Choices

The only time anybody ever accepted responsibility for their lives and future is NOW.

Responsibility isn’t planned; no one ever scheduled responsibility or added it to their to-do list.

Nor is it calculated. You don’t sequence responsibility with a series of other steps.

Responsibility doesn’t look backwards. [click to continue…]

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Celebration DessertWant to increase your expectations?  Increase your options.

Robin and I celebrated our 30th anniversary yesterday. To be honest, it started with little-to-no expectations. She had been feeling really bad pain-wise, then got a cold on top of that. The day was a work day for both her and me, and we both had a lot to do.  So we said all the right things and assumed we’d plan some other celebration later.

The one thing we planned, sort of, was dinner.

But there was one option we didn’t consider – the option that she would actually feel very good at the end of the day.

The cold was much better, she had less pain and more energy, and we had a really nice evening together. Fortunately in this case, when the new realities presented themselves, we were able to act on them.

The evening was made all the more special by Ralph, our server at the Longhorn Steak House.  Ralph saw his job as being more than taking orders and serving food.  He increased his options by becoming a celebration facilitator.  I actually heard him ask the table next to us, “Are you guys celebrating anything special tonight?”

Ralph saw to it that since we were there to celebrate, we would have a celebration.  [click to continue…]

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This is awkward.  But I want to tell you about an experience I had a long time ago, when I was young and stupid (as opposed to middle-aged and ill-advised). 

I was in a season in my life when I had lost nearly everything.  I don’t mean that poetically.  I mean, everything.

Job… fired.

Career… lost.

Health… busted.

Friends… nearly all vacated.

Marriage… destroyed.

Kids… gone.

Integrity and credibility… a bad joke.

Finances… bankrupt.

Sanity… toast.

I was a shell of a man, crushed under the weight of stupid choices, addictive behavior, and shame.  I would sit and, without realizing it, rock back and forth. (Braves fans, remember how Leo Mazzone, the former pitching coach would rock on the bench?  Yeah, that was me and worse.) 

On this particular day, I was sitting in a hospital day room when somebody stuck his head in the door.  “Anybody here named Andy Wood?” he asked. [click to continue…]

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This is about asking yourself a simple, but profound question about choices and consequences and serving.  Choose well, you’ll live well.  Choose poorly, and you will serve the consequences of those choices.  

Moses understood that.  Just before his death, he called an assembly of Israelis and reframed all the things that God had taught him.  We call it, “Deuteronomy.”  Here’s what Moses had to say as he was wrapping things up:

This day I call heaven and 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 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, NIV).

There’s one example of the diagnostic question:  Am I choosing life or death?  It’s a powerful question about the path we are on.  A friend of mine has started using this to frame his everyday decisions – what he eats, his business decisions, his family relationships. 

Jesus offered another way to frame your choices. [click to continue…]

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You're closer to death than ever.

You're closer to death than ever.

Jeff, a very gracious and thoughtful reader, made the following comment on my post about the LifeVesting Principle of Abundance:

I have been seeking God’s truth for a while now and many of the things you said here coincide with what has been revealed to me. Except one- that we have one life. I’m not here to dispute anyone else’s faith or beliefs. Whatever one person feels about God is probably necessary for that person’s spiritual growth. However, i just feel compelled to say that one thing that I have come to understand is that we have many lives. Again, if you truly believe we have “one shot”, then I am not here to judge your faith. I just think that those who read this should at least explore the possibility of reincarnation. I think that the idea that God would give us one chance is contradictory to his nature, and his plan.

Jeff’s ideas and request (that we should at least explore the possibility of reincarnation) actually speaks to a fifth principle of LifeVesting – the principle of Eternity.  For the sake of review, The first four “Laws of LifeVesting” are as follows (they’re built around the acrostic, Get A.L.I.F.E.):

Abundance: I live in an abundant universe, created by an abundant God, who wants me to have an abundant life.

Legacy:  I have the power to influence and bless others long after my life on earth is over.

Increase:  I will receive an increase on my life choices in proportion to my willingness to invest and wait.

Freedom:  I will be served by the people and things I invest in and serve.

The Principle of Eternity says:  I have the opportunity to affect the quality of eternity by the choices I make.

I would be interested to know your thoughts about Jeff’s comments; here are mine. [click to continue…]

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(A Turning Point Story)

Pam was 15 and pregnant.  Somehow, in the wake of some poor choices, however, she made a good one.  Pam decided not to get an abortion, and a young man – an all-star outfielder in his high school – lives today because of that decision.  But Pam’s decision was costly, because her family didn’t approve.  Pam needed a place to go.  So at a time when our own children were four and two, Pregnant Pam came to live with us.

We helped arrange a private adoption, and the time came for Pam’s baby to be born.  Robin was committed to walking with Pam through all of this, so she stayed at the hospital with her, and I kept the little ones at home.  Having been through all of this together, the kids and I were excited about seeing Pam’s baby.  So we planned a little trek up to Medical Center East in Birmingham.

Being something of a hospital veteran, I decided on this Saturday to go in through the Emergency Room.  I herded my little brood through the waiting room, through the double doors, and into the elevator.  After a delightful visit, we reversed the process – into the elevator, back through the double doors, breezing through the ER waiting room.  The kids were walking ahead of me, self-assured and chattering away.  They marched through the exit doors and started down the sidewalk toward the car.

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