Posts

Do you act or react?

Do you act or react?
I like this story told by Dallin H. Oaks…
“I recall a memorable lesson I learned from Chicago Daily News columnist Sydney J. Harris. He wrote:
“I walked with my friend, a Quaker, to the newsstand the other night, and he bought a paper, thanking the newsie politely. The newsie didn’t even acknowledge it.
“‘A sullen fellow, isn’t he?’ I commented.
“‘Oh, he’s that way every night,’ shrugged my friend.
“‘Then why do you continue to be so polite to him?’ I asked.
“‘Why not?’ inquired my friend. ‘Why should I let him decide how I’m going to act?’
“As I thought about this incident later, it occurred to me that the important word was ‘act.’ My friend acts toward people; most of us react toward them. He has a sense of inner balance which is lacking in most of us; he knows who he is, what he stands for, how he should behave. He refuses to return incivility for incivility, because then he would no longer be in command of his conduct” (“Do You Act—Or React?” condensed from the Chicago Daily News).”
Reflecting on this story, it challenges each of us to focus our attention on the individual responses that we must make, to the personal adversities sure to impact upon each of us throughout our lives – sometimes even daily!

Choosing

Each of us have the power to choose what to do, in essence to act, and not simply be acted upon.
In most encounters in life, it is my sense that we can determine the kind of experience we are going to have by how we respond.
How we choose to act and behave ultimately shapes our character. Charles A. Hall aptly described that due process in these lines:
– We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions;
– We sow our actions, and we reap our habits;
– We sow our habits, and we reap our characters;
– We sow our characters, and we reap our destiny”
May we always remember that “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”- Proverbs 15:1
How can you choose to act and not be acted upon?

Talents

“Would you like to play something on the piano?” I asked.
Yesterday, before going out to eat at a local pannekoekenhuis, we had a visit at home from our sister missionaries.
I know that Samantha Greenhalgh has been gifted with a wonderful talent and loves to play the piano. So, I pointed out some music sheets and invited her to take a seat. Seconds later, the room was filled with a beautiful melody. She chose not to select any of the music, rather play something from memory that was elegant and pleasing.
The short musical interlude lasted only a few minutes, but it brought peace and joy to those who were able to sit and listen for those few moments in time. I even captured a little smile from Samantha too! 😊
Each of us have been blessed with different talents, gifts and abilities by our Heavenly Father. We have the responsibility to develop the talents that we have been given. Listening to her play the piano yesterday, it was very evident that Samantha has devoted many hours to developing her talent.
– What talents have you been gifted with?
– Have you discovered them yet?
Spending time to develop your talents, through practice, regular effort and sharing, are key principles to allow it to grow.
Consider the talents you have been blessed with and who knows, it may not be too long before you’ll be sat playing the piano, or even winning an Olympic medal!
Go on, give it a go!

Don’t just do something, sit there!

“Don’t just do something, sit there!”- is a phrase I have stumbled across several times recently.

It’s extremely difficult NOT to do something these days. In the frenetic pace of life, whether it is a work task, an urgent assignment, homework, something needs fixing, the school run – taking time to “sit there” and think, rarely (if ever) tops the list of things to do.

We think far too seldomly. Conversely, we tell ourselves not to think, by saying “don’t just sit there, do something!” In several coaching sessions and workshops recently, this theme has been a topic of some healthy conversation. Ultimately, our discussion peaks at the realisation that we need to think, before we act. The lesson is that we need to put the thinking in before the doing.

In my own life, there have been many times that I have felt a bit harried, time poor and harassed. Then, some years ago, I decided and chose to change. I realised that I needed to simply “sit there” for a while every day and declutter my noisy mind. As an early riser, the first hour of every day is my precious contemplation time. Those 60 minutes of thought and study are a daily gift to myself.

A little time set aside daily to think about what really matters makes all the difference.

When will you “sit there?”