Monday, September 13, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
I want to add two words to my vocabulary. I don‘t need to check a thesaurus to ascertain their meaning nor do I need to check a dictionary for spelling.
They are not new words to me. I suspect I have used them thousands of times. I am committed, however, to no longer let their impact slide off my tongue. I will intentionally keep their significance on the front burner of my thinking, because they are two of the most powerful words in the English language.
The words to which I‘m referring: “I choose!”
Most often they are replaced by the words, “I can‘t.” Frequently, I dodge the responsibility they imply by placing the blame for my choices on circumstances, bad luck or others. Phrases like, “I don‘t have time,” or, “I can‘t afford it,” or “my spouse won‘t let me,” are all thinly veiled attempts to place responsibility for my own decisions on someone or something else. So, I want to learn to say, “I choose,” far more frequently.
Here are examples of instances where it is highly appropriate for these powerful words to exit our mouths.
• I choose to take a positive attitude through the next door I enter. Too often I fail to recognize that I am a primary contributor to the climate around me. Too often I complain about how things are, but do nothing to change them. So, I choose to raise the atmosphere in the next room I enter.
• I choose not to be offended or to sulk the next time I‘m criticized. Criticism is a fact of life. How I respond is my choice.
• I choose to withhold judgment. I often engage in debates, form opinions and experience stress about issues that have nothing to do with me. This year, I want to choose to withhold judgment more often.
• I choose to make the appointment. Often we avoid taking action on items we suspect may have negative or problematic outcomes. Unfortunately, putting off dealing with the situation usually worsens it. I am choosing to act. I would be ecstatic if this column was to result in necessary appointments being made with doctors, dentists, accountants, addiction or marriage counsellors all around town. You can choose to do it.
• I choose to stop destructive behaviour. Like someone who continues to pay hefty monthly fees for cable tv channels they don‘t watch, many of us accumulate all kinds of damaging emotional or physical bills. We let the damage go on and on, simply because we don‘t choose to stop. With regularity we ask ourselves the question, “What should I do?” I‘m suggesting we ask, “What should I stop?”
The most important part of my list (I know you expect this from me because I‘m a pastor) concerns my spiritual well-being. I choose to discover more about God. Often I hear people who are 50 or 60 years old blame religion they experienced 40 years ago for their view of God today. Really? In what other area of life do we allow that kind of thinking to continue? How about accepting responsibility to discover the truth about God for yourself.
I choose. Say it slowly and carefully. It‘s not that difficult a phrase, but it is life changing.
- Tim Schroeder is a pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna and chaplain to the Kelowna Rockets and Kelowna fire department. His column appears each Sunday in eVent.
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