One of the most painful stories of all time, for me, is found in the Old Testament. It's the story of Rehoboam; grandson of the great King David and son of the wise Solomon. His story is a short one. It's a sad one. It's a story with implications and lessons that could fill 10 blogs (maybe it will, I haven't decided yet.)
He isn't well known like his father or grandfather. David wrote Psalms, Solomon wrote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, but Rehoboam didn't write anything of note. David build armies, Solomon built the temple, and Rehoboam didn't build anything of note.
Like I said, it's a really sad story.
For the purposes of today's blog, we're going to simplify the story this way; When Rehoboam took over for his father as king, he had a decision to make. When it came time to make a decision, he went to two groups of people for counsel; his dad's advisors and his friends. He listened to his friends, and the kingdom ended up rebelling and removing themselves from his rule. The nation divided.
There are many obvious implications to this, and we'll definitely hit some at some point! But today, I'm stricken by something far less obvious.
We live in a world that wants to give trophies for simply trying. Social media is riddled with people telling us to, "try our best, because that's all we can really do!" So many people lace their apologies with, "I didn't INTEND to hurt you." Our culture today wants to give out points for intention! I've literally watched as people have said, "It's better to say something, even if it's wrong, than to say nothing at all!"
And honestly, I'm sure in some scenarios that is true. I'm sure there's good to be found in that way of thinking. But Rehoboam wasn't held accountable for his intent; he didn't get any points for what he was "trying" to do. He made a choice, and he had to live with the consequences. It was much more cut and dry, black and white, than my own personality likes to believe. As a 7 on the enneagram, I want to believe there's plenty of room in the world for the grey! But in this scenario, there isn't.
No one stood up for Rehoboam and his "intent." No one believed, "ah well, he was at least TRYING to do a good thing!" I believe Rehoboam was, in fact, trying to make the right choice. I don't think anyone runs around trying to make bad choices on purpose! Even if they do, it's because they believe those wrong actions will lead them to a good end. I subscribe to the belief that most people are actually trying to pursue good, even if it's only good for them. But they're pursuing good nonetheless.
But I also believe we don't get points for our intentions. It's far too easy to quote it, but I must; the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It's not popular, but if you don't like where you are right now, know that your choices got you there. That's not something to be offended over, in fact, it's relieving! If your past choices got you there then your present choices can get you out!
We will lay in the bed we make and reap what we sow, and both of those are fully dependent on what we CHOOSE to do.
So how do we make better choices?
1) Pursue a Mentor!
To know the way, ask someone who's on the way back! Great followers make great leaders, and we all need the wisdom of those who have gone before us. We all need to be a follower. New terrain is much less terrifying when you're with someone who's been there before!
I've written a whole blog about mentorship, which is linked below!
2) Ask Great Questions
I know there aren't any dumb/bad questions, but there are questions of a higher quality and questions of lower quality. We must learn to ask the right questions! In my last blog, I talked about how a particular question was broken and inaccurate. If you're not liking what you're seeing right now, maybe you're asking a lower-quality question!
For instance, I stopped blogging years ago because everyone has a blog these days. I didn't realize it, but I was subconsciously asking the question, "would anyone ever pay attention to mine?" But this is a question of lower quality because I can't really answer it correctly. "Ever" is too loose of a term to define accurately. Maybe they wouldn't pay attention for a year, but maybe they will in year 2? I don't know. Loose-ly defined terms make questions of lower quality. So we need clearly defined terms in order to ask really great questions!
So the question I now ask myself is this; Do I want to be a part of the solution for someone? The answer is yes. And so, I write!
Let's ask GREAT questions.
3) Read more!
The very act of reading slows us down, points us forward, and puts us in the seat of a student. I think 95% of the social media world would benefit from slowing down, pointing forward, and sitting in the seat of a student. It's healthy! People who say they aren't good at reading really are like those who say they aren't good at breathing. You can't exhale unless you first inhale! Reading is how you and I inhale and take in all the good stuff.
Here are a few great books to start; (besides Up Next..)
For simple growth: The 15 laws of Invaluable growth by John Maxwell
For those who are dating: Swipe Right by Levi Lusko
To grow in your relationship with God; Hearing God by Nathan Finochio!
OH, and Up Next by me! If you're into church leadership.
Good leaders are good readers!
These three things will help us all make better choices! It ain't a heart thing, it's a choice thing! Intentions don't make for good harvests, but choice do.