Today I am writing as a result of what I like to affectionately call a “Divine Accident.” Translated, this refers to an instance where I do something without accessing all my brain connectors and end up landing on a truth or lesson that I would have missed otherwise. God knows who He’s dealing with. My sister and I further describe this common family trait by saying there’s no “ZZZT” between the two sides of our brain.
So, I was reading a great entry in a book this morning, and it gave me a scripture to look up. I was supposed to be looking up Psalm 16:17. This is what it said: “I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” Well. That is certainly blunt. It actually made me laugh. Then I realized that I was reading the wrong verse. I was supposed to be looking up Psalm 18:17… I’m not blaming God for my spacey-ness, but I still believe that He wanted me to read that particular verse. If you have ever met me in person, you may or may not have noticed that I often operate in the “extremes” world. My husband affectionately points out quite frequently that I am either freezing or burning up, starving or so full I might never eat again, completely overwhelmed with activity or bored to death—you get the picture. So when I read a verse that says “I will not die but live”, I smirk, because I know it’s for me to hear in my own “extremes” language.
I am reminded of a slogan from Recovery that says, “Live and Let Live.” Most of the time I focus on the “let live” part of that phrase. But when I read a scripture like the one above (I will not die but LIVE) I am struck by how poorly I have been doing this recently. OK—and even not so recently.
It’s so easy to get caught up in how other people are behaving or misbehaving or just plain not acting like I want them to, resulting in a life not fully lived. The reality is that no one will ever live exactly how I wish they would so that I can feel better about my own life.
Sometimes people are just not doing it the way we think they should, but there are also many times that people around me do things that are truly harmful or hurtful and give me some pretty good reasons that I should be distressed about my life. But here’s the harsh truth of it according to Henry Ward Beecher: “God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it. The only choice is HOW.”
I have no choice as to how others choose to live. But I do have a choice, and a responsibility, and the privilege of really living my life the way God would have me live it. It’s ok to have joy when those around you are angry. It’s ok to smile and be kind to others, even when the circumstances of your life feel precarious and you are afraid for the future.
Not only is it ok, it’s the exact remedy for LIVING even when you feel the strongest temptation to postpone the abundant life God offers. Other people?…they may or may not get better, happier or free-ER. Many of us (ok—by us, I mean me) have been “distracted or consumed by the problems of others, and have neglected our own bodies, minds, and spirits.” But “Live and Let Live”, that simple phrase that is easy enough to remember throughout my day, reminds me that “making a life for ourselves, regardless of what others are doing or not doing, must be a top priority. We have a right to really LIVE, and indeed it is our responsibility to do so.” How Al Anon Works
I WILL NOT DIE BUT LIVE. PSALM 18:17