Out of Troubles Comes Wisdom in the Briefness of Life

She was beautiful, intelligent, successful, witty, and cunning but at 29 years old, she committed suicide.  How could someone who had so much going for herself, who seemed to love and live life to the fullest, who had such a strong faith in God, and who gave so completely to her friends and work commit the ultimate act in selfishness?  No one would ever describe her as selfish; even those who did not like her respected her ability to give selfishly to others.  Yet she chose the defining moment in her life to be a selfish act and knowingly wrote about it in her last letter.  Worse yet, her death also meant an immediate death for her unborn child turning her suicide into a homicide.  For those whom she left behind it imprinted a scar so deep that despite all efforts to conceal it, it remains a permanent reminder of the fragility of life.

There are some moments in your life that you can recall every last detail as if it were yesterday and for her friends and family, each one can tell you about the moment they discovered she was gone.  They can speak of the immediate shock of disbelief, the intense spike of anger, the deep massive whole of sadness, and the crushing blow of defeat.  Questions like, “Why didn’t I take that last call from her” or “How could someone who believes in God do this” or just plain “Why” spiral around with the strength of a tornado wiping out all ability to make sense out of the tragedy.  And yet those tumultuous moments which destroy everything in their wake also serve to highlight the most important things of life.

Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses which begins with praise, exalts God’s sovereignty, acknowledges the frailty of man, implores us to confession, and concludes with petitions for living.  The Psalm summarizes the purpose of life by asking for success in reflecting God’s glory to the next generation. Verse 12 pleads, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom”.  There is no greater lesson in the brevity or briefness of life than to see it cut short long before its expected time.  For those surviving after such a tragedy, it is an imprint on their life which is never forgotten.

And it should not be forgotten.  Too often the desire to run from remembering the tragedy because of the massive emotional toll even years later outweighs the importance of remembering the wisdom gained from such an experience.  Moses begged the Israelites to remember how God delivered them from slavery, how He provided for their every need, and how He protected them from harm.  But it was easier for them, like us, to forget His former mercies in light of new pressing difficulties.  Remembering those who have passed before us is not about wallowing in sorrow rather it is about remembering the value of every life no matter how short or tragic the ending.  This wisdom is wasted on the old as they are all too well aware of the briefness of life but it is of great value to the young.  So share your wisdom, it just might extend a life a bit longer.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Out of Troubles Comes Wisdom in Handling Money

Bankruptcy Filings...

Bankruptcy Filings… (Photo credit: MyEyeSees)

He was the responsible one, the one everyone depended on because they knew he would come through.  He was determined, focused, ambitious, reliable, detail-oriented and motivated yet here he sits having to make one of the hardest decisions in his life, one that would forever tarnish his reputation.  It is the decision to file for bankruptcy.  There is a part of him that intellectually knows it must be done as the numbers don’t allow for any other alternative yet there is another part of him that is not willing to admit failure.  And that is exactly how he sees it, as failure and a blemish to his name which will never be forgotten.

No amount of mutual bankruptcy filers including various famous or successful people seem to calm his anxiety or set him further at ease.  No amount of verbal encouragement from a variety of friends and family seem to lift his spirits.  And no amount of logical detailed analysis seems to ease the perfectionist standard that will be forever lost when the paperwork is complete.  There is virtually nothing that can be said or done to reduce the intense emotions of the moment; depression, discouragement, and disheartenment have made a home where the bankruptcy left a wound.

This is precisely why God allowed the Israelites the ability to be free from their debts every seven years because He knew the burden of debt unable to be repaid.  In Deuteronomy 15:1, it states, “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money.”  He explains the reason for the cancellation of debt as a desire not to have any of the Israelites classified as poor.  And having excessive debt does result in a poor economic class of people within Israel.  He further states that if the debt is forgiven, the person forgiving the debt will receive a blessing as a result.  The same lesson is then applied to slaves, asking the Hebrew people to release their slaves every six years as a reminder of God freeing the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians.

Debt binds you to the debtor.  If the debtor decides to call the loan, which they can, and you are unable to pay the consequences could be devastating.  Habakkuk 2:7 states, “Suddenly, your debtors will take action.  They will turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless.”  This fear lives deep in the heart of everyone who takes on debt whether or not they acknowledge it is an entirely different story.  This is why God does not want His people to be bound to debt.  He has given us freedom from sin through Jesus Christ and wants us to remain in His freedom, not intentionally binding ourselves up to a new master even if it is the “American dream”.  The wisdom that comes from bankruptcy is the wisdom of the true meaning of freedom.  Once you have tasted it, you are not likely to be satisfied with anything else.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Out of Troubles Comes Wisdom through Moving Yet Again

Heaven

Heaven (Photo credit: adyyflickr)

Yet another box to unpack and more stuff to decide where it belongs.  The never-ending stream of things both necessary and unnecessary seems to procreate overnight and grow into this insurmountable pile of stuff.  Moving is physically exhausting as things never seem to land where they belong and more things are misplaced or displaced then organized.  No matter the house size whether bigger or smaller than before, nothing seems to work out just as planned.  Then of course there is the list of things that need to be done such as checking on the AC unit before the heat of the summer sets in or the heater before the cold becomes unbearable.  It really does not matter if the place you are moving into is old or new (trust me, new things break as easily as old), in good shape or poor shape, or near or far from where you came.  The process is tiring nonetheless and exhaustion quickly turns into an overwhelming feeling of “What have I done?”

But logic prevails and the reasons for the move slowly begin to overshadow the journey itself lifting your spirits ever so slightly.  There is the old picture you found of your kids when they were younger, a copy of a musical program that you and your spouse went to when dating, a box given to you by your deceased grandfather, or a book that has been passed down for several generations.  So many memories come from these things; memories that you had forgotten or rather just had not intentionally remembered until finding a new place for the object forced it to come forward.  Looking back on the moving experience is painful but just like childbirth, something good emerges from the pain.

We are not meant to become attached to stuff in fact the Bible strictly warns against it.  1 John 2:15 begins a warning, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you”.  While a move may highlight the importance of some of your possessions; it should also highlight that the very things you treasure will not leave this world but you eventually will.  The Egyptians held onto a belief for many centuries that a person’s possession can travel with them when they die.  The fact that these things remain here on earth is evidence enough that you can’t take your stuff with you.

This is good news.  For you are made to have a home in Heaven, your home is not here on earth but with God in Heaven.  Just like your recent move, you will one day move on to meet your Creator.  The question is, “What have you done to prepare for that move?”  On this earth, you box valuable things up with such care as to protect them during the move but what have you done to prepare your heart and mind for the last and final move of your life?  It is never too late to make a decision to move in the right direction.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.