Cheze is a beagle. She is a loving do who also loves food. She always want to eat. She is not picky. She will eat food or anything else that she can find. This week she found the pantry door partly open, and she helped herself to a raw potato. She will try to eat just about anything. Due to her voracious appetite, we have been told to limit her food to once daily. We also practice portion control for her.
This leads to foraging on her part. She knows where dog food is kept in the house. She also know that the luscious dog treats are located in the same closet. She is currently barking at the treats. She cannot reach them, but she wants them. She keeps barking. Maybe she hope that I will come and give her one of the much desired treats. Maybe she hopes that barking will entice the treat to jump down from its shelf. I suspect that she is barking out of frustration.
We all can be like Cheze when it comes to goals. We see a goal. We want a goal, but it is unreachable. So, we bark. We bark for others to get our goal. We bark thinking that somehow the goal will move closer if we shout at it. We bark because we want it, and we can’t seem to reach it.
The reality is that our goals often require work and patience. Our job is to listen to God as we determine what our course of action should be. Is it time for this goal? Is this the time for that? In Cheze’s case, now is not the time to eat. She must wait. Barking is not going to move the time along any faster. Cheze must sometimes learn patience.
Another option that we have is to work towards a goal. Cheze cannot figure out what to do to reach her goal of the treats. We can figure out what to do to reach our goals. Is now the time God is calling you o work toward your goal? If so, how are you working towards your goal.
Barking at unattainable goals does nothing for anyone, but listening to God’s urgings about working and waiting can move us toward our goals.
Pile of gorgeous gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am going to be a houseguest. I am going to be a houseguest in another state. It makes sense to take a gift thanking the hosts for their hospitality. So, I am trying to decide what to give that is representative of my home state. I would also like for it to be something that my hosts would like or enjoy. This gift search has got me to thinking.
How many times in our day do we stop and think about what other people might want or like? How often do we consider how our behavior is representative of who we are? It seems that man of us go through our days without thinking. We just act. The person driving the car in front of us drives too slowly, so we through up our hands and huff and puff. This does not add to anyone’s day. We are aggravated by a situation so we rant and rave to a friend on the phone, regardless of who may be able to overhear us. Our angry words have affected not only us, the person we are speaking to, but those venomous words may affect anyone else who might overhear. We don’t think about what other people might think of what we do or say. We don’t think about how we can give them a gift by offering our best selves in all situations. We usually, in our human condition, are thinking more about ourselves than the effect we might have on others.
Instead of just offering a physical gift to our hosts, perhaps we should see everyone we meet as a host. They are allowing us to be in their presence. While we are with them, we can offer the gift of our best selves. The gift I took with me was Red Rocker Candy. It is made near my home, and it is nationally known. It was something sweet. It was not something that they had to keep forever (in case they were overwhelmed with knick-knacks). It was something that I enjoy. I shared myself and tried to put my hosts first. How we live is our gift to those we encounter in our lives.
Image via Wikipedia
We decide that things are going to be different. We make a plan. We have a goal. We are ready. Then things happen. For example, I decided I would eat healthy for 2012. I have meals planned. I shared my goal with my family. Everything was fine. Then, I found some Christmas presents that had not been put away. Someone gave us pecan brittle. I’m the only one who likes pecans. You can probably guess the rest of the story.
In our lives there are often surprises, unexpected events, and bags of Red Rocker Pecan Brittle that can derail us from our goals. We may be tempted to give up the goal entirely. We may be tempted to say that the goal was just too difficult for us. We may go looking for more hidden candy. The truth is that none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes, give in to the temptation, and have a hard time changing our way of being. We do things that we know are not good for us. We are sometimes thoughtless. We are selfish. We all do the wrong thing occasionally. The question is not, are we going to mess up? The question is what are we going to do when our life interferes with our goals? How are we going to handle the bag of pecan brittle, the errant behavior, and all of our mistakes?
After we accept the error or mistake, then we need to keep going. Don’t allow one momentary lapse to cause you to abort your goal. Each day we re given a new opportunity to be transformed. We are able to keep moving forward. There will be things, surprises, and Red Rocker Pecan Brittle that diverts us from our goal. Our living interrupts the best intentions, plans, and goals. We have to decide how we are going to handle life in the midst of this living. What are you going to do after you make the mistake? Forgive the mistake. Seek forgiveness if your behavior has hurt others. Continue to seek your goal. God does not expect perfection from you. You will make mistakes. You will be diverted. We all must learn to live in the midst of life.
photo © 2009 Jacob Bøtter | more info (via: Wylio)
If I just try harder or work harder, then it will work. How many of us have done this or thought about doing this? We think that by sheer force of will we can change things. Sometimes this is true. But often, will power is not enough to make something happen. We are often much more complex than that. We need to stop and consider how we keep getting into the same situation, the “why” behind things.
Consider dieting or healthy eating. It is not terribly complicated to figure out how to eat healthy. More fruits and vegetables, less carbs and processed food. Yet many of us struggle to eat healthy. We know that we need less cake, more vegetables. We know it, but we do things that we know are bad for us. Many of the groups designed to help people learn to eat healthy tell folks that they have to learn why they are eating the unhealthy food. Will power alone won’t allow us to make the healthy eating changes in our lives. We have to understand why we are doing what we are doing. (Emotional eating, stress, boredom, accessibility, etc.) Once we understand why, then we are able to make the changes that need to be made.
Food is one example, but in all of our lives we need to consider the why of our actions before we can ever hope to change our behavior. Maybe you feel that you are not kind to strangers. Why? It won’t help you or the stranger if you force yourself to be kind, because will power is not enough. Why aren’t you kind to strangers? Figure this out, then you can move forward. If you feel that you always seem to wait until the last minute to get things done, figure out the why. Once you figure out your thinking, then you can change your behavior. Trying to change your behavior without figuring out the thinking just makes you tired and very little changes.
Take the time to think about the why before you change the what, then you will find out that you are able to change a lot more than you think.