Do you like the life you are living? I trust that you do, since you are the one choosing it. Yet some of us live as if we are victims of circumstance, because of the culture to which we were born or our family upbringing. Some feel stuck in the humdrum life they are leading. Yet the Bible tells us we have choices. Those wise people who have lived before us even give us specific guidelines to follow. They have been proven to work to give us a good life. Yet so many keep fumbling and bumbling through life using personal methods which do not work.
We are not stuck because of our circumstances. If we seem to be living in a merry-go-round, unable to move on, it is because of our stinkin' thinkin' merry-go-round decisions.
I remember a funny scene in a movie called “Parenthood” with Steve Martin where Grandma (who has a form of dementia) explains life: “… When I was young, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up and down, up, down. Oh, what a ride. I always wanted to go again. It was just interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened … so scared, so sick, so excited … and so thrilled all together. Some didn´t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”
So then, clarifying Grandma's thoughts, life keeps rolling along … up and down or around and around.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 clearly points us in the right direction for taking responsibility. First off, it says for us to see! Important. Many of us go through life drifting and not seeing. When I was a bashful child, that was me. I did not see anything. I could have renamed myself Oblivious Ellin. A new phase for seeing is being mindful.
After you open your eyes, God says that you will see He has set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. He says to Love the Lord, walk in His ways, keep His commandments, statutes, judgments and ... you may live, multiply and be blessed. But … if your heart turns away and you worship other gods, you will perish. He repeats: I've set before you life and death; choose life in order that you may live! Worshiping other gods is the idolatry you hold for a celebrity, the material stuff you collect, the drugs, alcohol you take, or gluttony.
So then, God has given you the stage. You are the decision maker. You have the control and the power on what direction to proceed on your journey. Do you have gauges? Yes, you do. There is no gray area. You are either with God or not. If you are with God, you will be happy; see the face of Jesus in others. If you are not with God, you will worry, be fearful, be unforgiving. Helen Schucman writes in her book, “A Course in Miracles” (which she feels was dictated by Jesus), “I am not at peace, I must have chosen wrongly.” And then in Chapter 20, more responsibility is put on our shoulders:
“I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
I ask for, and receive as I have asked.”
Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in what is done to you. Acknowledge that your action or inaction had a hand in the results.
When I counsel a divorcee, I tell them that they will be healed when they can accept their part in the breakup and truly forgive both themselves and their spouse. This always results in their surprised look of disbelief, for it's our dark ego nature that loves to put the blame on others or the circumstances.
So, what to do? Hop off the merry-go-round; take your last ride on the roller coaster. Stand up tall and take action from your heart.
What really makes you happy? This is your spiritual gift. You have a talent that when you are doing it, you lose track of time, it comes easily with little effort. Get rid of the useless stuff … it's not making you happy and someone else may treasure it; besides, clearing your surroundings clears your mind.
Live mindfully. Notice the cues that God gives you many times everyday; don't hesitate; take action. If things begin to cause a gnashing of teeth, revise your plan. You know God is love and gnashing is not of God. Notice all your miracles and be grateful. Learn the lyrics to Oscar Hammerstein's song “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and sing it if you ever feel your temperament slipping. (“Oh, what a beautiful Mornin', Oh, what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feelin', Everything's goin' my way.)
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Remember: you have the power; you are a shining light. God has set the stage, come from behind the curtains and play your part vibrantly.