Do It Yourself

Are you a do it yourself person? Are you one of those people who can build a barn, repair a fence, install a hot water heater and never get upset or stumped? Well, I am not.

I hate working with wood and have a wife who is better with power tools than I am. I am not a DIY person.

My limitations force me to ask for help. I hate asking for help.

But the truth is that we all need help from time to time.

Having to ask for help keeps us humble.

It allows us to develop relationships with people who are different from us.

Asking others for help allows them to develop their gifts and affirm their worth.

If you are beyond needing help then you are setting yourself up for a fall. Everybody needs help.

By the way, please return your neighbors tools you borrowed last summer. You know who you are.

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15 Signs That We Might Be Related

We might be related if:

1. You can laugh at your own mistakes. And you laugh often.

2. You and an orthopedic doctor are on a first name basis and an installment payment plan.

3. You can think of at least 5 reasons why you should shut up but you keep talking anyway.

4. Your family bible is large print, black in color, the King James Version, and used as a doorstop in the bathroom.

5. You’ve been banned from the local zoo.

6. You’ve kept every necktie you’ve ever bought cause someday they will be back in style.

7. You secretly did something incredibly stupid. But it was so funny that you couldn’t wait to share it.

8. Simple Yes and No questions elicit a two minute story about someone’s childhood.

9. You check out movies and comic books from the local library.

10. You have to refer to Snopes.com at least once a week to settle a family argument.

11. You own at least 3 board games that you don’t understand how to play.

12. Your family considers a blow up mattress a necessity.

13. Your family claims they are laughing with you – not at you- with a straight face.

14. You’ve ever been left somewhere and someone had to come get you. And they weren’t in a rush to get you.

15. You, or a family member, have ever been put on joke probation at work.

It’s Hard To Stay Well When Caring For Others.

The flu season is upon us. Millions of people have received their flu shots. Sales of vitamin C and chicken noodle soups have skyrocketed.

And when our spouse or children picks up the flu, or a virus, we take extra precautions to try and keep from getting sick ourselves.

We wash our hands. We sleep in a separate bedroom. We try and eat well and get enough sleep. But often we fail and still get sick.

There are two primary reasons this happens. Our concern for those under or care outweighs the risks. Or we become physically exhausted and our immunities are compromised.

Once we are sick, we are unable to care for them. Now, we have to take time to recover also.

I have experienced this exact scenario recently. My wife was ill. I got sick. I was in bed for several days.

No one was surprised by this. It was almost predictable.

But the same situation and principles described above also apply to emotional illnesses.

When those in our care suffer from depression, or some other form of mental illness, we rarely take precautions to guard our own health.

And we are surprised when we become depressed and fatigued.

Our concern for those under or care blinds us to the risks to our own emotional wellbeing. We can become emotionally exhausted and get the blues.

Now, not only are we emotionally down, but we are unable to care for those in our charge.

Some of this could be avoided by placing some emotional distance between us and our care receivers. Or by allowing others to carry some of the emotional and physical burden we feel.

It would be great if we could avoid these blind spots completely. But the reality is that we care for others and we will be affected.

When we are affected we need to concentrate on our own recovery.

I have found that a good night’s sleep, some physical exercise, uplifting music, reading the Bible, some inspirational reading, and prayer will gradually restore my soul. I believe they will work for you too.

The Principle of the Thing

A few months back, I purchased a treadmill. I decided that I would bring it home on my own and save the  seventy-five dollar fee. I justified my behavior by claiming that  ‘it was the principle of the thing’.

But the truth is that I made a bad decision. My doctor visit for the resulting pulled muscle was more than seventy-five dollars.

You can laugh at me, but you may have done something similar.

When I  say that ‘it’s the principle of the thing’, it often means I’m going to do something irrational.

Pursuing the ‘the principle of the thing’ has cost me time and money.

Have you ever stood in line an additional ten minutes to recieve credit for a thirty cent grocery coupon that the cashier missed?

Pursuing the ‘the principle of the thing’ has damaged important relationships.

Have you tried to prove how foolish someone else is, and looked foolish in the process?

I have discovered that for me, getting the last word in an argument with my spouse or friend is never really about ‘the principle of the thing’. 

Have you ever tried to reason with a government official, like the IRS? We know that’s a lost cause. But I’ve done it anyway. How about you?

I have discovered that making a kid recite an apology he doesn’t mean is not about a principle. It is about exercising our will over a child. Maybe you’ve experienced this.

I know that there are times when ‘the principle of the thing’ should matter.

When we work for a company, we need to uphold their principles. If we can’t do that in good faith, then it is time to move on.

We alI hold principles that should never be compromised. Integrity. Honesty. Fairness.

But sometimes what we call principle is really something else.

Sometimes we’re angry and just need to justify ourselves and our behavior.

Maybe the true ‘principle of the thing’ would be for us to be honest with ourselves and admit this.

Routines

Most of us have a routine we follow on a weekly basis. Here is how most of our Mondays begin:

1. We get out of bed.
2. We get dressed.
3. We eat breakfast.
4. We read the headlines.
5. We drive to work.
6. We park our car.
7. We walk into our office.
8. We login to our computer / phone.
9. We check our work mail / work email.
10. We say hello to our coworkers.

Is it any wonder that most people are ready for a break 30 minutes into their day?

Several hours later we prepare to leave work.

1. We log off our work phone / computer.
2. We say goodbye to our coworkers.
3. We drive home.
4. We eat.
5. We decompress.
6. We get ready for bed.

Is it any wonder that it takes us the weekend to recover from the mind numbing routine of our daily life?

But routines are necessary. Business hours exist for a reason.

We may not be able to change our routine but we can change our attitude.

We can be grateful that we are alive, that we have a way to get to work, and that we have a job that meets our needs.

I have never heard a dead person complain about having to go work on Monday morning.

The Best Me

Think about a period in your life that you were at your best. For some of you that is right now. If it is savor it. But someday that may change. So I invite you to think about why this is, or was, your best time.

Why did you pick that particular period of time? Write down the reasons why  you chose that time period. 

Think about the strengths / attitudes that were present at that time.
Take time to list them. My list goes like this:
I had hope.
I saw possibilities.
I was joyful.
I laughed often.
I sang often and loud.
I believed that what I did mattered.
I believed the best about others and myself.
I responded to deadlines.
I focused on productivity.
I worked in a team that I was accountable to, and that was accountable to me.

What would happen if you decided to emphasize those strengths and attitudes again in your current situation?  They are still your strengths. Like any muscle they may have weakened from inactivity, but the core skill set is still there. It will awkward flexing those muscles at the beginning. But it will be worth the effort.

What would that look like for you at your current job? Your relationships?

Drift

Drift can be dangerous. It can happen with no effort on our part.

We can let the winds and currents carry us far from the safety of shore or our  intended destination.

Drift can affect us in many areas.

We can drift away from the relationships that sustain us.

We can drift morally and ethically from truths that have provided a firm foundation and anchor for our souls.

We can drift away from our God-given gifting, callings and strengths and squander our opportunities.

Then we wake up and suddenly realize just how far off course we are.

It can take great effort and time to get ourselves back on course.

But the longer we take to correct the course the harder it will be to do it.