Yellow arrows painted on the paved pathway clearly indicate the direction foot traffic should flow.
I understood why this was necessary during the busy evening events planned for the park. My dilemma was wondering if I needed to follow these directions during my morning walk, when no crowds were present. I entered the park on foot, on the opposite side from the parking lot, so was already going the opposite direction.
After glancing around to ensure no one else would be entering this section of walkway, I strode in opposition to the painted markers. What I did caused no harm to anyone but still left me feeling slightly guilty.
This was about much more to me than following arrows marked on the ground. I have often had to make a decision between taking the designated route or following my own path. What seems to be best or most convenient for me is not always what I should do. My conscience is sometimes in opposition to my will.
These days we are faced with many decisions and opinions. Which way I go is ultimately up to me. I can follow the guidelines and social conventions or I can oppose them, certain that my rights are more important than my compliance.
If my choice causes harm, intentional or not, I will be faced with guilt and remorse. For that reason, I cannot allow personal beliefs to be the cause of disregarding the rules. When it comes to the direction I need to go, it’s seldom as easy as following painted arrows.
Prescription in hand, I headed for the Optical Store, determined to make the necessary change.
A few months earlier I had been there, looked at new frames, received some price quotes and then decided to put off getting new glasses. Even though my prescription had changed, my old ones didn’t seem that bad, so I thought I could get by with them.
Hours spent in front of a computer screen started to result in blurry vision. Reading a book could do the same. Sometimes the issue took hours to fully resolve. For the sake of clarity, the time had come to make the change.
Decisions on frame style and lens type weren’t as difficult as I’d thought. I felt good knowing soon I’d be looking at the world more clearly through a new pair of glasses.
This could have been accomplished much sooner if I’d just made the change when it was needed rather than putting it off.
I guess this is a mirror of my life as I have been known to resist change there as well. My reasons to stay the same seem valid at the time. It’s too much effort. Things aren’t really that bad the way they are. Eventually, I lose clarity and situations become distorted. My focus is no longer healthy.
What I need is a new perspective, another way of looking at things. When I figuratively change glasses my outlook and therefore my life, improves. It’s amazing what a shift in focus can do!
“Squat down like you’re going to sit in a chair,” the exercise instructor told us. “When you are almost there, change your mind and stand up again. Now repeat, and again.”
The exercise was effective but I couldn’t help laughing at the thought that came to mind. If changing my mind is exercise, I should be way more fit for all the years of practice I’ve had!
Do you ever second-guess your decisions and keep changing your mind? Questions such as; What if I made a mistake? Why did I agree to do something so challenging? Will I look like a fool? go through my mind.
These would either paralyze me or turn me into someone who only made decisions to please others. It all came down to a lack of confidence. I wanted you to like me and thought I had to be and say who you wanted me to be in order for that to happen. In other words, I didn’t believe in myself.
Moments like this still occur in my life, but not to the same extent. It wasn’t easy but I have learned to voice my opinions. Just because someone doesn’t agree with me doesn’t mean they reject me. The more I practice this, the more confidence I gain.
This allows me to make a decision and stick with it. It looks like changing my mind will no longer be enough exercise for me!
During a walk on a frosty day, an unusual sight was seen. The pond was almost frozen over. Ice started around the shoreline and was reaching towards the centre. There, huddled together in the small area of remaining water, swam a few geese.
“Why hadn’t they flown south yet?” I wondered. It was only a matter of days before the ice would completely cover the pond. They were certainly leaving things until the last moment.
The scene made me think of the number of times I’ve acted like a silly goose. Signs of an impending freeze in my life have been ignored. If I don’t acknowledge what’s happening around me, maybe the trouble won’t materialize. After all, there’s no immediate danger so I may not have to take action.
This type of attitude has not served me well. Often the reason I put off making a decision is that I’m not sure which direction to take. What if I make the wrong choice? I fail to realize that making no decision is still making a decision!
I don’t know what the future holds but I do have a personal relationship with the One who does. God has promised to teach us what to do. I just need to call out to him in prayer and listen carefully for his response.
With this kind of power available to me, not to seek his guidance would make me as silly as those geese.
The Lord says, “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 GWT)
I have an opportunity that excites and terrifies me at the same time. It’s something I’ve been interested in for several years and keep saying, “Someday.” Recently an invitation was given for a specific date.
Talking brave is one thing; being brave is an entirely different matter. The time has come to make a decision. Either I go ahead or completely give up on this adventure. It’s like someone has called my bluff!
Conflicting thoughts compete for space in my mind. There is a possibility of harm. I’ve always erred on the side of caution. This has ensured safety but I wonder what the cost has been.
A song that I heard many years ago springs to mind. The words, “Everything in moderation, that’s the way it’s always been” are a good representation of my life. The lyrics go on to express a longing for more.
I wonder if I’ve played it safe for long enough. Maybe I need this adventure to take me farther out of my comfort zone than I’ve ever been.
Another song that comes to mind is Live Like You Were Dying. Currently I have my health. A physical examination with all the required tests was recently completed and no problems were found. At this point in time I have loved ones who are facing severe health issues. They are limited in activities I take for granted and wouldn’t be able to do what I’m considering even if they wanted to. I don’t want to look back with regret that I let fear rob me of an adventure I was capable of.
The other factor is money. There are far more practical uses for it. I remember a quote from Jim Rohn that says, “If you want something badly enough you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
The pros and cons have now been weighed. It seems I’ve made my decision.
I’ll tell you all about it in my September newsletter! Watch for it on September 12th.
If you don’t already receive my monthly newsletters you can send me a private message with your email address or sign up on my website www.timewithtandy.com
The view over the water was disconcerting. I couldn’t see the horizon. The line where the sea met the sky was blurred by the mist.
I thought of how sometimes in life the line between yes and no; do and don’t; right and wrong also becomes blurred. When I’ve been unable to distinguish a clear marker, it was easy to cross that blurred line.
The result is never good. I end up faced with shame and disappointment rather than the hope and promise I desire.
Within hours the sky cleared and I had a new perspective of the scene before me. The line was clearly defined and no longer blurred.
This has happened both literally and figuratively.
It is the power of Jesus in my life that allows me to see things clearly. He takes away the confusion and gives me peace as he guides me. He sees clearly what I cannot. It is my faith in him and not my own limited vision that I choose to live by.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)
For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
My husband and I were sitting in an airport restaurant on a layover between flights. We had been en route since very early in the morning and it was difficult to know if it was breakfast or lunch we wanted.
I did a quick check of the time when I heard the waiter ask the people a few tables over if they’d like coffee, a milkshake or a margarita. It was 10:30 am. My first thought was, “Who would want an alcoholic drink at this time of the morning?”
This was quickly followed by the realization that we were in an international airport. There would be people en route from time zones all over the world. The waiter was taking into consideration that he didn’t know where people were coming from or what their needs were.
A good life lesson had just been presented to me. When I encounter people I really have no accurate way of gauging where they have come from in their lives or what their current needs may be. For this reason I need to be conscious of treating everyone with courtesy and respect.
Jesus set this example and if I keep myself aligned with him it will be easier to see others through his eyes of love and compassion.
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Psalm 139:1-5
While my husband and I were driving I checked the weather app on my phone. Curious as to what the temperature gauge in the car was showing, I asked Brian. When he told me I replied, “That’s two degrees warmer than what my phone showed. I like that one better.” In his wisdom, Brian asked, “Is that what you do when faced with two options; take the one you like best?” I asked, “Wouldn’t you?” He then proceeded to tell me that he would take the one that was most accurate.
His words sparked an interesting discussion. It isn’t always easy to determine which is the most accurate. Research is required in many cases. I can’t always rely on popular opinion. The best two out of three isn’t necessarily the way I should make a decision!
If I were to be perfectly honest, there have been many times when I have chosen the option that suited me best. This seems to be the way of human nature, to look after our own interests first. That is one of the ways that I know Jesus was more than just a good man. The Son of God laid his own life aside for the good of all those who follow Him.
When I am faced with the choice to put my trust in Jesus or take my life on my own terms, the decision is easy for me. All of the research points to the accuracy of the Bible. By aligning myself with this truth, the choices I make will not be based on my selfish desires, but those of the common good. These are the accurate choices that the Lord guides me to make.
Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. Proverbs 3:5-6 GNT