The sun was setting, as our sailboat glided silently over the calm waters of the Columbia Bar – a stretch of treacherous water that can challenge the most rugged sailor when the tides drastically change the waters trajectory.
We were on our way home after several glorious weeks of cruising in the San Juan Islands. It took almost an hour and a half to reach Astoria.
After quickly scanning our charts, we decided we could reach a tiny cove located in the upper part of the Columbia River. Cruising at 7 knots, we continued to make our way through the expanded mouth of the river where water spread out over a wide expanse of water giving the illusion of a huge sea of navigational water. Only those who had studied their charts knew that going outside the clearly marked channels could quickly end up running aground in the surrounding shallow water.
The time has come to have that meeting with myself. I sit down with a clean pad of paper, my “Have to do” list made earlier in the week and a determination to find both short and long term solutions to the overwhelming string of demands on my time.
As is my practice, I start my session with a prayer asking God for wisdom, clarity and strength to follow through. It is so easy to gloss over the things I may be doing that contribute to my problems.
The phone hasn’t stopped ringing – the kids are fighting again – the teacher called to schedule an emergency conference about your child’s schoolwork – your boss is uncompromising as the company instigates new policies, little time for training and additional workloads for everyone – you can’t afford to lose your job – nobody seems to care – and you are exhausted.
All you want is a quiet evening of peace and quiet, free from any more problems. And then the phone rings, and you cry, “Not another problem, Lord. I can’t take anymore.”
But this time the phone call is from your best friend, who patiently listens as you unload your frustrations. But when you hang up the phone, although some of the pressure has been lifted, you know it will begin again. You have asked God for strength, thanked Him for your special friend and the daily strength He gives you. But the problems are still there and you know you can’t continue like this.
A professor was giving a lecture to his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and held it up in the air. Then he asked the class, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?” The students’ answers ranged from 20gr to 500gr.
To which the professor replied, “Does it matter how absolute the weight is or does it matter how long you hold it before it becomes a heavy burden?
If I hold this glass of water for a minute, it won’t be too heavy. But if I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it all day, you may have to take me to ER. It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
It is so much fun to have something new: a new job, new clothes, new adventures, or a new vision for the rest of your life. But along with the excitement and anticipation also come doubts and fears.
What if what I am attempting to do fails? What if I haven’t prepared enough? What if. . . Anything new has its thrilling and daunting moments.
Here We Go
I am stepping out with a new website! Yes, it is still called Focus with Marlene. But it has a new face – a new heading – a new presentation.
“Let’s Talk” is my new format that replaces “The Counselor is In.” Old blogs are still stored with instant access. While I will continue to write and speak about life strategies, I want to expand on past topics and talk about new concerns.
I love the Christmas season: the smell of burning candles and pine boughs, Christmas cards that continue to connect me with old friends and music that fills all the tattered and worn places of the heart and spirit. I love the afterglow when family and friends have returned home after a special day of celebration.
It is Christmas Eve. Christmas cards that proclaim our desire for peace and hope are displayed on my mantle. Yet, as it has for centuries, the world remains in rebellion, revolts and war. Peace – Hope: are these things truly possible?
Each year, we are given the opportunity to pause and reflect on what Christmas means to us. For Christmas isn’t just about pretty bows, celestial music and lights that decorate trees and houses; it is about a gift given to us by God, a gift that involved sacrifice and love. Who can fathom such a God who loves us so much He would be willing to send His Son to die for us.
You have identified the problem, looked at it from different positions and expanded it to include all possible contributing factors. In the process, you have compared it to other problems you may have had and resolved; then proceeded to compile a list of possible solutions.
As you brainstormed and generated possibilities, fresh ideas were inserted into your list without preliminary judgment or comparisons. With inspiration exhausted, the time has now come to evaluate and prioritize.
Which are relevant and helpful to your situation?
Once we have accurately identified the problem, we can begin looking for solutions. Step two in problem solving allows us to tap into our creativity and think of choices to consider. Step 2: Generate a List of Possible Solutions This is not the place to limit your thinking. Make a list of anything that comes…