Monday, July 13, 2015

Make Smart Choices: I Had No Choice!

The other day, I wrote about staying in ignorance and making smart choices.  I mentioned that I'd woken up on the wrong side of the bed and had myself a pity party, then told myself that I didn't have to stay there. That I always have a choice. The smart choice was not to allow my emotions rule me, but to take control over them.

Later that night, I had to deal with an ongoing issue that kept me on the phone for hours and offered no satisfactory solution. After I hung up and threw my hissy fit (note: I let emotions rule me), the Hubster said, "You had no choice (in relation to the situation's non-resolution)."

"Not true," I replied. "We always have a choice."

How often have you said that out of frustration or anger?

"I had no choice!"

Even when there seems to be no choice, we always have a choice. We can accept or reject an unsatisfactory answer.

If we choose to accept the situation, it usually means that we give up our right to be right, as well as our belief that our demands should be met on our terms. And when we've been fighting for our cause, we don't want to give up and admit defeat.

When we reject the offered or prescribed answer, when the solution is not to our satisfaction, our anger is fueled, our self-righteousness is kindled, and our need for restitution is ignited. 

We choose to stay in anger to protect our self-righteous behavior. 

Unhealthy thinking keeps us stuck in that mindset, in a constant search for the next person (or company, in my case) to blame for wronging us. It creates a pattern that keeps us trapped in anger, frustration and negativity.

That's what makes grouchy old biddies and grumpy old men.

Is that where you want to live?

I sure don't.  

The catalyst to change? 

Decide if it's worth the battle. If so, then by all means continue to pursue it, knowing that you still may not get your way in the end. But if you decide that the pursuit for "my way" is not worth the aggravation or the health risks (higher blood pressure, loss of sleep, appetite changes/mood swings, depression, etc), then the following steps are necessary:
  1. Forgive the individual(s) and let it go.  
  2. Accept the situation, the solution, and your part of the blame.
  3. Release your anger/frustration/right to be right/right to be compensated. 
In my case, it was a company that "wronged" me. Forgiveness wasn't necessary; however, I needed to let the issue go, and accept the fact that I'd made the initial decision, I'd signed a contract, and they really weren't responsible for what had gone wrong. 

Making a smart choice to live with these attributes leads to serenity--the state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled. And isn't that really where we all aspire to live? Think of the health benefits rather than the health risks.

Sometimes, the offense is so great that we find forgiveness, acceptance and release impossible without the help of God. If we're honest, that's most of the time. That's the time to call on His name and ask for assistance. 


Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3


Knowing the difference is the key.

Are you in a state of serenity? Or a state of turbulence?

It's your choice.

Blessings Along the Path
Mare


I may share this post with any or all of the following: 
Joan at Sharing His Beauty, Laura at Playdates With God, Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Kelly at #RaRa Cheerleading Linkup, Beth at Wedded Wednesday, Holley at Coffee For Your Heart, Crystal at Thriving Thursdays, Deb at Blessing Counters, Barbie and Mary at The Weekend Brew, Janis at Sunday Stillness, Kaylene at Grace and Truth, Arabah Joy at Grace and Truth





Friday, July 10, 2015

Make Smart Choices: What Did I Know?

When I was a young(er) mom, I fed my children chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese.  I gave them juice packs that were loaded with sugar.  Sports drinks were a favorite drink as well.  Sugary sweets and processed foods were prevalent in our home.



If I were raising my children now, I would definitely not cook the above meal or hand them the same juice boxes.  Sports drinks would be allowed only if they were exercising or involved in a sports activity, not as a daily beverage choice (See article for more information). Of course, there is that occasional fast-food "treat," but being on the other side of wisdom, I think I would make better choices today.

What did I know? I was trying to survive being a mom. Later on--a single mom. A single, working mom who just wanted peace and a little time to myself. So I took the easy way. I gave in. A lot.

Actually, I did know. I knew that these were not healthy choices. I just didn't know as much as I know now about processed foods and sugar. About a healthy diet and how it affects every other part of our life.  About making smart choices.



It's all about choices. Making smart choices.

Maybe I did know about making smart choices and chose ignorance anyway because it was easier.

I woke up this in a less than great mood the other day. I'd gone to bed feeling that way, and I allowed the mood to continue after I awoke. In fact, I kind of wallowed in it.  

When my pity party got boring, I told myself that I didn't have to stay there. There are a lot of reasons for the myriad of feelings I felt, and I could choose to let them overwhelm me and just check out, or I could deal with them...one by one.

It's all about choices. Making smart choices.

Too often we allow our feelings to dictate us instead of the other way around. We make excuses and assign blame so that we can stay in our supposed ignorance. We act like I did as a young(er) mom---"Well, what did I know?"

The truth is, we're really not all that ignorant. Most of the time, we know. Too often, we choose to pretend that we're ignorant (even lying to ourselves!) so that we can feel sorry for ourselves. We choose not to make the smarter choice because it's easier to give in to the unhealthy option.

Choosing to stay in our ignorance--our feigned ignorance--is still a choice.  It's just not a smart choice.

Whether it's about our health/diet, exercise, the way we raise our children, or our thoughts, actions or emotions, whatever it is that we're feigning ignorance about, we will grow stagnant--and stupid-- if we continue to insist that we don't know any better, or that we didn't have a choice. 

We need to stop lying to ourselves. We do know better. And we always have a choice.


What are you feigning ignorance about today?
Are you making a smart choice?

It's never too late to turn it around and choose Truth...choose life!

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 
John 8:31-32

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.  
Deut 30:19

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

I may share this post with any or all of the following: 
Joan at Sharing His Beauty, Laura at Playdates With God, Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Kelly at #RaRa Cheerleading Linkup, Beth at Wedded Wednesday, Holley at Coffee For Your Heart, Crystal at Thriving Thursdays, Deb at Blessing Counters, Barbie and Mary at The Weekend Brew, Janis at Sunday Stillness, Kaylene at Grace and Truth, Arabah Joy at Grace and Truth



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hiking the Ridgeline-Unexpected Terrain

Ridgeline: A line formed along the highest points of a mountain ridge (Dictionary.com).

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Okay, that makes sense. 

But no one told me that in New Jersey, the ridgeline is all rocks. Looks easy enough, right? 

Actually, my ignorance was probably for the best. If I'd known that 80 percent of our 14-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT for short) would be on, over and through rocks, I probably would not have set out so ambitiously.

Sometimes, a path appears easy until we traverse it.  



Some of you may remember that the Hubbles and I have been hiking the New Jersey section of the AT for the last 5 weekends, averaging about 9 miles each hike.


High Point Monument
FASHION NOTE:  Standing in front of
a tall object makes you look tall and thin!
This past week's hike started at High Point, the highest point in NJ (in case you couldn't figure that out from the name) at a little over 1800 feet above sea level, and followed the ridgeline of the Kittatinny Mountains for 14 miles to Culver's Gap. We studied the map several times.  The topography was such that there wasn't much deviation from the 1800 foot point. It seemed easy enough, even though it was 14 miles.  We could do it. How hard could it be?

Somewhere between six and eight miles my feet started to hurt--bad. I wondered why, since the grade didn't seem strenuous.  We had to take more breaks than usual, and by mile 10, not only were we ready for lunch, we were ready to quit. 


After recharging, we were ready to tackle the last 4 miles. Our hurting feet dragged, and we stumbled again and again. We stopped several times, and I heard Brian huffing like a bear (he earned his trail name, "Huff" this weekend. I've yet to get mine).  It seemed like he was having a really tough time.  

We finally sat down for a break.  Brian had run out of water, so I split what little I had left with him.  He was out of breath and took a long time to recoup. I started to get worried. We were almost out of water. I looked at the tracker-13.25 miles.  

"We're almost there," I said, trying to encourage him. "Less than a mile."

Except that I'd miscalculated. The section from High Point to Culver's Gap is indeed 14 miles, but we'd started at the monument, not at the Appalachian Trail head. I was off by a little over a mile. We were actually two miles from the end point.

Obviously, we made it. When we stopped at a store on the way home to purchase drinks, Brian downed two Gatorades, a Coke and a water. We hadn't realized that he was dehydrated. No wonder he was having such a difficult time.

While the hike was almost double in length than we're used to, the rocks added to the difficulty. They slowed us down. 

Hiking on rocks takes a toll on your feet. You look at the rocks and think, "That doesn't look very hard," and you hop from rock to rock.  You walk along the rocky ridgeline. You climb over jumbles of rocks.  Your boots fold, stretch, get stuck and bend to the shape of the rock you're stepping on, over or around. Sometimes you stumble. Sometimes you slip. Sometimes you even fall.

But the unseen trauma, the one that really makes your feet hurt, is the force of your foot on the hard rock compared to the force exerted on a softer dirt path.  

Knowing this ahead of time may have caused us to re-think the length of our hike (15.27 miles).

What's going on in your life right now that's rocky? What's slowing you down?  What's causing your feet distress?  Is it contributing to an unsuspected dehydration?

Know your terrain.
  • Is it rocky? 
  • How will it affect your journey?
  • Are you adequately prepared, with proper attire and supplies?
Know your endurance level and your limits.
  • Do you need to push yourself?
  • Or do you need to give yourself a break?
  • When it gets hard, keep going anyway. Don't give up in the middle, because you'll be stuck in the woods with no water.
Recognize the symptoms of dehydration. 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Lethargy
  • Sluggishness
  • Headaches 
  • Confusion 
  • Dizziness 
  • Weakness 
Take the necessary steps to re-hydrate.
  • Recall the Word of God when you are confused. 
  • Rest in Him.
  • Drink abundantly from the Well of Living Water.
  • Take as many breaks as you need. God walks with you always.

(Check out this video-All Who Are Thirsty Kutless)


Is the way rocky? 
Do you feel like giving up?
Do you ever think, "I didn't know it would be this hard?"

Do your feet hurt from walking along the ridgeline?

Is it taking longer than you thought?
Are you spiritually dehydrated?


Keep going, friend! The way may be rough, but the reward is great!

See, I forgot to mention---walking on the ridgeline means an abundance of views-sometimes panoramic. In a way, it compensates for the rocky path.
View of Culver Lake from the ridgeline
Blessings as you traverse the difficult and rocky places,
Mare


I may share this post with any or all of the following: 
Joan at Sharing His Beauty, Laura at Playdates With God, Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Kelly at #RaRa Cheerleading Linkup, Beth at Wedded Wednesday, Holley at Coffee For Your Heart, Crystal at Thriving Thursdays, Deb at Blessing Counters, Barbie and Mary at The Weekend Brew, Janis at Sunday Stillness, Kaylene at Grace and Truth, Arabah Joy at Grace and Truth