As this new year gets underway many find themselves exhausted by the excessive choices that are part and parcel to the holidays, and getting our priorities realigned for this new year.
We love having choices in 21st-century America, but too many options can drain us. Even worse, they can make us unhappy and cause us to flee from making decisions. Researcher Barry Schwartz calls this “choice overload.” For example, going to the supermarket to purchase toothpaste can be challenging when you consider how many different brands of toothpaste you can select from. And it’s not just choosing toothpaste that can overwhelm us. Even worse, consider the deluge of decisions in both our personal and professional lives which can prove to be a daunting task to manage.
Here is how it plays out: according to the experts, the more choices we have the more uncertain we become about making the right choice, resulting in the unintended consequence. Namely, seemingly endless options can lead to uncertainty, anxiety and decision fatigue. As the old saying goes, “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”
So what is the best path forward; one that will help us to be happy and decisive and free of fatigue? Psalm 62, a song of trust in God alone, gives us three words of advice: Wait, pray and obey.
When exhausted by excessive choices, the Lord provides a path to rest and peace.
The writer of Psalm 62 is not in a rush to make big decisions. Instead, he says, “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” (v. 5) So often we feel pressure to make choices quickly, whether we are rushing to declare a major in college, or jumping at the first job that’s offered to us. Or, on a more serious level, rushing into a marriage relationship.
The Bigger the Choice,
The More Important the Wait.
Waiting in silence is not enough — it’s also important to pray. “Trust in [God] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (v.8) We pour out our hearts when we ask for guidance in our decision-making, and when we pray about the various options that lie before us. Taking the time to discern God’s will can help us to eliminate a number of options that will lead us in the wrong direction.
Eliminate choices that don’t line up with your values.
After you wait and you pray, it’s time to obey.
Psalm 62:11 (NLT) 11 “God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you;”
Make sure that any decision you make includes obedience to the moral commands of God and the teachings of Scripture. In so doing, you secure the full blessing of God and favor of God upon your life. And, when God is for you, nothing can stop you!
To hear the entire message I preached on this topic, click the link below.
Just a thought,
If we are honest, at times our life resembles a racetrack instead of a straight road. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves walking the same tried and true, endless loops instead of moving in a new direction.
This Advent Season I challenge you to allow yourself to move in a new direction.
“You have circled this mountain long enough…”
We all have mountains that we circle.
We circle the mountain of poor eating habits, preventing us from reaching our weight loss goals. We circle the mountain of debt, which has us constantly living beyond our means and always struggling to get ahead, the mountain of self-doubt, which causes us to second-guess ourselves and preventing us from reaching our goals in life. And we circle the mountain of spiritual mediocrity, never taking the necessary steps to grow in our faith.
The old saying is true, “If we keep doing what we are doing, we are going to keep getting what we are getting. And, if we don’t like what we are getting, we need to change what we are doing.”
If you want to break into a straightaway, consider the following.
(1) Change up your routine. Interrupt the well-beaten path and try something new. (2) Make a promise to yourself that you have to keep. Start that diet. Hire that trainer. Get on a financial budget. (3) Celebrate your new direction. Reward yourself for any progress that you make.
You can listen to, or view my entire message at www.trinitytoday.com/media
Just a thought,
Matthew 25:14-18, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.”
1. RISK IS NOT AN OPTION
A risk-adverse life is contradiction of faith!
A man once said, “It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows by the cultivation of an insignificant life.” By John Henry Jowett, The School of Calvary
“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” Ray Bradbury
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert F. Kennedy
2. GOD DESERVES OUR BEST
Luke 12:48b (CEV), “…If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better.”
The degree of blessing determines the depth of devotion!
Luke 12:48b (MSG), “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!”
3. AVOID EXCUSES
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else” Benjamin Franklin
The lazy man is full of excuses. “I can’t go to work!” he says. “If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!” Proverbs 22:13 (TLB)
Every life is consciously or unconsciously on a quest for significance. We all want to think that our life counts for something, that who we are and what we do really does matter in the big scheme of things. Why do you think reality TV shows are so popular? Sure it’s for the train wreck factor, but it’s also about validation: “my life isn’t so bad after all.”
Significance is the quality of being worthy of attention. This is why social media is so popular. People feel their life is validated and important if they are noticed by others. However, significance is not derived from “how” we appear, but from “who” we are.
In order to have a life of significance we must develop a life of substance. The word substance comes from a Latin root word substrate, which means, “to stand firm.” A person of “substance” is a person who possesses honesty and intelligence. Many people live a superficial life of pretense––they are all style but no substance. A life can be like the spectacular hot air balloons that soar in the sky’s of Albuquerque every fall, colorful and stylish on the outside, but on the inside full of hot air.
A life of significance is a life of substance that is built on sacrifice. Scripture admonishes us to, “Offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice” (see Rom. 12:1-2). To sacrifice means to give up something of lesser value to gain something of greater value. The price of success in any endeavor is sacrifice. We look at people who are successful and they make what they do look easy, but what is hidden to the general spectator is the price they had to pay to reach the point of success.
Our best example is Jesus Christ. He is the most significant life that has ever graced our planet. Why? Because of the substance of His life and the sacrificeS He made.
Just a thought,
Come this weekend to our services at Trinity to hear more on this subject or visit www.trinitytoday.com next to watch or listen to this message.
Several years ago, I read the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year- old man who decided he set out on an adventure. Larry got up one morning and went down to the local army surplus store where he purchased 45 used weather balloons. Later that afternoon with the help of some friends, he fastened the balloons to his lawn chair, grabbed a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter- and-jelly sandwich and a BB gun. The thought was to shoot out the balloons when he was ready to land.
Walters assumed the balloons would elevate him about 100 feet into the air, but was taken by surprise when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet over the air traffc pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Larry was too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, so he remained airborne a few hours, forcing the airport to divert and delay fights, resulting in long delays across the country.
Soon after Walters was safely grounded and confronted by police, reporters asked him three questions:
Were you scared? “Y es.”
Would you do it again? “No.”
Why did you do it?
“Because,” he said, “You can’t just sit there”.
“You can’t just sit there” is a great motto for life!
There is a story in 2 Kings Chapter 7 about four lepers who found themselves in a desperate circumstance. They were sitting outside the city of Samaria, which was tightly shut up because of a siege they where under by the Syrian army. The lepers’ backs were up against the wall – pardon the pun.
After evaluating their situation they determined to do something.
Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” 2 Kings 7:3 (ESV)
I love their mindset! They knew sitting there and defending the status quo wasn’t going to change their circumstances. They deduced that going into the city wasn’t a favorable option. The only other option for them was to venture out into enemy territory.
The four lepers considered, then pursued the best possible options available. That is a great life strategy for all of us.
Life lesson: evaluate all your options pick the one that gives you the best chance of producing your desired outcome.
As they entered the enemy’s camp – to their amazement the Syrians fed in holy terror thinking a massive army was invading them. In their haste they left behind everything. The four lepers had a hay-day eating, drinking and carrying off the spoils of war.
There is a profound life lesson here: When lack and defciency is all you see, lack and defciency will be all you have. A winning mindset fnds a way.
This poem “All in the State of Mind” is circulating for awhile but worth siting.
If you think you’re beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, For out in the world you fnd
Success begins with a fellow’s will; It’s all in the state of mind.
Full many a race is lost Ere ever a step is run;
And many a coward fails
Ere ever his work’s begun.
Think big, and your deeds will grow; Think small, and you’ll fall behind; Think that you can, and you will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are; You’ve got to think high to rise;
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the one who wins Is the one who thinks, “I can.”
Sometimes miracles happen not because we are looking for them but because they are looking for us. Get up! Get going! And Get Over it!
Often the test of courage is not to die but to live. —Conte Vittorio Alferi.
Just a thought,