Reconciling Correctly

balancingcheckbookI don’t like reconciling bank accounts. I don’t find it difficult, just tedious. I’d rather deal with words than numbers. Perhaps it’s because I can use my creativity. There’s not much creativity to matching pennies.

But reconciling needs to be done. And it needs to be done correctly. I recently encountered some discrepancies on an account at work. I had to talk to someone at the bank to get it straightened out. There’s a right way and a wrong way to reconcile.

I have to reconcile what I have with the bank. I don’t walk in and demand they correct their entries to match mine. (Yes, banks can make errors, too, but my guess is that people’s errors far outnumber bank errors.)

We have to reconcile with the bank, not the other way around.

It’s ridiculous for us to think that we are always right. Yet that’s what we do much of the time. I wonder which is more common: for people to reconcile their lives to God’s standards or project their own standards onto Him for their personal approval? Or perhaps ignore Him altogether? I know people who do that when reconciling with the bank. They believe what they think is in their account based on their own record keeping. Or they look at the bank balance and don’t consider what discrepancies might exist because of outstanding expenditures. Sometimes, we want to believe what we want to believe, and we don’t want anyone telling us we need to make adjustments.

But we need to make adjustments. Constantly. Each and every one of us. We need to check our balance. We need to acknowledge Someone might be more accurate and trustworthy than we are.

 

Good Qs. Solid As.

If you’re standing still, you can’t move on. The Southwest Airlines poster caught my eye as I strolled through the airport.

We stand still for several reasons. We feel paralyzed, unable to move by…perhaps fear or the unknown. We stand still because we’re indifferent. We’re not committed to standing up and putting one foot of the other. We stand still because we’re busy. It sounds odd, but even though we’re physically moving, we’re drifting in the busyness of life. We basically do the same thing every day. Time passes. We’re shocked to when we realize how many months or years (and opportunities) have passed. We circle in one area and become so accustomed to our surroundings that we don’t realize much outside of our small circle.

Familiarity and consistency isn’t bad. That small circle might be right where you’re supposed to be. Are you paying attention or going through the motions? Be intentional in the choices you’re making. If you’re busy, sit down. Breathe. Take a look around. Ask yourself, “Am I where I’m supposed to be?” If you’re already sitting, stand up. Take a step. Any step. Get a new perspective.  Ask yourself, “Am I where I’m supposed to be?”

It’s not easy to know for sure, but one way you’re certain not to know is not to ask.

Seek. Discern. Choose. Listen. Correct. Learn. Grow.

It’s a process.  Ask good questions. Seek solid answers.

A friend was recently lamenting about a relationship. It wasn’t my role to tell her what to do or even what I thought was best for her. Either choice could be painful. Either could help her grow. It wasn’t clear-cut. My role was to help her ask good questions so she could get unstuck. “What’s the reason you’d choose ______________? Are you trying to fix the past or move into the future? How strongly are you being influenced by others – positively or negatively? How will you deal with those same people’s responses if you go against their advice?”

Good questions. Solid answers.

Not making a decision is a decision. But without good questions, we’ll often struggle to make decisions in roundabout ways. We rationalize what we most want. We get confused.  We listen to too many people, often with conflicting advice. Or we ask people we know will support what we want to hear. We end up standing still – either because we’re too paralyzed to take the next step or we’re running so quickly in the direction we most want.

Solid answers take a different kind of movement. We need to pause long enough to seek. Stay attentive enough to discern. Have courage to choose. Be persistent enough to listen. Be humble enough to correct. Accept the challenge to learn. And celebrate the moments and process – big and small – of growth.

If you’re standing still, you can’t move on. Are you supposed to be standing still? Is it time to move on? Seek. Discern. Choose. Listen. Correct. Learn. Grow.

Good questions. Solid answers.

God’s ready for both. And when you seek God and discern, choose, listen, correct and learn within your relationship with God, you’ll grow. You’ll be moving on all the time – even when standing still in the quiet moments God will guide you into.

We can see now that you know all things. You can answer a person’s question even before it is asked. This makes us believe you came from God. John 16:30