Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Are you a settler?

"The years teach much which the days never know." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  I believe we all have had those moments when we simply stand in amazement at how well things just "came together", even when we didn't quite know what to expect or how it would all get accomplished.  I have put many a "build it yourself" piece of furniture together in my lifetime and let me just tell you this - those pictures look good on the outside of the box, but when you see all those parts on the inside - eegads!  I set about building, in faithful obedience to the instructions so as to not end up with parts left over or having to "redo" my work.  Try as I might, I usually have to take something apart!  Why?  I followed the directions, but somehow I didn't quite see how that one piece was just subtly different than the other. In life, what we learn from having to "redo" some of the things we have experienced isn't all that fun, but the lesson learned in "redoing" the experience is what often keeps us from making that mistake the next time.  It isn't that we had some kind of super-power knowledge the second time around - it was just that the learning of the day ended up helping form a lesson for a lifetime!

Those devoted to instruction will prosper in goodness; those who trust in the Eternal will experience His favor.  (Proverbs 16:20 VOICE)

We often balk at the daily learning because we don't see the bigger picture of the lesson being taught in those moments of "redo".  Picasso was talking about his artwork one day and he made a very profound statement:  "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction."  If we think about that in terms of how we make it through life each day, we might begin to see that every time we are made to "redo" one of life's journeys it may just be that we are in the process of learning a much bigger lesson.  Those moments of "deconstructing" whatever it is we tried and failed at accomplishing may actually be the moments when God's creative forces are at work within us.  He is in the process of making the past failure lend insight into what can become our present success.

In those moments of "redoing" life, we have a couple of choices.  We could just settle for how things came out - leaving us not really all that satisfied.  Even though we aren't extremely satisfied with the outcome, the "redo" may just be more than we are willing to handle - so we "settle".  There have been times when my store has been out of the one type of spray starch I use on my clothes.  I like that starch because it has proven to give me a nice look to the clothes without leaving all those white flecks.  It is a "premium" starch.  Whenever I have settled for the other version of starch on the shelf, I have always been disappointed and frustrated by the way my clothes appear and how the "pressing" holds up throughout the day of wearing them.  I settled and now I am paying the price.  I have a few partially used cans of the stuff just sitting on the shelf!  Why? I found out "settling" instead of either seeking out the type I really need to use at another store, or waiting for the timing to be right for it to be available to me at my store, really doesn't produce the outcomes I desired.  In life, settling doesn't produce the outcome we need, nor the one we really desire.

We could refuse to "redo" the lesson, choosing instead to dig in our heels and just ride out the outcome - come what may, we will just deal with it. I have also done this (more times than I'd like to admit), but if I were to be honest here - the "redo" would have been a whole lot easier!  Our stubborn rebellion is certainly "easy" for us up front, but on the tail end of that rebellion we find ourselves digging out of some mighty big messes!  The things we "deal with" because we chose to refuse the "redo" actually made it ten times worse "digging out" of the mess we found ourselves in because of our stubbornness.

The wisest choice in those moments of learning which become the lessons of a lifetime:  Acknowledge we didn't get it right, ask for God's help, and then open up to the reality of "taking things apart" so the pieces will ultimately "line up" in the end!  Just sayin!