I love the beginning of spring. During this time, things that were dormant burst through their barriers and show signs of life. Things that were drab and nonchalant seem to make a grand appearance. Things that weren’t noticeable catch the eye and demand attention. Things that appeared insignificant make their grand stand for all to see. The colors are eye-catching, the scents are sensational, and the beauty is breathless. It’s amazing that what seemed so insignificant a short time before takes center stage and solicits applause.
So it is with our lives. We may have gone through rough patches, and it may have seemed that we would never rise above the shambles. We may have encountered disappointments that we thought we would never overcome. We may have suffered defeats that seemed insurmountable. We may have endured heartaches that stretched us beyond our preconceived boundaries. However, in the midst of all of the pain and suffering, we were able to catch a glimpse of that ray of hope. As small as it may have been, we saw an opening that allowed us to believe again. Instead of turning away from the small glimmer, we latched onto it with all that was in us. As we did, the impossible seemed possible, and we knew the painful experiences came to pass.
So allow the springtime to radiate in your life. Know that the dreadfulness of life did not come to stay. Just as new life comes with the change of seasons, so can hope and change spring forth out of past despair.
Time is a precious commodity. However, some people squander their time by trying to encourage others to like them. They pretend to be who they are not, buy things they can’t afford, say things they don’t mean, go places they aren’t interested in, and do things they don’t want to do in order to impress others. Unbelievably, they will even violate their values in order to be accepted.
Isn’t it interesting that people will make such huge investments in relationships that reward them with pain, confusion, sadness and the like? These people simply do not realize that not everyone on the planet will like them, even if they were perfect and flawless (which none of us are).
As you examine your relationships, do you find yourself guilty of this infraction? Are your relationships adding to your life, or are they causing you to spiral downward? Do you have to pretend to be someone you are not in order to be accepted? Are you violating your values in order to belong? When you leave your relationships, are you drained and disillusioned? Do you rationalize that being with someone who degrades you is better than being with no one at all?
If you find yourself in these energy drainers, you may want to make a change. As mentioned earlier, your time is valuable. And if those around you can’t appreciate you for who you are, maybe you need to find better ways to invest your time.
Many families go on vacation during the summer months. Most of the time, they don’t get in the car or another mode of transportation and end up wherever, they usually make plans ahead of time. Many of them select their hotels, plan their activities, estimate their budgets, map out directions, etc. Before their day of departure, they have tentative plans, hoping to make their vacation as enjoyable as possible.
Most people understand preparing for a vacation, but they fail to invest that same energy when it comes to entering one of the most sacred institutions on earth: marriage. Instead of investing time and effort in a relationship, they base a relationship on fleeting emotions. Instead of talking about significant issues, they sweep things under the rug, hoping their major concerns will disappear. Instead of really getting to know their potential mate, they appear content hanging onto frills that aren’t strong enough to keep a relationship intact. Instead of looking at reality, they rationalize that the feelings they have for each other can conquer all.
Since marriage is such a huge step, wouldn’t it seem reasonable that it shouldn’t be entered into lightly? Doesn’t it seem wiser to ask the hard questions now rather than find out the hard answers later? Wouldn’t it seem starting on a firm foundation can help ensure that a structure will last?
No, nothing is one-hundred percent guaranteed; but it seems that if preparing for a vacation can make a vacation run more smoothly, then preparing for marriage is a no-brainer.
Have you ever visited a restaurant and observed a waiter providing excellent customer service? When the service is superb, the waiter knows exactly when to visit his customer’s table. He visits often enough to ensure that his customer is comfortable, but he doesn’t visit too often so that he becomes a nuisance. Not only that, the competent server flows with an air of professionalism. He approaches his customer with a smile, making him feel important. He keeps his eye on his customer, making it his goal to anticipate his customer’s needs. He doesn’t recite a litany of things he can’t do for his customer; instead, he informs his customer of what he can do. In some instances, he makes recommendations, hoping to steer an undecided customer in a satisfying direction. When most people encounter a waiter performing at this magnitude, they are compelled to leave that waiter a large tip.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each person treated every area of his life with the same spirit of excellence as an exceptional waiter treated his job? I’m not implying that a person has to be perfect, but I am wondering how differently things would be if each person did his very best in every endeavor that he undertook. What do you think would happen if that person strove to be an excellent spouse, parent, employee, employer or student? Do you think he would act differently if he knew he would be rewarded according to his efforts? Do you think things would change in a person’s life if he woke up every morning vowing to do his best in each situation that he encountered?
Instead of guessing the results, make this challenge your own. Get up each day and decide to give every situation your best. Once you do, you decide whether giving your best in each situation was worth the effort.