Kesleigh and I went on a bike ride the other day. She’s 4 (almost 5) and is still a little wobbly on her “new bike.” (She got it for Christmas.) Our neighbor, Peyton (7yrs) joined us for the ride. We rode around the neighborhood a while but then I got a little bored and decided to take them off road. We found a little trail that led us to a ditch. (maybe 20ft deep) The sides were a little steep and I could see a little trepidation on both their faces when I suggested that we ride down and then back up the other side.
Kesleigh spoke first, “Daddy, you go first.” I did. I rode down the smooth part of the hill thinking they would follow me.
When I reached the other side and motioned for them to come on over, Peyton jumped off his bike and walked it down the hill. Kesleigh (I love this girl) just looked at him and jumped on her bike and started down the hill. She trusted me and the direction I had pointed her in.
No fear. Fully committed. I could see the concentration on her face. She wobbled a little, but made it to the bottom, hit a bump, and bounced off the bike and onto the ground. By the time she realized what had happened, she heard daddy’s cheers showering down from above. “You were awesome Kesleigh! Good job! That was cool!”
Her first words? “Daddy, I made it to the bottom.” No tears. Just a positive outlook.
She fell, but she didn’t fail. I was so proud to see her commitment and determination.She didn’t hesitate.Fear didn’t have time to speak. She just went for it! She was all in! Her focus was perfect and even her attitude about falling was great. Daddy is proud!
That’s my girl!!!!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for Kesleigh. She’s a precious gift. Lord, help me to train her up so that she will grow in her understanding and love for You – so that she will give her life to You and serve you wholeheartedly. Lord, I also ask that You teach me to be like her – trusting the directions you point me in – not allowing fear to have a voice – having a great attitude about falling – being committed and focused – going for it and being all in when it comes to the things You’ve called me to. AMEN.
“You’re so negative!” Miranda’s words hung over me for a few days. It was just a couple of weeks ago. I had posted a few updates on twittter/facebook and after reading another one, Miranda responded. . . Loudly. . . Accusingly. And if I’m man enough to admit. . . Correctly. My wife has the ability to cut right through my facades and break me open. (and I’m exceedingly grateful for her.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how my attitude affects my experiences. If it impacts my own experiences, what does it do to the rest of my family? My friends? The world around me?
I’ve heard of people making it their goal to have a “zero carbon footprint” in regards to their use of things that harm the environment.
What would the world look like if we all worked toward a “Zero Negative Footprint?” What if we were able to stop our negative interactions with people? How do negative attitudes harm our relational environment? What if everyone you came in contact with was encouraged or impacted in a positive way by your interaction?
Somehow, I think this is the way Jesus must have lived. Scripture is full of people who were impacted positively by Him. Even the Pharisees were given tough love (ultimately positive) by His discipline. To be a Christian is to seek to live as Jesus lived. Although He is the only person to ever walk the earth with a “Zero Negative Footprint,” He is our example, our guide.
“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Being positive is tough. It’s counter-cultural. But it also changes people. It changes attitudes. It’s contagious! Murphy’s Law no longer applies to anything. God’s law is much bigger! It’s the difference between being a critic or an encourager.
Miranda’s words are still looming over me, “You’re so negative!” but I’m working on it. God is working on me. I’m grateful.
Here’s another cool psychology experiment I read about in “Sway” by Ori and Rom Brafman:
The Love Bridge:
Capilano Canyon (near Vancouver, Canada) can be crossed on a rope suspension bridge (built in 1889) which spans 450 feet at 230 feet above the surface of the ground. There is also a solid wood bridge 10 feet off the ground further down the canyon.
The suspension bridge sways underneath your feet when strong winds blow through, but unsuspecting hikers were also swayed by it’s power.
For the experiment, a female research assistant was told to approach men (one at a time) between the ages of 18-35 as they stepped off the end of each bridge. She was supposed to follow a scripted story with each man. She was to tell them that she was a psychology student conducting a study on the affects of exposure to scenic attractions on creative expression. She would then ask each man to fill out a short survey. When he finished, she would offer to tell him about the study later when they had a bit more time. She was then instructed to tear off a corner of the survey paper, write down her name/phone number and hand it to them. Most of the men happily accepted the number and hiked on down the trail.
The team also sent a male student with the same instructions. Not surprisingly, he was repeatedly turned down and many men wouldn’t even fill out the survey. Over the following few days, there were only 3 curious hikers who called him up. The female student received many calls.
Now here’s the interesting part. Of the 16 men who crossed the small wooden secure bridge, only 2 called her. However, half of the 18 men who crossed the suspension bridge called.
Hmm. . . now what made the difference? Most likely, the feelings which developed during the rope bridge crossing affected their perceptions of her. Their heightened anxiety/adrenaline simulated the same sort of feelings that you get when you have a crush. Their emotional state impacted their decisions and their perceptions. She represented the safety and security they needed as she greeted them on solid ground. For the men on the other bridge, well. . .they didn’t have the same needs/emotions.
Emotions Matter. When you’ve got to make an important decision. Make it at a wise time. Don’t make big decisions right after periods of heightened anxiety or adrenaline.
I learned a little Hebrew today. Thought it was worth sharing.
“Torah” = “Law” in Christian Bibles, but in a Jewish bible it’s almost always translated “teaching.” As Christians, we typically talk about the Old Testament law as the means by which God showed us, how much we needed a Savior. (“Cause we couldn’t live up to everything the “Law” required.) Therefore, we think of the “Law” as a condemning sort of thing. If we could think of it more like Jesus did, like our Jewish friend do, I think we’d be thinking more accurately.It may be subtle, but it makes a difference. Let me show you:
Psalm 1:2 – “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
but if we read it the way our Jewish friends do, it’d say:
Psalm 1:2 – “The teaching of the Lord is His delight, and he studies that teaching day and night.”
Our Jewish friends, think of the “Law” well the “Torah” very differently. The Torah is a blessing – not a condemnation. It’s God “teaching” which helps us to live life more fully. Their attitude toward “Torah” is much more in line with it’s intent, and therefore more in line with God.
In much the same way, “Mitzvah” is translated “commandment.” We hear that word as burdensome – as something which comes from a domineering authority figure. But our Jewish friends hear it differently – in a positive way. They say things like “I had the opportunity to do a mitzvah today when my neighbor needed some help.” It’s not a burden, but an opportunity to honor God in a special way.
Bottom line: I think our Jewish friends have it right. If we could learn to think of these terms like they do, I think much of the weight of our faith would be lifted and we could live in freedom by rejoicing in His “Torah” (teaching) and looking for opportunities to perform a “Mitzvah” (commandment).