Freedom Of Choice

We’re all familiar with disappointment. Some disappointments in life are mild, some are severe. The greater our investments of time, resources, and emotions into specific areas of our lives, the more devastated we are when we find ourselves halted on our roads of choice.

The more we care, the more it hurts.

If we’re making big emotional deposits into a person at the exact time that person decides to withdraw from our shared lives, the abrupt end is shocking. We are devastated. We’re traumatized.

The one left holding an abandoned partnership or thwarted interest wonders, What about what I want? What happened to my freedom of choice? Why am I suddenly powerless? How did I miss the signs of this happening? Is it too late to force us back on track? Are my options exhausted? Should I grovel? Should I relent? Why is it that the time I most need my senses is the time my abilities fail me?

Powerlessness to affect a desired outcome is excruciating.

Friendships end. Marriages end. Partnerships end. Injuries end careers. Bankruptcies end ventures. Relationships fail. All kinds of dreams end. Some conclude relatively painlessly — they were fortunate enough to agree that the road together had run its course; it was time to part ways — but oftentimes, the end was unwanted.

When one person opted out while the other wanted in, it’s uniquely difficult for the one left holding the dream. They were denied choice. Their dreams for life together hadn’t dimmed; they remained committed. For the jilted, it takes time to acknowledge and accept the harsh reality:

One person can’t hold together what another is determined to dismantle. 

It’s so much easier when both parties agree. When one wants out while the other is still very invested, terrible pain results. Those left holding the original vision have some catching up to do. Their freedom of choice was denied. Their dreams were brought to an end for them. They didn’t get a say in what was extremely important to them.

It takes time to grieve the death of dreams that can no longer be. 

Some time after deep grief lessens, more truths surface — brighter truths, encouraging truths; hope for the future:

You are not powerless after-all. Life options exist aplenty. You still have choice. 

New roads will appear on the road-map of your life. Your passions will be paired with opportunities and people who will embrace them. As you forge new paths, one of many remnants will emerge from the debris of your past: an appreciation for freedom of choice. Because you know what loss of freedom feels like, you won’t overlook it this time — you will treasure it; you won’t want to waste it.

You have freedom to select from a vast array of life options going forward. Choose wisely, appreciate much, and like never before, value the gift of your freedom of choice.

America

A nostalgic Happy Birthday to America on this July 4th holiday.

Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg, cover Simon and Garfunkel’s, “America”. For more information, http://www.thisisfirstaidkit.com/

Silver Lining

First Aid Kit perform ‘My Silver Lining’, the first single off their album ‘Stay Gold’ on the London Southbank for 2014 Latitude in the City.

Lyrics

I don’t want to wait anymore I’m tired of looking for answers
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on
Yeah I just keep on keeping on

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

I’ve woken up in a hotel room, my worries as big as the moon
Having no idea who or what or where I am
Something good comes with the bad
A song’s never just sad
There’s hope, there’s a silver lining
Show me my silver lining
Show me my silver lining

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

I won’t take the easy road
The easy road, the easy road

I won’t take the easy road
The easy road, the easy road

Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on


To learn more about this talented sister duo from Stockholm, or to purchase their music: http://www.thisisfirstaidkit.com/

My Beating Heart

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In my former job as a school-based physical therapist, one of the elementary students I worked with had low muscle tone and motor delays. One day after working on gross motor skills — hopping, jumping, galloping, and skipping — he was breathing a little heavily, so we took a rest. I noticed him glance sideways at me to be sure I was watching before he heaved his chest with each, exaggerated breath.

“You worked hard,” I praised on cue. “Good job!”

“My … ,” he began.

Used to his slow and careful speech, I waited expectantly.

“My … ,” he repeated and patted his chest.

I continued to wait, ready with an explanation of why his heart beat stronger during exercise. I was sure he was going to say his heart was beating fast.

“My … ”

Here is was. His beating heart. Soon to be followed by my little lesson about beating hearts.

“My brain is beeping!”

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During the same therapy session, there was an announcement over the intercom that the custodian had found tar on the carpet.

“Teachers, can you please check students’ shoes?”

My somber, thoughtful, lovable student contemplated the announcement, then slowly turned to me.

“You can die from tar,” he said.

“Oh, I don’t think anyone will die from the tar,” I assured. “How would they die?”

Ever-so-patiently, my little patient informed me about tar.

“My grandpa has tar in his lungs. I guess he got it from his feet.”


:) Have a good week, readers, wherever you are in the world!

Unwavering

Originally posted on Cindi Gale:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17 (English Standard Version)

God is constant and unwavering. If we don’t understand that, we often bring our experiences from human relationships to our relationship with him. We try to change him. We make inaccurate assumptions about him. We accuse him. We blame him.

And then we expect intimacy with him. We want him to comfort and coddle us; bless and favor us; counsel and confide in us. When he does, we exploit what he gives, or twist the words and meaning of what he confided. No wonder, when we mishandle the priceless things he entrusts us with, he stops sharing them. He still is nearby, but the intimacy of the relationship is compromised.

What happens over time, for those…

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Diligent Farming

The Bible often references agrarian principles. If we sow good seed, in time we reap good crops. Beyond planting and harvesting, we are responsible for removing weeds. Weeds rob the intended crop of nutrients and moisture that are essential to reach full potential.

For some, those weeds are selfishness, deceitfulness, pride, unfaithfulness, and other personal character deficits. For others, the weeds implanted in their otherwise well-maintained lives and hearts are the aforementioned unkempt people — people pulling off a ruse. People masquerade as high quality crops or workers when they are not; as caring and selfless friends who are anything but; as ardent supporters who are merely pandering in order to plunder another’s harvest; as hardworking fellow farmers while conceiving shortcuts; as peers of sweat equity when their sweat is contrived.

Determining what to do with those ruthless weeds is the most agonizing of all, requiring God’s wisdom, discernment, and strength, and even after the weeds are reconciled, His ongoing comfort and encouragement.

On this topic, the following is a prayerful letter written many years ago using metaphors of farming. Perhaps it will be helpful to someone today.


I hope that your farmstead is vibrant, with your loved ones happily working together to produce an abundant crop. I pray that as the one responsible for your farmstead, you have God’s direction and wisdom to raise and to disperse your harvest wisely, to those God intends.

May you farm well, so that God will be able to fill your barns with the golden grains of His harvest. May your crops be abundant and ready for harvest, in fields that are not visible to passing motorists. May they remain hidden, remote from public viewing, until God determines the optimal time for harvest.

May your barns be filled with a bountiful harvest; the grain golden, supreme, and uncommon; unexpected in quality and abundant in quantity.

Of your crop, let locals remark in surprise, “How did this harvest come from this area? How did it come from this farmer? I’ve never seen this before, from that farm. I wasn’t even watching for that farmer’s harvest. I didn’t expect it from him. I was expecting it from the hyped newcomers, the ones talked about, the ones the community gathers around for polished speeches and proud displays of grains.

“But this grain from this unexpected farmer is undeniably of God … superior in quality, true, golden and not hoarded or boasted about. Instead of displaying his grain for all to admire, he quietly goes about sharing his harvest with those in true need. The grain from the unexpected farmstead satisfies hunger and is shared like the sharing of heirloom seeds, for those who receive to plant for ongoing production and multiplication.”

May you sow and tend your crops with an honorable heart and a tender spirit. Though relationships may crumble, if you have been diligent to farm well, you mustn’t determine that you are the cause. You can’t overcome the will of another. Consider patriarchs of the Old Testament. Many men stood alone in righteousness, while surrounded by dishonorable people.

Let people own responsibility for their choices and thinking, and don’t incorrectly determine that their wrong thinking is due to you. Do you have more power than God himself exerts over people? Even God does not force righteousness on people, though He has labored to convince them that righteousness is best. When they choose to disregard goodness in favor of selfishness, He walks away from them, allowing them their choice. He moves on to be in relationship with people who want Him, who love Him, who talk and listen and include Him. Should you do differently than the Lord himself does with people?

Because you farm faithfully, respectfully, and carefully, you will yet see the fruits of your diligence. There is ample time in your life ahead for goodness, maturity, kindness, zeal, love, sharing, abundance, nobility, respect, and the honor you are due.

Would a good farmer be satisfied with a crop of thorns and weeds? Should you be satisfied with a life that includes thorns, when you have in fact sown fine seed and tended your fields by consistently living righteously? Your diligence is not overlooked by God, though your community has failed to commend you, or your crop has yet to flourish.

It is time for you to consider the thorns that you see on your farmstead. Who sowed these weeds? Not you, but another — it was not you who planted them.

What then, should you do about them? Ignore them? Allow them? What would a good farmer do? Wouldn’t he focus on them, rather than ignore them? Won’t they grow and multiply if he ignores them? Don’t excellent farmers eradicate weeds? What if those weeds are people, you say? What then?

Focus on them. Put your ear to God, and ask about those weeds. You want to be responsible and righteous, above all. You don’t first seek happiness. You first seek righteousness, which is commendable. However, you have misguidedly overlooked weeds, believing it was the right thing to do. Is it?

Consider the weeds. What are they rooted in? God soil? — then leave them be, they may yet transform. But you know who is not rooted in “God soil”; who is rooted in what opposes God. Does the plant want to be transplanted into God’s soil? You know it does not. It wants to live and move and have its being in the soil which opposes God. Or competes with God.

A plant bears good fruit or it does not. If the plant does not want to be transplanted into righteous soil and has shown this by its actions (ignore its verbiage) time and time again, it is like the fig tree that failed to bear fruit in a year and so was ordered chopped down. You cannot change the mind of another. Each is free to choose.

A house divided cannot stand. If the house is your farmstead, will ignoring divisiveness and thorns yield improved crops? No, of course not. The crops will worsen, not improve. Your own field will worsen, not improve. It will fail to produce the pure, fine crops that reflect who you are.

It is time for your harvest. You have been a diligent farmer whose crops are of high caliber. Separate your fields of golden grains from others’ fields of thorns. Enjoy the harvest of your fields. Love the harvest of your fields. Share wisely, with those whose hearts are amenable to God’s ways, not with those who steal or trample on God’s harvest.

It is time for you to reap the abundant, golden crop that you planted and tended, and have longed to harvest.


Matthew 7:6  “”Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Leviticus 26:3-4  “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.”

Matthew 13 Then Jesus used stories to teach them many things. He told them this story: “A farmer went out to sow seed. While he was scattering the seed, some of it fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where there was not enough dirt. It grew very fast there, because the soil was not deep. But when the sun rose, it burned the plants. The plants died because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and stopped the good plants from growing.But some of the seed fell on good ground. There it grew and made grain. Some plants made 100 times more grain, some 60 times more, and some 30 times more.

Psalms 65:9-10  You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth. You water its furrows abundantly, You settle its ridges, You soften it with showers, You bless its growth.

Land That Drinks In The Rain

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Hebrews 6 New International Version (NIV)

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.And God permitting, we will do so.

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It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.

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8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

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The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

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