“ Euphoria. Do You Hear It.”
Having entered the local drive through the other day, I made my order. The coffee was strong and yet satisfying, as was the warmed up oat bar. I had made a choice, an habitual one nonetheless. We face similar personal choices everyday. Some choices are automatic, intentional, reflexive, unconscious, instinctual, random, habitual, and easy. For example, buying that coffee, giving a smile, extending a handshake, paying bills, daily chores and routines, various disciplines, work responsibilities. Others are more nuanced and perhaps even at times very difficult dependent upon our mood coupled with will. For example; exercise, pushing away from the table, responding kindly to a comment instead of rudely with a reaction, or overcoming a habit. Then there is the execution of the acts of the Spirit; love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self Control. These last 9 can be hard at times.
Robert Schuller, an American Pastor once coined a phrase, “If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me.” This attitude, choice, can make decision making and life either debilitating or liberating. Active will verses inertia can equal despair. When one understands the outcome of personal choice it can be a liberating thought. You could argue, difficult choices are difficult because they are difficult. This is a reminiscent reframe of John Locke’s basic argument against miracles, “miracles don’t happen because miracles don’t happen.” But and again “difficult choices are difficult, because they are difficult. “ They are not impossible or necessarily improbable. They are just tough. But an argument could be made that in the execution of a positive difficult even moral choice, a liberation of sorts is the response. You did the right, difficult almost impossible thing, and as a result you feel exhilarated. That right thing may have been worked out in a process but nevertheless. A PHD does not appear in the National Library of Canada, suddenly.
Choices that are very difficult often are preceded by a strategy. This is the nuance. I want to overcome a desperate seemingly impossible addiction, and I don’t think I can do it. I want to exercise, initiate specific coping mechanisms to distract myself from an emotional trauma. Choice. Difficult. Process oriented. Will vs inertia. A necessity of disciplined will. I love the story of the little engine that could. A little engine was given a task. Shunt a loaded train to the top of a mountain. The thought was at first daunting, and seemingly impossible. But once connected to the train, the little engine began his task. Soon he/she began to recite a mantra, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” And she/he did. How do you spell euphoria? Can you hear it?
The strategy being, one step at a time, or better still one roll of his/her little trucks a revolution at a time, the goal getting to the top of a mountain, having pulled a long train. No runner sets out on a goal with the “I can’t do this” attitude. No mountain climber even for a second allows for a doubt that they will reach the ascent. The goal one step at a time. But the goal is divided into short small stages.
Many years ago I climbed Mt Kenya, 18,000 feet. The people who did not succeed, did not have the will to succeed in the beginning. Built into their narrative was, “I’ll try, I hope so.” You know where that led. And too when climbing a mountain you have to be ferociously willful. “I will do this.” Then at the peak, euphoria. Can you hear it?
All this to say this. A difficult choice begins with a determined strategy. A strategy that when broken down into small pieces, that is doable. When you look at the end goal you might walk away. But when your goal is one step at a time, the possibility becomes a plausibility. Once a difficult goal is achieved the next one is better understood for what it is. A marker has been set. “I can do this because I did this before.” A Client comes in with a problem. Imagine the courage, the despair. A strategy is worked out. An outcome reached. Euphoria. Can you hear it?
Spiritual integration into a set goal, a choice, is the best additive that helps confirm the intended outcome. A choice conceived, is received and becomes a reality in its full when God is the driving force. And the choice that aligns with his purposes for us has real traction. But knowing how to spiritually battle emotional inertia is key. Paul seems to have a solution in Ephesians 3:(20-21); “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
So to add onto Schuller’s phrase. “If it’s gonna be, its up to me to accept and harness God’s power as a source for a desired outcome.”
Euphoria. Do you hear it?
St Paul’s Outreach Counsellor