What’s the wise thing to do? #AskIt
When I was in college, I (like many of my friends) read magazines, took diet pills, and skipped meals.
Not a huge deal in the scheme of bad habits.
But after several years of reading Cosmo and Self, taking diet pills, and trying to skip meals, I realized I wasn’t headed to a place where I wanted to be. A place where body obsession reigned and appearance felt like the only thing that mattered. When I read magazines by the pool, I felt terrible about myself for the rest of the day–if not the week. Diet pills and skipping meals both made me feel like a crazy person and would lead me to thoughts like “How has no one told me that I am this flaaaaabbbbyyyy and faaaaattt!?!?” Most women have thought this at one time or another. It can be a dark and fearful place to walk around like what you look like by the pool is all that matters.
I remember volunteering one day at a battered women’s shelter and all I could focus on was how many miles I needed to get in that day to ‘be ok’. I knew something needed to change because thinking about myself (often disdainfully) constantly isn’t how I envisioned my future.
So I stopped three habits — reading magazines, taking diet pills and skipping lunch — because I realized I couldn’t handle it. My friends seemed to not be adversely affected by magazines and skipping a meal here or there, but I certainly was. And I felt ridiculous for my sensitivity to self-hatred! However, I knew the past would keep repeating itself if I kept making the same decisions.
I stopped lying to myself and started making wise decisions.
This was over 9 years ago and I haven’t taken a diet pill or looked through a magazine or skipped many meals since. I can’t really handle reading Cosmopolitan without feeling like I’m not sexy enough, I can’t read Self without feeling like my body is inadequate.
So I don’t read magazines. Ever, really.
And you know what? That’s ok.
Andy Stanley is doing this great sermon series challenging each of us to ask one question that should become the filter for every invitation, decision, and opportunity:
In light of my past experience, current circumstances, future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?
What a question, right?!
Stanley very poignantly says, “No one plans to screw up their life. They just don’t plan not to.”
Everyone is different, which means we are all susceptible to different temptations. You may be able to read magazines just fine, but may not be able to enjoy a glass of wine without wanting to get drunk. Or you may be able to diet without become obsessed, but may need to delete your Pinterest account because it makes you feel inadequate.
We will continue to repeat our past mistakes if we don’t ask “what’s the wise thing to do?” before we make decisions. It’s not, “What is everyone else doing?” or “Is this a moral thing to do?” or “Can my best friend handle this?”.
It’s a matter of taking into account our past, present, and future hopes and dreams and making wise choices, awakened to the knowledge that we must be proactive in making sure we don’t screw up our lives.
What about you? Do you need to stop engaging in certain behaviors that you know aren’t wise? What’s a wise decision you need to make for your future?
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