POSITIVE LIVING: WHERE ARE WE GOING?

anguillian
By anguillian August 17, 2015 09:05 Updated

What better time than now, when we have just enjoyed the emancipation celebrations, for us as a people to ask ourselves – Where are we going? You see, many people do not ask themselves that question. In fact, many of them sometimes seem unconcerned while others prefer to travel in circles, repeating the same things over and over again. But the time has come for us to know not only where we are going but how we intend to get there.

The time is too urgent for us to be driftwood. We need to be deliberate about where we are headed, each and everyday, because if we don’t know where we are going, we might wind up someplace else, perhaps in a place we don’t want to be.
One of the first steps in planning the change we wish to realize, is to for us to clearly link the desired results or outcomes with the necessary behaviour changes – and then design the change to create the behaviours. The ultimate success of the change will depend on how successfully we are able to create these necessary behaviour changes we so desire.

Oftentimes, we make the mistake of diving into the change effort without taking the time to clearly identify those behaviours we wish to see. However, by taking the time to create the detailed links between the results or outcomes we wish to realize, and the specific behaviour changes we need to employ, we will know where we are going so we don’t end up somewhere else.
When we know what we want, where we are going and know how we intend to get there, we need to use the right kind of people if we are to achieve the desired outcome. You see, using the wrong people in the wrong places will not work because they fall into three categories:
1. Those that think they know where they are going,
2. Those that say they know where they are going, and
3. Those that know where they are going.
Using the right type of people for the task is crucial. The shoemaker cannot be used for pulling teeth, neither the butcher to undertake the job of the doctor. The person must suit the task. The right people must go in the right place. Misfits will not work. Vivid examples can be found in the Bible for our learning and guidance. Let us look at the first point:

Those that think they know where they are going. We find the first example in the book of Jonah – 1:1-3. God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish – as far away from God as he could get. God had a plan for Jonah, but Jonah wasn’t interested in that plan. He thought he had a better plan. But that plan he had did not work. Read the rest of the story and see what happened. He thought he knew where he was going. Matter of fact, if you would have asked him how it was going right up until things started going south, he probably would have said pretty good! You see, sometimes our plan altering comes at great expense to others. Sometimes when we think we know where we’re going, others pay a great price to get us there! Most times when we think we know where we are going, we end up paying the greatest cost, and that’s what happened to Jonah.

Our second example is: Those that say they know where they are going. For this one, let us look at the Apostle Paul formerly known as Saul (Acts 9:1-6, 11-19). In the religious circles, everyone knew him. He was a Pharisee. He had studied religion all of his life. If there was anyone qualified to say that he/she thought he/she knew where he/she was going, it would have been him. After all, he was busy doing the Lord’s work, wasn’t he? …or was he? Just because we are confident and say we know where we are going, in our walk through life, does not necessarily mean it is the right way.
Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples – out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether man or woman, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem. He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” The voice replied “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.” You see, he thought he was carrying out God’s plan for his life! What he found out was, what he had been taught and what he had been saying, wasn’t God’s plan for his life at all! Paul Hovey once said: “A blind man’s world is bound by the limits of his touch; an ignorant man’s world is bound by the limits of his knowledge; a great man’s world is bound by the limits of his vision.”
The third example is: Those who know where they are going. Well, nobody knows the future except for God. So therefore no one can really know what tomorrow holds for him/her. For us to know where we are going, or where we need to go, we must consult God. He has the plan for us individually and for our country. Therefore, leaders need to know and cultivate their relationship with God each and everyday to seek guidance as to where to take the country. King David was such a leader – such a man. He can be looked to for such an example in leading a nation. From his youth till his last breath, he knew God.

He knew whether he was a Shepherd tending his father’s flock, or facing a giant on the battlefield, or leading the whole Nation of Israel. It did not matter what happened, God would see him safely through any situation. He knew where he was going because he put his faith in God’s plan for his life, and he knew if God knew where he was going, that’s all that mattered! So too were other national bible heroes like Moses and Joshua.
God has a plan for every nation/country. Egypt was not the country God promised to the Hebrew people, the children of Abraham. God wanted to deliver them from their taskmasters and take them back into the land of Canaan which he had promised to their father, Abraham. God knew that when Moses became a man he would be just the right person to lead all the Israelites out of Egypt, so that is why God took care of him.

God knows everything. He knows things even before they happen! God knew that Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, would not want to let the Israelites leave the country. Therefore Moses was the man for the hour for that task. When he was chosen to lead, Moses knew where he was going and what the outcome would be. God sent him back to Egypt to demand the release of the Israelites from slavery. In Exodus 9:1, the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, this is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” God instructed Moses every step of the way: (Exodus 14:15 and 16). Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.”
When Moses task was ended, God sent Joshua on the scene. It was time to change the guard. The conquest of the Canaan land did not belong to Moses but to his successor Joshua. Israel’s people were at the crossroads at this time. Their powerful leader died but they were confronting a daunting task of crossing the Jordan and conquering Jericho. No one could replace Moses’ leadership qualities. There was a leadership vacuum. Now this important task was given to Joshua. The leadership transfer could cause fear and anxiety among people. But in this critical time God gave his assurance to Joshua to carry out the conquest. God’s work continued though his servant died. God used Moses in his own time and now God called Joshua to succeed Moses. Though the people lost one of the greatest spiritual leaders in God’s history, God continued his plan of conquering the Promised Land through another servant, Joshua. Joshua confronted many daunting tasks ahead of him. As a new leader, his future was uncertain and he may have been fearful about his enemies, but God showed Joshua how to become a strong leader in the conquest of the Canaan land. God gave Joshua several instructions as a leader. After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites.”

At every point God was with his people guiding and directing them. Every step of the way they contacted God as well. Are our leaders doing the same? Do they know where they are taking the people? Do they have a clear vision of how to get there? This is extremely important for them, as well as the people, to know. You see, everyone’s standard answer when asked how things are going in our country usually is, we are now in good hands, but whose hands are they referring to? Is it God’s hands or the leaders’ hands? What we need to reflect on as a people are, are we going where God wants us to go as a people and as a country? Are His plans our plans?
We cannot start out wrong and wind up right. The best of intentions will not get us to the right destination if we take the wrong road. That’s why it’s important to not only know where we want to wind up, but to make sure of the path we take to get us there. It is well and good to have intentions, but it needs more than intentions. We need to have a vision and a plan. The right people with the right tools as well, all going on the right pathway. Nothing else will work.
Jesus said, there’s a road that leads to life, and there’s a road that leads to destruction. Jesus was saying that there are only two roads: the right one and the wrong one. Your intentions or my intentions don’t have any impact on the eventual destination. No, Jesus taught that our destination is determined by the road we choose…and we only have two choices. Which will we choose? The choice is up to us! At the time of appointing Joshua as Moses’ successor, God gave him a few words – “Be strong and very courageous; keep the Law of God day and night; don’t stray to the left or the right.” We will do well if we heed those words also. May God bless and help us all as we seek His wisdom, guidance and clear direction for ourselves and our land.

Remember: “We are our choices.” “Everything has a price.” ? Jean-Paul Sartre/Anne Bishop.

About the Author: Mrs. Marilyn Hodge owns and operates the Wellness Centre in the Farrington, Anguilla. The Centre offers Counselling Services by Appointment Only. Contact information: 476-3517 or email: marilynb@anguillanet.com.

anguillian
By anguillian August 17, 2015 09:05 Updated

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