I recently enjoyed a conversation with a beautiful, brilliant, newly divorced friend. We discussed many things, but the most significant conversation concerned life & how it seems to be passing by without any joy, satisfaction or making memories. Mere existence is simply not in my vocabulary! I am a strong believer that life is what you make it. Granted, I can’t control whether someone runs a red light & crashes into me or a disease process takes it toll on my body. I can, however, make sure I exercise wisdom, caution, & keen observation while driving. I can also take care of my body including diet & exercise.
When mentoring, my opinion is humble & although it may not be taken seriously, I attempt to steer clear of it. In doing so, I generally point to the Bible as my primary point of reference. If I know a great historical example, I utilize them too. During the above conversation I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite stories. The Apostle Paul is one of my heroes next to David, Esther & of course, Jesus. In this story Paul was captured, chained & tossed in prison. The day came to stand before the King & what Paul said was profound. Going back in history, it was prophesied that Paul would stand before Kings. It didn’t allude to how he would be standing, but God would be glorified. His statement in Acts 26:2 to King Agrippa was, “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews.” Regardless of his circumstances, Paul took responsibility & when the opportunity arose, he chose to think himself happy.
In our lives, we face circumstances that can steal our joy; render us paralyzed with fear; & create anxiety by consuming our thoughts whereby dominating such emotions. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen anyone literally bound with chains & shackles. Oh wait……I forgot! This is exactly what our thoughts become. See….it isn’t the circumstance that instills fear, but our reaction to the circumstance. We have a choice. Here is a simple example. For years I volunteered as camp nurse at our state campground for youth retreats or summer camps. I loved this time & there were always exciting challenges. When my son, Bryce, was around two years old he discovered something fun. Rhino Beetles. I, on the other hand, was extremely afraid of them. They were huge, ugly & I had absolutely no idea what their capacity was, but I knew I wanted nothing to do with them. One day Bryce wanted to show me his catch. When I saw he was carrying a Rhino Beetle, I immediately wanted to scream & run. I knew my son well enough that if I showed this type of reaction, I would have Rhino Beetles in my bed! Regardless of my fear & anxiety, my response, not my reaction, was cool, calm & collected. I shuddered after he left! The beetles, my circumstance, had no idea I was freaking out. We can respond appropriately or react in fear, anger or anxiety. Paul had many valid reasons on numerous occasions to forsake his mission, yet he was a man with a determined purpose.
Each choice we make requires energy. We can expend our negative energy on fear, anger, or anxiety OR……we could devote the same amount of positive energy on faith, prayer, gratitude, confidence, hope & belief. Today I used an example from something the Apostle Paul did. His choices became his legacy & continue to direct people on a daily basis. YOU are just as valuable & capable of making significant choices. The mind is the greatest battlefield. Thoughts can be held captive or left to sabotage our lives. Either way we can direct the battleground.
It’s a choice. In the end….I pray above all things that you think & choose wisely!