Friday, April 30, 2010

What About Personal Responsibility, or Common Sense?

I read recently that officials in Santa Clara County, California voted to ban toys and other promotions that come with high-calorie children's meals. At first glance, that might seem to be a good decision, but I find myself concerned. 

It is impossible to legislate good sense, because there are simply too any poor choices available to each of us every day.  The problem goes way beyond the enticement of a series of toys offered with french fries and a greasy hamburger. Will the legislature impose sensible bedtime laws next? 

Fast food doesn't make my list of top choices for inexpensive, healthy food for my family.  But I will admit that upon occasion, we line up at the drive through window, and once in a while, I have even allowed my kids to select from the kids' menu.

Let's face it, even at home we can make bad dietary choices.  Doughnuts, toaster pastries, sugar-laden low fiber cereals for breakfast, white bread and processed meats for lunch, fried chicken for dinner.  Will outlawing Happy Meals ensure that kids in Santa Clara County get a meal of healthy whole grains and vegetables instead? 

How much freedom are we willing to relinquish in order to protect ourselves from poor choices?

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fragmented Focus
When I was younger, I remember that I could “multi-task” with the best of them.

I could happily tend to my first born son (a child who rarely slept!) while kneading bread, cooking dinner, and talking on the phone. I used to thrive under pressure- moving from one task to the next, and feeling that I could accomplish everything I needed to.

I’ve changed. I’m not sure why, but now, if I have three things to do, it seems that I bumble them all. I start one thing and leave it to begin another, but forget to come back. I leave a pot simmering on the stove only to find the contents scorched an hour later when I walk by the smoke-filled kitchen on my way to grab something I need for a job I’ve begun in another room.

I’m easily distracted. If no one in my family interrupts me, I am totally able to distract myself, leaving a barely started project to find a book or internet site on an unrelated topic that has suddenly pricked my interest.

I don’t know if this is a result of many years of frequent interruption, hormones, or simply the wormy fruit of my own lack of self-discipline, but I do know that this fragmented approach to life leads to a piling up of clutter in both my living space and my mind.

Jesus said, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

Only one thing!

Yesterday, I decided to keep that in mind. I started my day with Jesus. I talked to Him, and I listened. I worshiped. And I asked for help. Sometimes that’s all I need to do.

I had a good day yesterday. I started several tasks and saw them through to completion- or at least, finished the part that I wanted to for the day. It felt good.

So again, today, I take that time to be quiet. I ask for help, because I have a lot to do today. And I look to see how the Lord will help me cut through the clutter in my life so that I can focus on one thing at a time. Only one thing.