Going ‘Round and Round’ [v138]

AUGUST 2010

GOING ‘ROUND AND ROUND’
(and getting nowhere fast?)

Within a few miles of my house, there are a few ‘things’ that are pretty special here in Michigan—and even in this nation. They are called “Roundabouts.”

A “Roundabout” is a circular intersection in which road traffic must travel in one direction around a central island. Drivers approaching from any direction must enter into the ‘flow’, navigate around the center island, and then exit onto a new street at the appropriate point [ Think Middle Ages “sling” weapon hurling the ‘stone’ outward ;^D ]. The intent is to allow traffic to keep moving through an intersection without stopping at a signal or sign. But some drivers, who are not used to roundabouts, can have problems MAKING THE DECISION when to get in and how to get out.

[ The most ‘extreme’ of this situation was played out in National Lampoon’s “European Vacation” as Clark Griswold drove round and round and around a traffic circle for hours, not able to exit through traffic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAgX6qlJEMc ].

But, in reality, the Roundabouts definitely make things better. There are 40% fewer vehicle collisions; 80% fewer injuries; and 90% fewer serious fatalities. Law enforcement have called them, “A traffic calming device,” and they are “less expensive than putting a traffic control light up, and we can get a lot more traffic through there than if we put a light up.” (The radius of the road is pretty tight, such that the maximum speed is only about 20 mph).  [ I really like ’em because, real early in the morning, when no one is around, I can practice my ‘four wheel drifts’  ;^D ].

For you who have not yet experienced a “Roundabout,” you may be able to relate to other things that make us go ’round-and-round’ when we’re trying to make decisions—like NASCAR races (that’s an easy decision—just turn left!), merri-go-rounds (hmmm–deciding to get ‘sick’?), and, sad to say, many of the ‘major’ meetings we all attend.

So, how does one make “good” decisions?—especially when it a decision where you’re betting ‘all the marbles’?

None of us want to look ‘foolish’ or be ‘wrong’, but the failure to arrive at a decision sometimes causes a person to go round and round in maddening circles. The person ponders over the same information over and over. It is this failure to grasp a problem that creates nervous breakdowns. Once a decision is made, a clear, definite course of action opens up. Once a decision is acted on, a flow of courage and energy opens up new possibilities.

There is no guarantee that the decision is correct, but not making a decision, however, can result in disaster.

So, how will you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is the right decision? Well, there are a few things that experts say you should consider:

PARALYSIS BY OVER ANALYSIS:
Some things in life are black or white, and are easy to make decisions about. Consider a car is speeding towards you. You want to live. You jump out of the way, and you know unequivocally you have made the right decision. But should you buy this car or that car? Should you buy this house or that house? Should you go to this party or that party? Marry or not?—and if so, who? So much of life is ambiguous. Sometimes both decisions would have been right or wrong—to some extent. If we wait for absolute certainty before acting, then we may never act.

Sometimes there are no ‘right’ decisions, only different or alternate decisions. Trying to make the ‘right’ decision assumes that life is always simple or even simplistic. But some people respond to decision-making time like a deer ‘snared’ by the headlights of a fast approaching car.

HOW NOT TO MAKE DECISIONS:
People wreak havoc with their mental health by worrying about what to do. The four most common traps are:

– Wanting too much certainty before acting:
Perfectionist types with simplistic ideas of right and wrong go for this one. They don’t feel it is reasonable to act on a decision while still having doubts about it. They want an ‘order’ to come in their mailbox telling them the right decision has been reached and is ‘officially approved’. Since I have not heard of this happening, their minds go round and round in circles and they actually think too much about it.

– Making emotional decisions based on a whim:
Although such decisions are often easily recognized as mistaken, the emotional decider will rarely admit this, and instead seeks to back up their ‘iffy’ decision with emotional rationalizations—kidding themselves, and sometimes other people, too. For example: “I have taken up with this violent psychopath because he is so good at helping my child with his history homework.” Or “I won’t stop smoking just yet, because ‘so and so’ is still smoking, and if I stopped now it would upset her.”

– Believing a decision can only be valid only if ratified by other people:
This approach often comes out of fear of making an entirely independent decision. It may be a sign of reluctance to become fully adult and take responsibility for one’s own life.

– Constantly making the same mistakes because of failure to learn from the past:
Of course, people rarely admit that they have ‘failed to learn’ in life. Instead, they blame lack of decent ‘luck’, ‘fate’, or lack of support from family and friends—or any of a number of other ‘reasons’ for their problems.

So, here’s a ‘4-step’ suggestion on how you can arrive at a decision, in a ‘baffling’ situation:

1) Write down what the PROBLEM IS
2) Write down what you CAN DO about it
3) Decide, or choose, WHAT TO DO
4) ACT ON IT as soon as possible

This method should not be underestimated because it is so simple. It is efficient, concrete, and strikes at the root of the issue. Decision-making puts an end to an endless loop of fact-finding and increasingly bewildering analysis. Once sufficient facts are in, and once sufficient analysis has been done—make a decision and act on it.

Decisions are powerful because they lead to action. Action is a positive effort to resolve the problem. Sometimes problems do go away on their own. Sometimes they need decisive action. Sometimes you need to wait to get more information. But whether you decide to ignore, act, or wait—above all, DECIDE! (“Just Do It”)—not making a decision IS a decision!

Once you have made a careful decision based on the available facts, swing into action. Avoid hesitation, reconsideration, retracing your steps. Follow the advice of William James: “When once a decision is reached, and execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.”

With my ‘foundation’ for decision-making put forth, I would now like to apply the roundabout metaphor to the ‘road of life’ [ Remember: At a “Roundabout,” drivers approaching from any direction must enter into the ‘flow’, navigate around the center island, and then exit onto a new street at the appropriate point ].

For most of us, life seems to be lived ‘approaching’, ‘entering’, navigating’, and ‘exiting’ an emotional, logistical, or even spiritual ’roundabout’.

I can tell you from experience, approaching a large roundabout, where everyone is in motion and are no traffic lights, can be a bit intimidating. Life can be like that, too (i.e. a new job, move to a new city, marriage, or crisis of some sort). Some of us are tempted to pull off to the ‘side of the road’, all the while knowing that our destination demands entering into the ‘fray’.

For some people, not seeing any traffic lights or stop signs on entering a roundabout, makes them really nervous and distracted (remember Clark Griswold?)—it’s every driver for him- or herself! You have to pick an ‘opening’, accelerate, enter the flow, and hopefully not crash into another car. Entering a roundabout is a ‘step of faith’, much like the choices we make in our daily lives.

If you’re like me, one who likes the “bumper car ride” at the fair [or the local go-kart place—Woo-hoo!], then you’ll love driving in a large roundabout. You’ve got 15-20 seconds to ‘survive’, and prepare for your exit. In life, once we’ve committed to a decision, there are usually ‘starts’ and ‘stops’ along the way, and we most of the time we wonder if we’re going to ‘make it’.

Finally, assuming you have properly navigated the roundabout, you are positioned to exit and continue on your way. But, sometimes the traffic is so dense, you can’t get in to the proper lane to exit, and you’re stuck going around for a second or third time—or more (like Clark Griswold’s experience) as you try to maneuver into the outside lane. Life is like that, too. We find ourselves going round and round wondering why someone—LIKE GOD—doesn’t step in and ‘STOP THE TRAFFIC’ for us—and take us safely to our ‘exit’.

Well, the Bible does says that God WILL ‘stop the traffic’ for us (in certain situations), but, most importantly, if we are ‘one of His’—His “children”—and are trying to do His “will.”

In the Book of Romans, the apostle Paul—with the ‘help’ of the Holy Spirit—more succinctly put what I’m trying to say: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28].

So, even during the ‘process’ of life—being stuck in a ’roundabout’ is scary, difficult, perplexing—and sometimes even ‘dangerous’—we can know, with confidence, that God is in ‘control’ of the things in our lives, and is causing them to work together for our, and others’ good (even if we don’t understand why certain things have to happen to us).

God in not some kind of ‘control freak’ either. He allows us our “free will” to do what ever we want. But, if we CHOOSE to desire to do His ‘will’, He has but one ‘purpose’ for our lives—to conform us to the ‘image’ of His Son, Jesus, and to help us get to the other side of the ’roundabout’, and ‘exit’ this life into ‘eternity’.

So, as I mentioned a bit ago, when one considers making a decision, however ‘tough’ it is, the best thing to do is DECIDE—and might I suggest that the MOST IMPORTANT DECISION any of us will every make here on this earth is ‘where’ and with ‘whom’ you will spend eternity!

WOW, that’s pretty ‘forward’—THE “most important”? Yep, the Bible says that while trusting in ourselves leaves us with “no assurance” of getting to Heaven, when we place our trust in Jesus Christ, and in His ‘payment’ for our sins, we can be COMPLETELY CERTAIN of getting to Heaven! He paid the penalty for all our sins and is offering us the ‘gift’ of eternal life with no ‘strings’ attached. And, we don’t have to ‘do’ anything for it—just DECIDE TO ACCEPT THE ‘GIFT’!

HOW God does all of this in our lives is sometimes not always clear, and WHY some of the things happen to us is perplexing, but that He IS DOING IT for those who have chosen to follow His Son, Jesus, is a ‘crystal clear’ message from the Bible!

[Excerpts from: Mark Tyrell; Saleem Rana; Dr. David Jeremiah]

To read more about your MOST IMPORTANT DECISION IN LIFE, then visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v138) for AUGUST 2010

(Note: If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net)

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SOME QUOTES

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There’s no such thing as a life in-between.” [Pat Riley]

“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” [William James]

“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” [William A. Ward]

“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” [Peter Marshall]

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” [Author unknown]

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” [Theodore Roosevelt]

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ROUND AND ROUND
I used to think I knew everything about life,
What did I know?
I used to think I’d seen everything I could see,
What did I see?

I had an answer for everything I was asked,
It was always black and white.
It was 1, 2, 3, so easy.
Hey, hey, hey, oh no.

It was in my head then,
It’s in my heart now.
I went round and round,
And finally found that
Only Your sweet love
Was going to save me.
So come on save me.

I used to think that I was one of the best, yeah.
That was a whitewashed tomb.
Knew all of the phrases and all of the rules,
How to bend them, too.

Never saw that I was in need of a change,
‘Til You showed me my dark heart.
And my righteousness was shaken,
From this game that I was playin’.

In my head then,
It’s in my heart now.
I went round and round,
And finally found that
Only Your sweet love
Was going to save me.
So come on save me.

I used to think I knew everything about life,
What did I know?
I used to think I’d seen everything I could see,
What did I see?

I had an answer for everything I was asked,
It was always black and white.
It was 1, 2, 3, so easy.
Hey, hey, hey, oh no.

It was in my head then,
It’s in my heart now.
I went round and round,
And finally found that
Only Your sweet love
Was going to save me.
So come on save me.

I went round and round,
And finally found that
Only Your sweet love
Was going to save me.
So come on save me.
Oh, won’t You save me!
Oh, no, no.

[Kim Hill-“Round and Round” (“Brave Heart” album, 1991)].

http://www.spiritedesign.com/RoundAndRound(KimHill).mp3

Live Performance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EICKsp5IpFM

*****************************
ROUND AND ROUND
Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet
You make the night, I always cross the line
Tightened our belts, abuse ourselves
Get in our way, we’ll put you on your shelf
Another day, some other way
We’re gonna go, but then we’ll see you again
I’ve had enough, we’ve had enough
Cold in vain, she said

(Pre-chorus)

I knew right from the beginning
That you would end up winnin’
I knew right from the start
You’d put an arrow through my heart

(Chorus)

Round and round
With love we’ll find a way just give it time
Round and round
What comes around goes around
I’ll tell you why

Dig it!

Lookin’ at you, lookin’ at me
The way you move, you know it’s easy to see
The neon light’s on me tonight
I’ve got a way, we’re gonna prove it tonight
Like Romeo to Juliet
Time and time, I’m gonna make you mine
I’ve had enough, we’ve had enough
It’s all the same, she said

(Pre-chorus)

I knew right from the beginning
That you would end up winnin’
I knew right from the start
You’d put an arrow through my heart

(Chorus)

Round and round
With love we’ll find a way just give it time
Round and round
What comes around goes around
I’ll tell you why

Yeah!

(Guitar Solo)

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet
You make the night, I always cross the line
Tightened our belts, abuse ourselves
Get in our way, we’ll put you on your shelf

(Chorus)

Round and round
With love we’ll find a way just give it time
Round and round
What comes around goes around
I’ll tell you why

Round and round
With love we’ll find a way just give it time, time, time, time
Round and round
What comes around goes around
I’ll tell you why, why, why, why
Round and round

[RATT-“Round and Round” (“Out of the Cellar” album, 1984)]

Here’s a link to a great “parody” of this song:

http://www.spiritedesign.com/LostAndFound(ApologetiX).mp3

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DEEP THOUGHT:

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

[Roy Disney]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” [Proverbs 16:9].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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