways to address difficulties in an emotionally healthy manner.  Each way first requires complete acceptance of the situation.
1.     Deal directly with the difficulties.
2.     Let go of the difficulty until a more appropriate time.
3.     Accept that the difficulty cannot be changed. 

Dealing with a difficulty may mean ending a relationship, getting a job, asking for forgiveness, cleaning up a mess, or changing a habit or behavior.  It is taking action.  If I have learned anything in the last few weeks, it has been how powerful action is.  Very few things change by themselves.
Letting go of a difficulty until a more appropriate time is sometimes, for me, the most difficult.  I don’t like to have things lingering, especially with regard to relationship issues. Sometimes though I just have to wait for the right time to deal with a problem, but not let it take over every thought until I get to that time.
Acceptance of a difficulty means simply that:  I accept this problem and I accept that I cannot change it. I accept, peacefully, that I cannot or choose not to change a particular thing. This often applies to the following:
·   The weather
·   Traffic lights
·   Political appointments
·   Other people’s behaviors.

There are only two things that I can really change – my actions and my attitude.
Acceptance, by the way, is not avoidance, apathy or acquiescence.  Those are twisted mirror images of acceptance.  Acceptance is a conscious choice that I cannot or choose not to address a difficulty.  I know I have accepted something by the degree of peace I feel with my decision.
Also, though this may contradict what I wrote above, sometimes things do change by themselves.  Some problems do go away if I just give them time.  Again, this takes conscious present thought to decide if this will be the case.  Also, I have seen many things change through the power of prayer.  Prayer can be a form of acceptance.  I accept that a particular difficulty is beyond my power to repair, but it is not beyond God’s power.
What does all this have to do with Purpose?  The more Purposeful my life is, the surer I am to encounter difficulties.  Actually, I will encounter difficulties either way.  But when I am in Purpose I can be conscious of how to address difficulties.  When I am not, difficulties often just sweep me away like a tidal wave. 
Quoting Albert Schweitzer, Earl Nightingale says in The Strangest Secret, “The problem with men today is that men just don’t think.”  Often this is true.  Thinking requires that I pause and consider the best course of action.  Often I just react to what is going on around me.  When I react, then I put events and other people in control.  When I think, I get control of, again, either my actions or my attitudes.  Being in control of these enables me to Get Started and to Keep Going… and this too makes me grateful.