Monday, July 28, 2008

chaos was once my frenemy

Years ago my life was much like the scene at this bumper car track - spasmodic, intense, and disordered. Looking back, I can easily see how almost every problem I faced was due to a foolish choice I'd made. God has worked me over in this area and has thankfully given me a supersensitivity to this former frenemy. Chaos no longer has a place in my life.

At the time, many of the foolish decisions I made even appeared sound. But I was swimming in consequences - bill collectors and bankers were hot on my tail, relationships around me were crumbling, and I was restless and discontent. Deep, deep down I knew something was amiss.

Over the years, the Lord has given me several decision-making "guidelines" that have dramatically changed my life. Most of them center around this verse:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, waivering, and insincerity). James 3:17
The Bible tells us that true wisdom comes from God - it carries with it certain characteristics and produces fruit. When making a decision (whether it be how I'm spending money, committing time, childrearing, or anything else), I do the following:
  1. Pray and ask God for His wisdom and guidance.
  2. Use common sense; it must yield to reason! God will not tell me to do anything that causes me to accumulate debt nor will He put anything before my husband or family.
  3. God will never contradict what He has said in His Word. (He will not direct me to lie, cheat, steal, or have an affair; He will not tell me to carry a grudge or seek revenge.)
  4. Is it simple or complicated? The verse above tells me that His way is pure (which according to my thesaurus also means modest, plain, simple, sheer, undiluted, true, straight, perfect). His way is straightforward.
  5. His way is peace-loving, which also means: tranquil, peaceable, and quiet. God is not the author of confusion in my life.
  6. His way is courteous. It takes others into account; it is respectful, attentive and full of police concern for the well-being of others (my thesaurus also describes it as being sympathetic, careful, kind and generous).
As I mentioned above, using these guidelines has dramatically changed my life and given me a great deal of peace regarding some of the more difficult decisions we've faced. I can promise you this my friends - His way works!

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