I have these rules. By now you’ve probably figured that out. One of my rules goes like this, be slow in assigning motives to others. This rule is not catchy, flashy, or cute. It is, in fact, plain and somewhat boring. But let’s dig into it anyway. We all do this. We all assign motives to others. When someone does something, especially something we don’t like, we try to figure out the “why” of their actions. We often assume this answer without asking and create it from our own experiences and imagination. Listen to the world (especially the news) and you’ll see that the fact to motive ratio is way out of whack. We don’t want to know what happened as much as why it happened. The what may be indisputable, but the why is often subject to interpretation at best and propaganda at worst.
I have these rules for life, twenty-eight of them in all. The list is not weighted. The first rule is not more important than the second, in fact, the order doesn’t really matter. Here’s the eighth rule – Asking questions can open locked doors. I obviously don’t mean literal doors but metaphorical ones. It would be kind of silly to stand outside a locked door and ask about its day. And it’s not really a rule, more like a proverb or pithy saying. But questions can unlock doors. Everything we know about the world and the cosmos begins with a question. Why? How? That inquisitiveness drives all knowledge and frustrates us when we don’t know the answer. This is the black and white realm of toddlers and empirical scientists as they seek to discover how the world works. Without questions, ther
I have these rules for life. So far, we’ve covered six of them in this monthly Lambchow feature. Number seven goes like this – Listen more than you talk. In some ways, I think I’m wired to follow this rule and it is has served me well in every area of life. Some may count me as shy, especially those that knew me in High School and young adulthood. And there was some fear-based shyness there. But during that time, I also discovered that a lot can be learned by simply listening. A few years ago, Betty and I joined a small group at our new church. They were unknown to us and we to them. I determined to apply this rule of listening more than I spoke. I think they thought I was shy too but my desire was to get to know each one’s wants, worries, and wounds by watching and listening. Today I c
I have these rules for life. Some of them are learned, some overheard. This particular rule I’d label as “not there yet.” Call it an aspirational rule. An acknowledgment of a simple yet hard to implement truth. The fifth rule goes like this – Patience can untie the impossible knot. I’m not sure if everyone is like this or not. What I see in myself regarding patience is a hodge-podge of inconstancy. I can be both patient and incredibly impatient at the same time. The difference seems to be driven by other factors. How urgent is the matter on the other side of the knot? The level of desire for something to happen? Do I have a measure of control over the situation or is it totally out of my hands? The answers mix together in weird ways to impact my level of patience. How about you?
I have these rules of life, 27 at last count. They aren’t in any particular order or priority and I don’t call them by their number in some kind of code. The second one on the list goes something like this - Everything in life is a trade-off. (I wrote about the first rule here.) What I mean by that less than poetic observation is there are rewards and consequences to every choice we make and every step we take. Consider outdoor grills for a moment. I could save money upfront and buy the cheap one or spend more with the expectation that it will work better and last longer. That’s one example. When it comes to outdoor grills (and a lot of other things) my experience says to buy the more expensive one but not the most expensive one. It doesn’t always work that way of course. Sometimes
Over the years I’ve collected a set of rules for living life. Some are born from walking with Jesus, others stem from my own fears and failures. While they’re in a numbered list there is no ranking, well, for the most part. There are a few, like number 22, that trump all others. Neither are they recorded chronologically by discovery or even alphabetically. The order isn’t important. So, while this particular rule is marked as number one it is not primary, it’s simply the first on the list. The rule is -- Never order seafood at a steakhouse or steak at a seafood restaurant (unless it’s surf and turf). Sounds flippant, perhaps a bit on the silly side. However, every time I violate this rule I come away disappointed. Especially that one time when I ordered lobster at an Italian restaurant.