I Don’t Insist on Much

I don’t insist on much. I don’t insist on being right. People have a right to disagree with me. Even if I’m absolutely certain the other person is wrong, I’m not interested in engaging in a battle of wills. I don’t insist on having my way because it is not all about me. I’m easy to please and open to compromise. I am willing to give up some of what I want for the good of others. But I absolutely insist on certain things.

I insist on honesty and integrity. Most of us are guilty of telling little white lies. I can forgive people for the occasional lie. But truth matters. And when a person lies continually, it proves that they can’t be trusted. Integrity is an essential part of good character and it is the foundation for good relationships.

I insist on respectfulness. Respect is a two-way street; if you treat people with respect, they are more likely to respond in kind. Respect is treating people the way you want to be treated. I admit that I lose respect for people who behave badly and when a person loses my respect, they have to earn it back. But even if I don’t respect a person, I still believe in treating them with kindness and consideration.

I insist on genuineness. I have always been turned off by people who seem fake, who pretend to be something they are not. A genuine person is real and authentic. A genuine person doesn’t feel the need to impress people with what they have or who they are. You can trust that a genuine person speaks from the heart. Genuine people possess the humility that makes them more relatable and human.

I don’t insist on being first. I don’t insist on sitting at the best table or having my food prepared to order. I don’t insist on having the best things or having everything in perfect order. I do insist on preserving and upholding the values that really matter.

via Daily Prompt: Insist

Simple Ways to Simplify Life

Many of us would love to simplify our lives. There are too many demands on our time – work, family, pets, hobbies, taking care of the home, etc. Even the technology that should make life easier adds to the stress because we receive too much information to easily digest and manage it. We have too much stuff which leads to too much clutter.

When I Googled “simply your life,” there were over 15.7 million hits: 16 ways or 25 easy ways or 21 quick actions and even the 10 most important things to simplify in your life. Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all way to simplify life. If anyone had the perfect solution, there wouldn’t be so many books and articles about simplifying life.

But I think any plan to simplify life involves three key decisions: what you do with things, how you use your time, and how you interact with people.

So to keep it simple:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Reduce the amount of stuff you have
  • Organize your space and put stuff away
  • Stick to a routine, e.g. get up and go to bed at the same time everyday
  • If you don’t have time, tell people no
  • Remove distractions
  • Disconnect and schedule some quiet time everyday
  • Spend time with the people who really matter

C’est la vie!



via Daily Prompt: Simplify

Letting the Weeds Grow

I have been listening to a sermon series at my church about parables. Jesus taught with parables, simple stories that illustrated a spiritual lesson. When the disciples asked why he used parables, Jesus said it was because “the knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you but not to them.” Many people hear the message but do not understand it. Even the disciples were bewildered at the meaning of his parables.

This week’s sermon was about the parable of the weeds.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who sowed wheat seed in a field. While everyone was sleeping, his enemy sowed weeds in the field. When the wheat sprouted, the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants asked him if they should pull up the weeds. The owner said “no, because when you pull the weeds, you will also uproot the wheat. Let them grow together until the harvest.”

Jesus explained that the field is the world and he is the sower of the good seed. The good seed is believers, or the “sons of the kingdom.” The enemy who sows the weeds is the devil; the weeds are non believers. At the end of the world, Jesus will send angels to weed out of his kingdom all who do evil and everything that causes sin.

The preacher made several points about this parable.

  • Believers may identify with the servant who wanted to destroy the weeds. We want to root out the evil and make things right in the world. But the servant is not even a key character in this parable.
  • The weeds look remarkably like wheat. A false believer may resemble a true believer.  Many people profess faith in Christ but do not know him.
  • We often take it upon ourselves to judge who is a true believer and who isn’t but we also often misjudge people.
  • We don’t see the big picture as God does. We only see a tiny piece of it. God’s plans are unknowable to us.

There are a few lessons for me in this bewildering parable. One, I should refrain from judging whether a person is a true believer or not even when it seems clear to me that a person does not know Jesus.

Two, I need to be patient and let God work his field. He is the landowner. I am not. God is working in the lives of people in ways that I cannot perceive.

Three, in his infinite wisdom, God knew it would be beneficial to both the weeds and the wheat to let them grow together. The field is the great testing ground. It is here in the weeds that we learn how to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And when believers “let our lights shine” among the weeds, we bring glory to God.

via Daily Prompt: Bewildered

A Community of Feeling

I sympathize with anyone who experiences the loss of a loved one because I have experienced grief myself. To sympathize with the pain of another is to join a community of feeling. When I offer condolences, I hope that the person is  comforted in knowing that they are not alone. I know that when my mother passed away a couple of year ago, I was comforted by the many expressions of sympathy I received from friends.

The emotions of sympathy and empathy are often confused. When we sympathize, we share the feelings of another person. We feel what they are feeling, whether it is grief or disappointment or frustration because we have had similar emotional experiences. When we empathize with another person, we understand or relate to their feelings because we can imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes.

There is a fine line between sympathy and empathy. For example, I will never know what it is like to lose a child because I don’t have children. I can only imagine how painful and heart-wrenching it is. Having experienced grief myself, I can imagine the feeling of loss, but I can’t fully feel what a mother feels in losing her child.

Even though empathy is not based on shared experience, I treasure the ability to consider things from another person’s point of view. You never really understand a person unless you can empathize with them. Empathy makes us more compassionate, more humble, more helpful. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

via Daily Prompt: Sympathize

Thank you, problem solver

Last year, I read a book by John Bargh. It was called Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do. I was especially interested in what Bargh wrote about the problem solving abilities of the subconscious mind. When you step away from a problem you are working on and think about something else, the subconscious mind continues to work on a solution.

This week my conscious mind worked really hard trying to solve a problem at work. I had found an error in the income tax accrual related to an item in prior year financial statements. The tax accountant said that tax returns would have to be amended and perhaps financial statements would have to be restated. There would be penalties and interest. I had been proud of myself for finding and correcting an error, but by doing so, I had opened a can of worms.

I was puzzled about what to do. How would we explain this mistake to the client? I spoke to the woman who prepared the prior year reports and I dug around to find documentation supporting the prior year numbers, then I went home for the night.

Thanks to my subconscious mind, I realized I needed to check the work of the CPA firm. They make mistakes too. What I found was good news. The tax return was accurate and doesn’t have to be amended. There won’t be penalties and interest.

A new day brings a rested conscious mind and a fresh problem-solving perspective. Thank you subconscious for working while I sleep.

via Daily Prompt: Puzzled