Our Lives…their lives OR their lives…our lives???

“Learning how to live from experience is part of the human condition” says Suzy Welch. From her statement one can read it as it is not so much that we have to experience things to be able to relate to living but learning to live from those experiences. How many bad life experiences have totally derailed people completely from life’s journey? I sometimes wonder if it is entirely necessary to experience things in life to say that “I have lived”? I think that there is a bit of narcissism in that even a bit of judgement, “you haven’t experienced that, so you have no authority or right to speak to me about it”. I wonder how that type of mentality impacts on our next generation of we are so quick to impart such judgements or opinions? How many of us has even been ruled out of parenting due to these statements? Or even ministry? I definitely have not and will not experience everything that my kids will experience. But then again, does experience qualify us for life?

 

I am also of the opinion that we do not have to experience everything in this life to know right or wrong, good or bad. Just take a look around you and that should also be our learning curvature in life. I have seen this and that with my parents, therefore I do not have to experience it in my personal capacity, I have learnt the lesson. What about learning from history, famous people, politicians, the homeless, the addicts, children, teenagers? We have so many people experiencing things that I wonder why we have to be so arrogant as to say “I want to learn through my own mistakes”. I am not advocating that we do not live our lives, or that we live such cautionary lives that we become hermits and become secluded in our thinking and lifestyles. What I am saying is take heed when someone who genuinely cares about you gives caution.

 

This past week I had experienced something that so many people have warned me about and from, and if only I had heeded to their advice I would have been spared much grief and disappointment. This was a typical example of where I did not have to experience something myself to experience it (Yet in my heart I knew what the outcome would have been). How can I safeguard my heart from such future experiences? How can I protect myself from myself? How can I live a full life without potentially risking a complete derailing? Life is tough as it is, why still stack the odds against yourself?

 

My question thus:

  • Is it really that important to experience things personally to know the outcome?
  • Can we not learn from the many stories and people around us and save us from much grief and struggles?
  • How can we advise and encourage the next generation if we are so arrogant and judgemental in our opinions of experience?

 

I wonder… Well that was just my experience on this take in any case!

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A Day at the Day Hospital

If any is familiar with day hospitals in Cape Town, then you will be familiar with waiting and waiting and waiting. It was literally a full days work. We arrived at 7am and left just before 3pm. It was a long and torturous day, but a day with many many lessons learnt. Allow me to just share three of them.

 

I have learnt that God doesn’t always heal and because he doesn’t come through for you in the way that you would like doesn’t mean he does not care or love you. I have learnt again that sickness is not necessarily a lack of faith or sinning against God. Sickness is a part of life. We get sick, we age, we die. It might be sombre and depressing but it is a reality. We cannot escape the inevitable. A day will come when we will be called home, where will your home be?

 

Being wise and responsible also means that we need to see medical practitioners (hopefully you will have medical aid for that, poverty can be dehumanizing especially when help is needed) on a regular basis and not just wait for God to heal miraculously. We cannot say if we have not experienced healing was because we lacked faith. I do not always know why God allows us to go through moments of difficulty, pain and trials, but I have always experienced his grace and peace in the midst of it all. God offers us his peace even when it seems foreign and impossible in moments of great trial and loss.

 

But what I learnt most of all today, is that God affords us only one life. One life to live. One life to love those whom God has given to us. One life to live out the purpose that God has given and not squander it for reasons of fear or indecision or any other reason.

 

Listen what God says in Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

You only live once, live it purposefully, live it intentionally.

 

 

Urgently Important

So, here is some mindless ramble. There really isn’t enough hours in a day to do all that I would like to do. Or is it that I need to do? Or have to do? I guess that boils down to the question of priority doesn’t it? It’s just that my mind is playing tricks on me – You have to do this and that and that and this and on and on and on it goes.

What is my priority? Priority? Priority? Whatever does that word mean? Priority to me or to another? If I was at work then priority leans in the direction of my boss, doesn’t it? At church would be the pastor or whichever ministry I would be involved in, at home my spouse or kids (if you have any). Priority usually signifies that there is something that must be done, something that out ranks another, whether it is important or not or urgent or not. It’s just a matter of fact. But who decides on what is priority and when is it okay to choose the one over the other?

Definition of priority could be summarised as:

  • A thing that is regarded as more important than another
  • The fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important
  • The right to take precedence or to proceed before others
Definition of Urgent:
  • (of a state or situation) Requiring immediate action or attention
  • (of action or an event) Done or arranged in response to such a situation
  • (of a person or their manner) Earnest and persistent in response to such a situation
Definition of Important:
  • Of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being
  • (of a person) Having high rank or status
  • (of an artist or artistic work) Significantly original and influential
I think that priority and urgent are cousins?  (Hmmm! All I know is that my grade for English in matric wasn’t anything to smile at, so that is a bit of a stretch). Urgent always has this concept of a deadline attached to it, as if it is saying “if you don’t do it now, then boy o boy, will you be in for some nasty surprise”. Like we already don’t have enough pressure on us and full plates.
I like the way Stephen Covey says we have to make the call on a daily basis between what is Important and what is Urgent. Many times what is urgent just seems like the right thing to do, like making the meeting on time vs watching a perfect sunset. Or making sure I get to see that particular episode of Game of Thrones as opposed to spending time in conversation with that significant other. I mean they both just seem so right at the time. So what would the litmus test be as to what the best decision to make will be?
I think quite simply put: if this opportunity passes by, would I ever get to experience it again?  The important decisions in life are very seldom or almost never the urgent ones. So while I understand the concept of priority, shouldn’t we rather just focus on what is important at any given time? I know life isn’t lived in isolation of the rest of the world and we have responsibilities, but when we have so little time to focus on the important, why put it off for much longer?
So here I am at home just thinking, I should just do what is important to me and to those that matter, those who are a priority 🙂

Tom, Dick and Harry

Trained or untrained? Who will answer the question?

 

There are too many ministering to young people who are untrained, unskilled and not even called!

 

Yes, I know that there are many who have just been ticked off. I’m sure many of you are saying things like:

“God called me, I don’t need to study!”

“God looks for my availability not for my ability”

“Who needs a title to minister?”

“There isn’t anybody available so we can’t be fussy”

“What does it matter, anything is better than nothing”

And I am sure there are many other statements that has made its rounds.

 

So let me use an analogy in this post. You have a car, may not be a fancy car, but it is your car. You spent money on purchasing that car and now you must have you car either serviced or fixed. Who do you send it to? Do you just send it to any Tom, Dick or Harry that says they can work on cars? Do you send it to someone who says “I don’t need to have an ability to fix cars, I just need to be available”? Or “I don’t need to have knowledge of what I am about to do, it will come to me on the spur of the moment when it matters! I mean anything is better than nothing!” I know the answer to that one. It’s a HELL NO! That person better know what they are doing because the car will be returned to us in a condition that is worse than when it went in.

 

We are so specific when it comes to these tangible things in our lives. Things that can be easily replaced or fixed. These things have to be serviced by trained, equipped and professional people who know what they are doing. But when it comes to ministering to our young people we just allow any idiot to get in the room and just hammer away with whatever tool they have at their disposal. Our young people are so much more worth than these fancy things we can purchase any other year. We need trained, equipped, knowledgeable and experienced people ministering to our youth. We need people who are called by God to minster to our youth, else we will have young people with a theologically skewed way of thinking and a warped mentality of God and who he is.

 

So pastor, parent, adult – make sure the person ministering to your youth is trained, equipped, knowledgeable and called!