This is week #5 in my memorable quotes series of blogs. I see quotes in books or articles, hear them in podcasts and sermons (even see some on bumper stickers) and they stick with me. But the one I highlight below I saw on a T-shirt while on vacation. I have seen the quote since in several different places and it has always stuck with me. The T-shirt in question simply had this saying on it.
“Bad choices make good stories.”
What probably grabbed my attention is that this quote is both funny and sad at the same time. When you are sitting around the table having dinner or having a late-night discussion around the fire pit, the funniest and most memorable stories usually come from a choice that someone made that simply did not go well or was ill advised. Looking back in hindsight we see the foolishness of the choice and we see the string of consequences that resulted, like a long line of dominoes. It is often like the plot to a sitcom episode and we can laugh at our own silly choices and the sometimes very funny and embarrassing circumstances that result.
However, for many people, the stories that result from bad choices might be interesting, but they are certainly not happy or uplifting. The choices they make lead to life situations that while they might be entertaining in some respects, are the kind of situations that they would love to never have gotten into in the first place.
In all likelihood, you can tell your own stories. Some that were bad choices that turned out OK but make for a funny story and others that were not so funny and led to regrets. Whenever I remember this quote, I also remember a quote from the Bible. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13 for those that are interested) It reminds me that no matter what choices I have made in the past, God can use them, redeem them and work through them for something good. God is so amazing that no matter how bad my choices may have been, God can use them in my life and truly turn them into something good. And that, my friends, is the best kind of story.
On this beautiful Monday after Easter, I was struck by the following quote which I am not sure where I got it and it was some years ago but has stuck with me.
"Most people don't plan to mess up their lives, but they don't plan not to."
I have always liked this. It speaks to living with intentionality. In the absence of any type of plan, our lives inevitably will fall apart. This is true at work, at home, with friends, decisions, and faith. No one ever sets out with a deliberate plan to put their lives in a bad place. No one wants to end up divorced, or in debt, or lonely, or addicted, or . . . The problem is that so many people end there because they did not have any plan in place to end up where they DID want to go.
I wonder how many of the struggles you and I face are simply because we allowed life to happen to us, instead of being the ones who dictate how we live and respond to life. I think there is a significant question that we can ask to help us with this, but you'll have to wait until next week for me to share that quote. For now, I encourage you to ask this question in any area of your life that you feel is messed up. "How did I get here and what decisions would I need to make if I wanted my life to take a different trajectory?"
For those that are tracking with me, I am sharing quotes that I have accumulated over the years that have resonated with me. My hope is that perhaps one of them will resonate with you. The quote that I want to highlight this week is one that I heard some years ago. It has shaped my life and continues to challenge me going forward. It is a quote I first heard while listening to a podcast from LifeChurch.
“If you want what everyone else has then do what everyone else does. If you want what few people have then do what few people do.” (Craig Groeschel)
I have met many people (and have had the thoughts myself) who wish their lives were different. They want to be thinner, have a better marriage, better family, better job, deeper faith, more friends, etc. Yet they continue to live their lives as they always have, doing what everyone around them does and wondering why what they wish they had seems so far away. They blame circumstances, other people or a whole host of other things when the real culprit is simply found in their repeated behaviors.
A good example of this in my life is food and weight. I would see people who were fit, energetic and slim. I wished that I was like that and wonder why nothing ever changed (while eating my fourth slice of pizza). I realized that if I wanted the level of fitness and kind of body that the majority of people do not have, then I have to eat more healthily and exercise more than what is promoted by the world around me.
This concept is true in marriage and relationships. It is true in vocation. It is true in regard to faith. Whoever wants that great marriage, the close relationship with God or better friendship, has to be willing to do what most people will never do. It takes discipline. It takes time. But as time goes on, you will find that you actually DO have that thing that few people have. It is rare and it is worth it.
Have a great Easter week!
Weldon Lemke has been leading Hope Chapel since 2009 with a passion to see people come to know God and grow to maturity in Him.