Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cause and Effect

Dear Reader;

I've written 2 times since I last posted. And yet, still it is the "Monster Tree" you come back to every time you visit. The first post I wrote, I wrote while I was in a very emotional state. If there is one thing I have learned, it is to wait and think before I speak when my emotions and hormones are walking hand in hand. Fortunately, I did wait and saved you the burden of my spewing. The other post I wrote was a lovely Christmas/2009 overview letter. It took me a full hour to write it and alas, I was thrown off the Internet and blogger had not saved my draft. Obviously, I was too disheartened to try writing that one again.

So here we are today. A theme keeps coming back to me and so I will attempt to share with you where my thoughts have been this week. Through a myriad of differing situations, the reality that what we do right now effects where we will be in the future has been glaring me in the face. How we think right now, will impact where we are tomorrow. What we value this moment, will effect our contentment now and in the future. I was trying my best to communicate this idea to my 6 year old today. Not an easy task. I placed a small red stool in the middle of the room. Then I placed a package of hole reinforcement stickers(what I had handy) on the floor next to me. Very dramatically I said, "Oh I really want that package on the red stool." I went on and on about how badly I wanted this. I looked at Josiah and said, "I really want the hole reinforcers to be on that stool, why isn't it happening?" He thought his mother had lost her mind and said, "Because you haven't picked it up and put it on the stool." I said, "Oh but I really want it to be on the stool, isn't that enough? Or do you think that what I do shows more what I desire than what I say? If I really want the package on the stool I have to cause it to happen. I have to pick it up and make my actions match my words. If I say the words, but don't do the action, my words are meaningless."

I think about how where I am right now, is a result of the good and bad choices I made earlier in life. I was a "good" kid in school, but I was a lazy kid. My junior and senior years of high school I was late nearly every morning to my first period classes. I hardly studied, I slid by on "average" grades when I could have done so much more. The result today? Well, I still struggle getting anywhere on time, especially in the morning. I'm working on it, but years of habitual lateness doesn't go away without a lot of struggle. I'm having to teach myself about civics. Poor Mr. Jones was there every morning of my senior year teaching his heart out. Planting in the other student's brains things that I really wish I had a better grasp on today. Now I'm reading and trying to learn on my own things I could have learned from Mr. Jones had I been on time or even awake enough to listen. Time management and personal discipline are a constant uphill climb for me. How much better would life be now, had I started these kinds of disciplines earlier in life.

On the other hand there are some great things I learned too. For instance, at some point in my adult life I started studying people. Where they were, how they got there. I asked a lot of questions. I listened as much to how they lived, as I did to what they said. When Matt and I were getting to know each other, we looked around at marriages we thought seemed healthy and happy. We went to those people and we asked them what they did to get where they were. We listened and we applied what they suggested. We understood if we wanted what they had, we had to follow a similar path to get there. We did the same thing with parenting. We didn't just listen to philosophies, we looked at results. We watched families that seemed to have children who really loved God, had good relationships with their siblings and with their parents and were pleasant and thoughtful of others. We talked with these parents, asked their advice. As we have parented, we have tried to apply what we learned from these godly examples. We know that if we want the effect that we've seen in their families we have to cause it to happen by following their examples. It goes without saying that their examples pointed us to Jesus and a strong dependence on Him.

And so I am reminded again today of my new list of desires. If I want to know the heart of God , I have to study His word and seek His mind. If I want strong relationships, I have to trust and be vulnerable. If I want well educated kiddos, I have to do the hard work to educate myself.
If I want my boys to become godly men, I have to be a godly woman. If I want to be/stay debt free, I have to sacrifice temporary pleasures. If I want to fit in that new dress, I have to set the cookie down. :) The list can go on and on from my deeper more serious desires to the lighter more shallow ones. The bottom line is, there is a cause and effect relationship to where we are in life. It's up to me to seek out what it is I believe would please God and then follow hard after that, no matter how difficult that path may be. If not, I'll end up somewhere very far from where it is I say I want to be.

I hope this encourages you today. It sure has helped me to see it written here. I am determined to press hard toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Disclaimer: I know in life there are times when things are thrown at us that are not the direct effect of choices we have made (ie the death of a child etc...). However, at this point in my understanding, I believe that how we respond and react to the unexpected things life throws at us is a result of our perspective. And therefore, is the effect of the choices we have made in the past to trust God etc...