August is ending, which means for many of us, that school, work, and family obligations are starting up again. Summer is usually a lax season, when we have the ability to be more spontaneous, and focus on the relationships we have with those around us. It is no coincidence that most people go on vacations, see nature, and have camps, retreats, etc. during these few months. For me, it is an awesome time to have excuses for eating lots of barbecue and enjoying the company of my friends and family.
But moving forward can be challenging. Especially with the world changing around us, here are a few things we have been talking about within our youth group about going back to school. I think they apply to many people’s life situations as well.
Mindset. When life moves quickly, the easiest thing to do is nothing. Here we have a choice. We can decide between being assertive or being passive. When we think of decision-making, we usually think of the big stuff. Getting a new house, marriage, having children, etc. And for us younger people: who to take to the dance, which college to go to, who to befriend, etc. But these conscious decisions are a small percentage of everything we do. All our other decisions are autopilot: going to the bathroom, getting food, and taking a nap are all usually done without much thought.
With so many decisions before us, it is easiest to just go with the flow. Become one with the river of life. I don’t think this is always a bad thing, but if we take a look at God’s Word, sometimes it can be dangerous. 1 Samuel 1-3 shares the story of Eli, a man who was faithfully fulfilling his duties as the head priest of Israel. But just as many of us do, his priorities became skewed as he raised his sons with little guidance. As his sons developed, he played a passive role, letting his life go with the flow.
I think a more fruitful life happens when we take ownership of our circumstances and begin to grow awareness for each of those decisions. Even if our choice is ultimately the wrong one, it is better for us to choose something than do nothing at all.
Ultimately, if a decision is truly against God’s will, doors are closed. I’ve had many opportunities that I have actively pursued get shut down. Sometimes the immediate moments of change are harsh and difficult to understand. But at the end of the day, God is in control and guiding us through it all. His priority is more focused on our hearts and minds than the work that we do.
A practical introspection: Amidst this period of decision-making and transition, a helpful exercise to consider is to look back at our last week. What decisions did we make? What have we decided to spend our time on? Cutting right through our lip service, these questions often reveal what we truly love and desire. A good idea is to identify our past motivations. Then we can perhaps look forward and decide whether we want to choose a new path moving forward. Or, maybe we like our decisions and want to stick with them. Either way, moving forward with an intentional mindset reveals an assertive life.
Hope to see you all soon!