Sunday, October 19th, shortly after 4pm, Kathy was in the kitchen preparing us an early supper. Suddenly, it began to rain, a downpour with hail. In an instant, the wind picked up and the power went out.
Then, as we were standing in the kitchen with flashlights in hand, we heard an extremely loud bang that sounded like the loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard, but it wasn’t thunder. At first we thought lightning hit the house.
We moved from the kitchen into the dining room and with wide eyes saw a good sized tree branch poking through the ceiling. “Was that what we just heard?” we wondered. It was much more.
The wind literally uprooted our gigantic 40 year old pine tree and it fell into our home.
Thankfully, no one was hurt. Thankfully, all the damage was confined to one end of our home, with the garage getting the brunt of it. Thankfully, and unbelievably to most, the garage door still worked and we were able to get our cars out, mostly undamaged!
Now What Are We Gonna Do?
I’ve written about it, preached on it, and shared it with many people. Now it’s my turn to practice what I preach. It’s been said in different ways by different people, but it carries the same truth: what’s important is not what happens to you, but rather how you react to what has happened.
So how am I going to react? Of course there’s the initial, “Well it could have been worse,” which almost everyone says in almost every situation.
Yes, it could have been worse. The tree could have fallen in a different direction and taken out the main part of the house. My neighbor three doors down lost his roof and most of his possessions, and needs to move out for months while they rebuild his whole house.
But the event is over. Moving forward, where is my mindset? What kind of thoughts will I think? Does it really matter?
I’m reminded of the story of when Thomas Edison’s plant burned down in 1914. In today’s economy it is estimated at around a 23 million dollar loss. Some accounts say he had no insurance, while others say his insurance only covered part of it.
What’s remarkable is what he said about the event. Edison was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.” He stuck to his word and immediately began rebuilding the next morning without firing any of his employees.
I Do Have a Choice
Regardless of what thoughts I entertain, the work will get done. There’s going to be hammering and sawing, interruptions and inconveniences, items to move out of the way and then back again. There’s no getting around it.
I can choose to think whatever thoughts I want to think. I know there are things outside of my control, but that which is in my control is my thinking. How am I mentally seeing all this?
Well I could moan and whine about how terrible all this is. Look at all the damage! Oh what a mess! This is just awful. I’m so stressed by all of this.
And now all these workers are coming over, and all the noise and inconvenience. I’m too old for this. Why me? Oh the devil is just so mean. This is just so terrible.
No! No! No! I choose to think differently. Instead of being a victim, I have decided to be the project manager of our remodeling project. This company called Farmers is giving us some money, and we are going to do some remodeling around here!
I’m in charge! I am coordinating with the general contractor and the remodeling process is moving forward. We’re starting with the garage because it really needs some attention!
Both ways of thinking are choices in my control. I do believe the latter will give me much more peace of mind, much less stress, and keep my heart in the right place for God to work in me and help me through the process.
The choice of how we think, regardless of the situation or challenge we face will always play a big factor in overcoming obstacles.
You Can’t Always Control What Happens To You,
But You Can Control What Happens In You.
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. Brian Tracy
We can’t always control what happens in our lives – things will go well, things will go poorly – but what we can control is our response to those events. Kenneth H. Blanchard
It’s not the situation, but whether we react negative or respond positive to the situation that is important. Zig Ziglar
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7
So, what do you think?