Not sure what to do?
As our nation continues to struggle with diversity and inclusion, and as Covid-19 vaccines become more available, I’ve listened to the stories of some 20 or more individuals. As a result of the pandemic, many are dealing with multiple issues related to isolation, loneliness, eldercare, childcare, financial insecurity, sense of belonging and work/life balance. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix, because it took time to get to this point and it will take time to move forward.
And think about it. It is really not surprising that some individuals don’t know what to do about their current situations. The complexity of our new norm requires us to embrace new ways of thinking and new ways of being. In 1 Kings 3:16-28, King Solomon was faced with two women both claiming to be the birth mother of the same child. Who was telling the truth? What would happen if he gave the child to the wrong woman? How would he discern the right thing to do?
If you take the time to read 1 Kings 3:16-28, I think you will find some insight for your own journey. Life is requiring us to dig a little deeper than in the past. Not sure what to do? Consider the three practices below.
1. Listen deeply. Some of us listen to what others say. Some of us are thinking about what we are going to say, while others are talking. And some of us don’t even listen to our own words. For some, words have become noise. If you take the time though, you will be amazed at what you can hear underneath the words of the person speaking or even underneath your own words. Fear. Joy. Anger. Sadness. Frustration. Resentment. Concern. Hope. 1 Kings 3:23 reads, The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son, is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’ ” As the king spoke these words, I can only imagine the agony of trying to discern the truth. Two women stated the same words, but only one was speaking the truth. King Solomon was able to listen deeply.
2. Pause before making a decision. Now here lies the gift. Many people rush in making a decision that they will regret. What’s the rush? The rush is usually self-imposed. Usually, no one is making us rush to a decision.1 Kings 3:24-26 reads, Then the king said, “Bring me a sword,” So they brought a sword for the king. 25He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” 26The woman who son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” The king’s action was a powerful pause, before making his decision. What would a powerful pause look like in your situation?
3. Reflect on what you’ve learned from the pause. It is one thing to pause and it is quite another thing to take time for reflection. The discipline of pausing is priceless, but by reflecting we discover the gift of discernment. 1 Kings 3:27 reads, Then the king gave his ruling “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.” King Solomon was known for his wisdom for good reason. He made the right choice, when he asked God for wisdom.
When you are not sure about what to do, try these practices. Listen deeply. Pause before making a decision. Take the time to reflect on what you’ve learned as a result of your pause.
What’s one area where you are not sure about what to do? How could a different approach support you? What is your take-a-way from this message?