"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Difficult Decisions

Sometimes you just have to say "no". ...not because you want to. ...not because it feels right, but because you know it IS right.

And, sometimes that "no" will be misunderstood, judged, or cause pain and offense. Those are the hardest "nos" (and yeses, for that matter!) for me. The misunderstood ones... The judged ones... and the offensive ones. I like to please people and I love being pleasing to people.

C.S. Lewis writes, "The natural life in each of us is something self-centred, something that wants to be petted and admired..." I like to be admired and petted. And, often times, my world is all-about-me. When I am worrying about offending, rather than doing what is right... that is when I am being self-centered. I can call my "yeses" spiritual... and give them nice spiritual names like "service" and "sacrifice" and "sensitivity". But... if I am honest, my worry about offense or pain is not entirely (and not even a lot) about the other person... it is about me. I worry what they will think of me when I say no. And, if I say "no" I am pretty certain the thoughts won't be grand, or pleasing. Interestingly enough, many of my yeses that are motivated by this self-focused attitude often go undetected ... until I am exhausted, annoyed and spent (beyond God-given capacity) and then I wonder, "Why am I so tired?!"

Jesus said "no" a lot. He said "yes" often, too, of course. Good boundaries are not about saying "no" or about being un-busy. People who call selfishness "boundaries" are just selfish. That isn't it either. It isn't about a name-game... to convince ourselves or others. It isn't about calling our decisions by names other than they are... "service, sacrifices" or "boundaries and balance".

Good boundaries are about doing what God would have me do-- nothing more and nothing less. There is something in this idea that I need to learn, that I am desperate to learn...
Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son alsodoes." (John 5:17)
So, I have to see and hear My Father at work. May He train my eyes to see this!
I must listen and watch my Savior as He works. May He train my ears to hear!
I must know His voice and discern the movements of His Spirit. May He train my mind, my heart, my soul to interpret this movement!

Difficult decisions are made well after difficult lessons and training. I have so much to learn. What is the Father doing... what would He have me do to join Him?

Because... I know that sometimes you just have to say "no". It doesn't feel right. You don't want to, ...but you know it just IS right.
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