Published 8:28 pm Friday, July 30, 2010
Life is …?
How do you complete that sentence?
It’s been described in different ways by different people: Life is a highway—I want to ride it all night long; life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get; life is good (or so the hats and tee shirts say), life is all about choices, life is short, life is not fair, life is a journey, life is beautiful, life is precious.
Sometimes, life is hard.
For some, life can be unpredictable and scary. We don’t know what will happen next. Some of us are good at planning ahead but even when we plan ahead, we cannot always guarantee the end results. There are those times when we feel like we have life figured out and then we get thrown a curve ball knocking us off of our feet.
Life is. We may not be able to always predict or guarantee the end results, but we will do better by being prepared and thinking ahead. Making right, good, healthy choices does not assure success, but it does make it more likely. I do know that if I don’t make good, healthy choices I will not end up with right, good, healthy results.
Life can lead to a lot of questions: why do bad things happen to good people?
Will this ever stop?
When will this end?
These are heart-felt questions that people ask in difficult or desperate times. There are other questions that I call “movement” questions because they create movement: What is my next step?
How can I help?
What can I change?
What am I responsible for?
These types of questions create movement because they are questions where I take responsibility for me and what I can do. It’s easy to look at the boss and ask “why did he do that?” or “what was she thinking?” but these questions create no movement and lead to no responsibility in me. Those types of questions are usually more about blame and negativity than responsibility and action. These questions are not usually questions, they are statements expressed in question form. These questions are really just expressing disapproval or discontent.
If I come home and my kitchen sink is leaking water, I can ask all day “why is this happening to me?”, “who’s fault is this?”, “why doesn’t somebody fix this?” But these questions won’t get the sink fixed. Or, I can take action—“what do I do to fix this?”
I really appreciate people who ask movement questions: “What can I do to help?”
These are usually the people who will also skip the questions and get right to work. They jump in and do. I know a guy who when asked how he’s doing his usual reply is “S.S.D.D.”—same stuff different day. And that’s basically the way he sees life. He’s not really unhappy but he’s also not really happy. He just is.
We can’t control everything and everybody but we can take responsibility for what we do, how we react and what we are responsible for.
If you or someone you know is struggling with everyday life, questions about the future, and the same old problems that seem to keep reoccurring, there are practical steps you can take to improve that.
If you feel that the problems are too big, contact a pastor or a trained mental health professional who can help you look at how you relate to others, your behavioral patterns, and how you view life.