Friday, January 6, 2017

Ready to Grow a Little?

"The trouble with resisting temptation," says one woman, "is that it may never come again." Hmmm....

Mark Twain noted that “there are several good precautions against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.” And poet W. B. Yeats said this about those ever-present allurements: "My temptation is quiet." It’s true. They so often sneak up on us unawares.

Oscar Wilde quipped, "I can resist everything except temptation." Isn't that the way it is for most of us? 

Many folks pray, "Lead us not unto temptation." But the problem is ... we honestly don't need leading -- we can find the way there ourselves. And even enjoy the journey. 

It is not always possible to avoid that which is not in our best interest. We're enticed to spend money we don't have. We're lured to ingest something that we will later regret. We're pulled toward people who may not be good for us, and tempted to get back at those who've used or hurt us. Seductions of various kinds bait us at every opportunity.

One pet store owner learned a hard lesson about temptation. He bought a one-foot, three-pound grouper to add to his large saltwater aquarium. He knew that groupers tend to eat smaller fish, but he thought he could control what the fish ate by hand feeding it. In time, however, he noticed that the expensive, exotic fish in his tank had grown sparse.

After 18 months, he was out $5,000 worth of tropical fish. But he now had a three-and-a-half foot long, 35 pound grouper. And who can blame the culprit? Lots of us can’t resist fresh sea food!

But you and I aren't fish. We CAN do something about those temptations that assault us daily. And it’s not just about temptation. 

Maybe you want to change an attitude (control your anger?) or behave differently (eat healthier food?). Well, you can actually do something. You can make the decision, just this time, to act in your best interest, rather than on impulse. You can decide to come from a better place -- for just this moment. 

And that is all that usually matters: making the decision just once today. Just this time. We can always change a behavior or attitude just once. And there’s something powerful in doing it every day… even if it’s just once.

The fact is, you and I build fruitful and productive lives one little decision at a time. Every time we decide to act intentionally, we grow a little. 

Are you ready to grow a little today?

-- Steve Goodier