Colin's Wise Wednesday - 8th August 2018

Is It Wednesday? Yes, then it must be time again for me to share what’s on my mind with you:

Don’t play God pray to God.

A group of us is trying to assist an elderly gentleman, Paul, to get settled in his place of abode. He is unable to move freely which makes cleaning his place very difficult. We did our research and we met with the management of the establishment.  We were going to turn his life around, we were going to do whatever it took to change his life.  We wanted to go further while we were there:  why don’t we organize a new bed and couch for him and change his accommodation to a smaller more manageable place?  All we needed was a few minutes to explain it to him.

We met with him but to our surprise Paul said, “I appreciate what you are trying to do but I’m doing fine. I don’t need all this help.” He then started to explain his situation to us which made a lot of sense. However he agreed to get assistance with the cleaning which is impossible for him to do alone.

Two things came to mind as I pondered what had transpired this morning, the two things that I often remind my wife Lyn about!!   My first thought comes from Steve Covey’s book ‘The Seven Habits’ - one of the habits that he recommends is “seek first to understand”  Did I do that?… no!!!   I felt that because I wasn’t happy with Paul’s circumstances he shouldn’t be either.  I needed a paradigm shift, as Covey says, I needed to think differently.

The second thing that came to mind was the first part of the Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And Wisdom to know the difference.”

We so often want to change other people. This doesn’t mean that we can’t show others our care but there is a huge difference between caring for others and trying to change them.  Our best bet is to ask God to assist us in finding different ways to express our love for people like Paul.   Once we accept the things that we cannot change then we can get to know the real Paul, not the Paul we want him to be but the Paul that is happy in his situation.

Let’s pray: Thanks Lord that while I was out there trying to change people You refreshed in me what I had forgotten and that was to first seek to understand and then to accept those things I can’t change. Please Lord help me to remember there is no other God but You,  Amen .  

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