Some of the most interesting and frustrating conversations that I have had are with a friend from an old job. We became friends over the course of working together and through our conversations as I drove him home at the end of the night. He seemed to always have questions about God and he could work on his relationship with Him. The difficult thing was that he didn’t necessarily want to hear what I had to say… but he did.
Ya see, my beliefs about God are strong. I know how good He has been to me and have no hesitation about expressing them when prompted.
I don’t know everything about Him and I don’t profess to. I speak from my experience. So, when my friend asks me for my opinion or perspective, I give it to him.
I remember one particularly troubling conversation. Actually, it became two evenings…
The first one occurred in the parking lot of a hotel. I was on my way to a weekly meeting for a company that I represented. I’d called him because he said that he was interested in learning more about the company. (Yes, this was an MLM.) I knew pretty early in the conversation that he was not in the best condition… mentally. I could hear how big his smile was and the extra playfulness in his tone when he said, “Dwight! What’s up, man?”
I asked him if he was ready for me to pick him up. And, he responds with, “Oh, shit! I forgot, man. I was off today and I’ve been here smoking and drinking all afternoon. I’m only about two cups in, though.”
Then, we go into a discussion that lasts for the next 45 minutes…
One in which, I pace the hotel parking lot alternating between reasoning with him calmly and screaming at him for being… well, an idiot. And, no, we weren’t talking about MLMs or pyramid schemes…
At least, I wasn’t yelling at him about that portion. We did start down that route but eventually came around to his dreams and why he wanted to change. I asked him point-blank: “If you want to have something more in your life, why in the hell are you sitting around your house drinking and smoking on your day off instead of working on that project that you say that you really want to do?”
“I don’t know, man,” he says. “You see that’s why I need your help.”
“I AM trying to help you,” I yell. “But, I can’t do it for you. You can’t say you want to stop drinking and smoking and then when I call you to show you a way to change your life your response is ‘Sorry, I forgot. I’ve been drinking and smoking all afternoon.’ Do you realize how idiotic you sound?” I was getting heated.
“I’m f-ed up.”
My friend says, “I know, man. I’m f-ed up.”
“You’re not f-ed up! You just don’t want what you say you do more than you want to drink and smoke.” I took a breath to release the tension in my hands. I tell myself: That was a good point. That should work.
My friend calmly responds with an annoying hint of humor. “Ya see, that’s why I love you, man. You won’t let me say stupid stuff to myself. You’re the only person who tries to help me.”
The conversation, as I said, went on like that for about 45-minutes. Up and down. Up and down. That’s what my emotions were doing. Up and down. He was calm the entire time. I even think he laughed at some point as if it was a joke.
That was one conversation. The other conversation was much different. Well, the subject was different but my friend’s behavior was the same. He was drunk and smoking again.
This time I was at home. I’d called him to check on him. I don’t believe we were working at the same job anymore but, I’d call him periodically, and still do, just to make sure he’s not living on the street somewhere. I really want to help him but as you can see from the first conversation, that’s difficult to do. It’s not because he cannot change. Any person can change. It’s because he hasn’t committed to the change.
Anyway, this conversation happened late in the evening. I was actually in bed reading when the thought occurred that I should call and check on him. What started as a friendly call quickly turned into a discussion on free will. He stated that free will is an illusion. Okay, that’s your perspective.
But, then he said, “Isn’t it?” In my head, that meant that I was to give him my perspective and he was supposed to listen.
So, I gave him my perspective. He follows up with some comments that I couldn’t believe that even he could conjure. I’m not going into his exact words but they can be summed up as free will isn’t free will if everything that I do is either going to get me into Heaven or not and if forgiveness of my sins is as easy as asking for it then what’s to stop me from acting a fool (he was very specific in what acting a fool looked like) and then ask for forgiveness and all was good.
I was totally frustrated at this point.
Stupid is sticky
A mentor once said to me, “Do not argue with stupid. It’s a sticky substance and if you’re not careful it’ll get all over you.”
I had stupid stuck all over me. I’d fallen for that trap again… because I care about him. I even felt bad about letting him upset me. Now, I want to see him prosper. He has a good heart and has experienced a lot of craziness in his life. A lot of it was self-imposed. That’s true for most of you. We tend to inflict our own wounds and point to others as the bad guys.
Your decisions are your decisions. Your future is predicated on your decisions. Other things influence your life but you still make decisions all day long that determine where you’ll end up at the end of the day.
The nature of free will is such that when presented with a incident in life – whether opportunity or opposition – we are afforded a chance to make a decision. It is in these moments that we move towards or away from grace. Standing still we allow outside forces to influence our course. But, in moving we determine the next incident. Awareness of this fact of life brings to light the responsibility for which we have been given: to determine our destiny. No, we don’t control everything that happen. We do control how we think and, thus, how we act.
Make a decision
Will you make decisions today that allow you to go to bed excited about the next day and satisfied with the progress that you made?
If you’re still saying that you want something new but still relying on old behaviors to get you something new, I don’t know what to say to you but stop it. You’re not a fool. Stop acting like one. If you’re tired of hitting your head on the same brick walls, then turn around. Try a new direction. And, if you really don’t like what you get, you can always go back to that brick wall.
If, on the other hand, you want to embrace the new direction that your life is headed – and I know that because you’re listening to this – then head over www.NoDoubtLiving.com/potential and grab the manual I have there for stepping into your Unlimited Potential. Actually, that’s the title of the book. Get it and get to work… on yourself.