Archive | January 2014

THE MOST POWERFUL HUMAN QUALITY

choiceThe most powerful human quality is “CHOICE”! I believe that “choice” is actually more powerful than Love because we get to CHOOSE to BE LOVE and GIVE LOVE. Love is not a state of happiness all the time.

As we’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love is a verb and we get to choose TO Love. The word “love” is thrown around a lot as a term of affection for everything from shoes to music, but real love demands action and commitment. Love is dedication . . . not just a chemical high in the early stages of a romance.

This brings me to the most powerful human quality we have, which is choice. Many teachings will tell you that you are 100% responsible for your circumstances. Now – I’m not totally on board with that assessment because it’s hard to think about starving children and believe that they chose that, or that someone would “choose” to be violated or taken advantage of or worse. I think life is a combination of events, outside of our control, happening, plus our taking independent action to change the events, or the meaning of the events, to empower us.

I’m not going to say that we are 100% responsible for the events of our lives, but I will say that we are at least 80% responsible for the circumstances of our lives, and that boils down to choice. Sure, crazy things happen, sometimes even “evil” things happen; but once they happen, how WE deal with them will determine the outcome. And every moment we are choosing our way into the next moment, and in every moment, as things happen we are giving those events a meaning. And when we become aware of the fact that we are choosing ourselves into every moment and that our minds are the meaning makers of our lives, we get to see the MAJOR role we play in how our lives turn out.

Sure, tragedies happen. But some people thrive afterwards and some don’t. Why? It’s because each person gave the event a different meaning. Some people have abusive parents and then become abusive parents. Some people have abusive parents and then never abuse their children because they don’t want them to go through the same torment.

Throughout our lives, many of us will face circumstances that are unfair, painful and traumatic. And, in the moment, that is true. But as we grow, we get to see that once we accept what happened, we now have the power of choice to be able to redefine the meaning of the event. Was it GRACE, or was it a disaster? Was it the worst thing that happened to you or was it an amazing lesson? Was it a tragedy or an opportunity for you to be able to see how loving you can be? Was it a dark chapter in your life or was it that the events had to happen in order for you to discover your light?

When we realize we are the meaning makers of our lives, it doesn’t mean that everything was/is or will be hunky dory. But it does mean that we can accept and eventually rise above our circumstances because we realize at our essence we are a child of God and that we have the power to CHOOSE how we are going to respond, interpret and live our lives.

I’m reminded of the story of Ruth. When I re-read the first chapter of Ruth, I see that Ruth CHOSE to love Naomi, even when the consequences looked bleak and hopeless. If Ruth turned back and left Naomi, she would have had an easier time remarrying, which was crucial to a woman’s worth in those times. She was still young. She could have really done something with her life if she had just stayed with her own people … and that is what Naomi urged her to do. But Ruth responded:

Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. Ruth 1:16-17

In verse 18, I read that Naomi finally realized that Ruth was “determined”. Any lesser love would not have been enough. It took a deliberate, almost stubborn love to prove to Naomi that Ruth was serious about her commitment. Naomi was almost all the family that Ruth had left. Maybe she was not the family member that Ruth would have chosen to love, but Ruth chose to love her anyway.

We have all been put on earth together for a reason, and the difficulty of love is exactly what enables it to be so powerful. When we have no choice about who to love, love becomes harder. Perhaps we need to stop waiting for a feeling of love. The fact is, when we can’t choose the people we love, we choose to love the people we have, and that is a far richer experience. And in doing so, we reflect the love of God, who chose to love us before any of us loved Him.

1 Peter 1:22 says, “. . . love one another deeply.” This kind of love is not a noun, not an adjective, it’s a verb. It’s a very deliberate action.

The truth is, we live in a broken world full of broken people and we get to CHOOSE how we respond to every person and every event in our lives. So, if you are the meaning maker of your life, and if choice is the most important quality of human behavior, what meanings are you giving the events of your life and what are you choosing to create? If it’s not what you want, ask yourself if you would you like to change that?

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