Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Taking control of your future.

Will and Abby playing by Lake Winona
Anne's Petunias

Today started out sunny and cool when getting up early this morning.  We have had fall like weather for most of the spring and the month of June.  Now that summer is officially here, we are enjoying the normal heat ranges again, that of being in the 80s.  My garden though this spring had a rather hard start with the weather being so cold.  In our neighborhood, we are limited on where we can plant a garden, and so in the area in which we have it located, is unfortunately shaded on three sides, so sunlight is held at a premium even during normal warm weather.  With this year being colder than the average, the corn seed has struggled to germinate.  I have seeded the garden twice with corn and we have about 50% of the crop come up.  It has been discouraging to work so hard and see such results, but that is what life is at times, we need to learn to adjust.

We as God’s people have periods of our lives that are like my garden, we work hard at developing certain areas in our life and sometimes they do not bear fruit as we had hoped for.  Savings are lost, sickness befalls a member of the family, or perhaps a relationship that we have invested in does not turn out.  What do we do in such circumstances?  That, I believe is determined by the individual and in one's relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Blue morning mist over Winona today.
There are those that seem to rise above these hardships and become stronger and wiser from the experience, while some seem to fall into depression and seclude themselves from being hurt again.  We are each different in how we were raised and how we tackle adversity in life.   Sometimes we can look at our parents and see ourselves in their actions, while at other times, we wonder whether we were somehow secretly adopted because we are so different from them.   Living in a small community, it is tied to the family and so at times it is difficult to see oneself from that of the rest of your clan.  There were sides of me that I realized I did not like and needed to be changed.  While yet there were other aspects of my personality I admired and wanted to cultivate.  Whether these were developed from my family or not, they were the traits that I possessed.   For myself, I hadn’t really got a chance to see the person I had become, until I moved away from my hometown and commited myself to follow Jesus in his way first.

Unusual guest (moth) to Anne's flowers.
Having worked with troubled youth for many years, I saw myself in these children that I taught.  Good and not so good aspects of me were revealed.  All in all, it helped me to be a better teacher and person as a whole.  It also helped me to get a realistic view of who I was and what I had become.  I remember one day talking to a rather rebellious student who was telling me advantages others had that he did not.  He was informing me that circumstances made him the way he was today.  I could see that he was making excuses for his behavior and attitude.  I searched in my mind what to tell him.  We sat down, alone for a moment together away from the other students and I spoke to him in a soft none judgemental voice.  I said to him, “Jake, (fictitious name) you cannot change the way your past has treated you and you cannot compensate for yourself in that others have had more advantages than you have had.  Life is not always fair in the circumstances you find yourself in.  If one blames their past for their present, they are choosing to allow others to control their destiny.  You have the power to change the life you have.  You can use your past, (good and bad) as a stepping stone to become more than what you now are, or you can use this same past as an excuse to remain the same and never become a better person.  You have the power to change your future only when you see that the ability lies in your hands and not in that of others.”  After that day he chose to take his destiny in his own hands and he graduated very proudly.  I have often wondered what happened to some of these students who like Jake made the purposeful decision to make their lives better. 

Anne noticed this on our family walk near Lake Winona.
We too can make a better future for ourselves if we so choose.  I encourage you if you are one of those who find that they are faced with few options in their life and who want to be happier, to sit down and write a plan out how you want to make a better life for yourself, then follow that plan.  It is scary at first, but it will give you so much freedom that you might wonder, “Why didn’t I do this sooner.”

Consider this though, God needs to be in your plans that you make, or they might lead to dead ends.  As in all things, we need to commit all our plans to the Lord and he will guide our steps.  In Psalms 127:1 Solomon says,  “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”  Have a wonderful day in making your new plans! 
Lake Winona on a lazy summer day.