Bad Luck or Bad Choices?
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
"How is your new hire working out?" I asked a friend the other day. She is in upper management in a large firm. The pressures of her job are very heavy, and she was excited about a job interview with someone who seemed to have the training and skills to do the job she needed help with. So she hired Mehitable (not her real name, of course.)
My friend's smile faded when I asked how she was working out. "She's in our ‘validate and release' program."
"What in the world is that?" I asked. "Sounds like a Bass Fishing Tournament!"
"We're going to have to let her go, but we need to show her the exact causes for her termination."
"I thought she had good credentials."
"She did. But she just won't follow instructions. She always does things her own way. Thinks her way is better."
"You're sure she understands your instructions?"
"Oh, yes. When I ask her to repeat them, she does it, perfectly, and then adds, ‘But I prefer to do it another way.'"
Mehitable will lose her job, and she will think it was just bad luck. But she will keep on having "bad luck" until she commits herself to doing a job just as she was hired to do it, until she sees her decisions are the real cause of her troubles.
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins says,
"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped."
We all make various decisions all day. Some are unimportant, and we shouldn't waste time fretting over them. But some of them are truly important, and we need to be aware that they actually shape our lives. The trouble with Mehitable is that she is not even aware she is making bad decisions that will affect her future. True for me, too, sometimes. I might make a thoughtless commitment to a project without counting the cost in the time and emotion it will require until later, when I am overwhelmed by my obligations.
My safety? That I ask God to help me realize when a choice is truly important, and then make it deliberately and thoughtfully. There's a wonderful promise in the Bible that helps this decision-making:
"How gracious God will be when you cry for help!
As soon as He hears, He will answer you.
Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
your teachers will be hidden no more;
with your own eyes you will see them.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
This is the way; walk in it."
If I ask God for help, if I will listen for His guidance, He will give me the wisdom to make good choices. When obstacles arise, I'll know it isn't bad luck. My God is still in control of my life. He will keep His promise to show me the way I should walk.