Short Rambling Thoughts on: “Transformation of the Heart”, “Connecting the Dots” “Responsibility and Boundaries”, “Believe, Receive, Become”, “Try out the YES thing!”, “The Narcissist” and “I never got this far in my Dreams!”
It’s not uncommon for me to struggle as I draft my “Ramblings” as the process is strictly an internal one without the benefit of discussion with anyone to help frame what I am attempting to articulate. Nor do I have the opportunity to really discuss in detail the subtleties of the Rambling to add additional color or substance. Sometimes I’m concerned that the written words and thoughts could be misinterpreted (like texting is a bad way to communicate meaningful thought). I say this to acknowledge the deficiencies I find in my Ramblings.
As I think about a few random topics, I’m reminded of this verse:
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart”. Ezekiel 36:26
Thought #1: Transformation of the Heart There are two books I’ve come across that deals with the transformation of the heart. Both authors share their journey of moving to a place of faith in their lives. The first is the book (and subsequent movie) A Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, who chronicled his transformation from an atheist into a believer as he searched for historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the time, Strobel was an investigative journalist. The story includes a scene in which his editor tells him, “Do your job, do the research, follow the facts, write the story!” Strobel also recounts an interview he conducted with a forensic Doctor on the validity of Christ’s death on the cross when the Dr. siad, “Lee, you don’t want to see the truth do you?”
The second is The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important That Happens in Between by Gregory Koukl. A reviewer of the book said, Koukl “…started out thinking he was too smart to become a Christian and ended up giving his life for the defense of Christianity.”
Here’s where I’ll ask for latitude as I “Ramble” a bit on just a few of the thoughts that impacted me as I read and digested these books and other aspects of life and observed and experienced human behavior.
Thought #2: Connecting the Dots: If you want to improve your life, try saying YES Living a scripted and planned out life can create unintended boundaries, leaving us within a “box” that more than likely inhibits discoveries. There’s a puzzle called the “The Nine Dots Problem” that tests your ability to “think outside the box;” to find solutions to a problem. The challenge is to connect all the dots using only four lines and without lifting your pen off the paper. Impossible you say? What you discover, is that in order to connect all the dots, in four lines without leaving the paper, your line has to travel outside the perceived “box” created by the dots. I am learning that we need to get outside the “nine dots” of life to discover what we do not know!
What could thinking outside the box mean in your life? Asking for help? Seeking out guidance from others? Praying for guidance and wisdom? As that editor told Lee Strobel, “…do the research, follow the facts, write the story!” When writing your life story would it not be fun to write the story with a life partner? To share the journey together?
Thought #3: Responsibility and Boundaries
it seems life is always handing us boundaries (or rules) to be aware of. How do you go outside the acceptable boundaries (maybe think outside the box), be willing to say YES to exploring or opening the door to new experiences and opportunities, to go outside your comfort zone and solidify a relationship with absolute commitment (something I failed miserably at in the past)?
On occasion, I hear this from people: Why does everything seem to have boundaries? Aren’t they too inhibiting? I am always a bit surprised with the question as without boundaries we are without identity, without a moral compass, without ethics, without trust in our relationships. Another aspect of boundaries is others feeling that if you do not agree with their “boundaries” or perhaps their perspective on an issue they get snarky, irrationally mad, or combative.
Whether it’s our personal or professional relationships, being respectful of boundaries (or respectfully pushing back on boundaries) can be an essential key to nurturing a meaningful relationship. So how do we develop the positive and meaningful qualities of good relationships? An in-depth response is beyond this Rambling, however, let me use these adjectives as an entry point: Communication, Patience, Vulnerability, Collaboration, Discovery, and saying and hearing this:
“THANK YOU FOR ACTIVELY LISTENING!”
I believe we must act responsibly with the freedoms we are given, to establish who we are and want to become, and to honor who our Father is. I believe we are meant to have control over ourselves and our decisions, and to lead a good life. We all know and have seen what happens when freedoms are misused. People can lose the compass that keeps them on a path worthy of honor and respect; they may lose self-control. They may lose touch with the meaningfulness of life. This can result in a wide variety of miseries and miscues when they lose sight of boundaries and responsibility.
Everyone, every relationship, every business needs to have a well-defined, articulated, and agreed upon set of boundaries and responsibilities. Without this, failure is destined to happen.
Without boundaries and responsibility, the “Narcissist is Born!” Have you seen it? I am sure you have. Those whose success (or self-belief of their personal success) leads them to believe the world revolves about them. This is not only naïve and narcissistic, but also shows ignorance of the Christian faith. We have a choice as to what our role is and how we see it, we are not the central figure, we are just part of the supporting cast, or perhaps a member of the audience in the story of life.
Thought #4: Believe, Receive, and Become These three little words are also powerful statements that can resonate in so many aspects of our physical and spiritual life. They can guide us on a journey that never really ends. We can never “become” a success in business or in our personal relationships, if we don’t have a deep inner belief in ourselves. We must also rely on our inner strength to guide us through the roller coaster of life and along the journey of “becoming” what we are capable of with the help of the one who created us and those who surround us.
In 2012, after winning the Masters Golf Tournament, and accepting the famed green jacket in the Butler Cabin, an emotional Bubba Watson remarked, “I never got this far in my dreams!” What a remarkable statement. If you recall, Bubba Watson won his first Masters in a playoff with one of the more remarkable shots on the first hole of the playoff. I believe this was only possible because Bubba believed in himself, worked hard, and envisioned himself on that golf course one day. The sweet reward was accomplishing more than he dreamed.
I have come to believe that it is important to say YES to dreams, to embrace Believing, Receiving, Becoming in different aspects of our life as it is the path that gives us the opportunity to reach our true potential in life, faith, and relationships.