Sunday, March 25, 2012

If The Shoe Fits

It's a small thing. I needed new black shoes for an event. I had a general idea what I wanted, but was open to what I could find. How hard could that be?

But we live in America, the land of endless choices and expensive prices.
I went to one store where the price was reasonable, but the height of the heels were not! I won't go on about that. I found only one pair worth trying on and was quickly out of the store.

The next store offered more choice, but higher prices. I resigned myself to paying more than I wanted to and finally settled on a pair that was comfortable as well as dressy.

Because I always feel like I need to make sure I've explored every option, I took my selection and headed to the clearance racks just to make sure. There I found a pair more comfortable, with more pizazz and at half the price! The first selection went back on the shelf and I checked out happy. No, not happy. Satisfied.

Why was I satisfied? The truth about you and I is that every decision we make is an indicator of our priorities. I was satisfied because this small choice of a new pair of shoes, something insignificant, allowed me to meet my priorities. I could meet my need without being what to me would be extravagant. When I wear them I will continue to feel satisfied because I prefer to use money for more practical and worthy causes.

It is said that one of the best indicators of a person's priorities is their checkbook. I hope that if you were to take a look at mine you would not see me helping myself to a variety of useless purchases. I hope that you would see priorities that include meeting the needs of my family and helping others.

What does your checkbook say about your priorities? Does the "shoe fit"?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Whatever Happens

Do you excuse your own bad behavior like I do? So many times I can excuse my own impatience or unkind comment by basically quoting the old playground excuse: "She (or he) started it!". As if someone else's bad behavior was responsible for mine! The one thing I always tell my kids is that the only thing we are really responsible for is ourself and our own reaction to things. So, why do I miss when I am shirking that responsibility?

I suppose it's easy to miss when you're close to the situation, but I've recently been challenged to be more vigilant in catching my own self-justification. The challenge came from a short phrase of Scripture that I had read many times before, but this time I took the time to really think about it.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."(Philippians 1:27a) "Whatever happens". That "whatever" tells me that I have no excuses for poor behavior. As someone who professes to be, not just a Christian, but a committed follower of Jesus, how I react reflects not only on me, but on the gospel of Christ as well. I don't have room for excuses. Of course, I am human and will, at times, react poorly, but it is at those times that how I handle myself becomes even more important. It is then that I have to stand up and admit my wrong and ask for forgiveness from the person I have wronged.

Personally, I am much better at self-justification than apologies. I am actually so good at it that I can fully convince myself that I did nothing wrong. But in order to "conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" I'm going to have to get a whole lot better at being honest with myself as well as apologizing.

So, if you catch me at one of those moments when I need to be honest and apologize, recognize that I am still working on it. Then maybe you can gently remind me that I wrote this and you can say "Well, YOU started it!" and maybe you'll be able to see me conduct myself in a worthy manner. That is my hope and my goal.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

Finding time to write this week has been a bit tricky as we have been doing a very slight redecoration of our family room. In order to accommodate my husband's new flat screen TV we had to purchase new furniture (all thanks to Christmas gift money). Since Christmas, the new TV has been sitting on top of the old entertainment center. You know, the kind with the square center for your old style TV to fit? Oh yeah, and the old TV was still sitting there, too. Very attractive! So we finally found furniture that would meet our need and our budget. This weekend it was out with the old and in with the new!

The "new" part is always exciting. I admit that I hate the idea of "put-together" furniture. Once I choose it I just want to move it in! But the process of moving in the new not only requires the building of the new, but also the moving out of the old. We found that the old piece was just too heavy to move and we actually had to destroy it just to get it out!

Change rarely happens effortlessly. I mean the kind of change that moves toward improvement. Whether it is changing a room, changing a law or changing a life great, concentrated effort is often required. Sometimes, the old might need to be totally destroyed in order to make room for the new.

The Lenten season is a good time for examining old life patterns and determining to make room for some new ones. Don't be afraid to use the spiritual sledge hammer if necessary!