26 Nov 2013 by Adeliyn Lim-
Action or Inaction
You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say
Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)
Like raindrops falling onto the surface of the pond, creating a ripple, every thing we choose to do, (or not to do), influences the self and the people around.
Everything happens based upon our choice. We have far greater influence that what we think or perceive! There is nothing totally circumstantial in life.
A Strange Dream
As I was preparing for the sharing of the Word for my cell group meeting, I read an article, which says about how the successful are not successful because of who they were as individuals, but rather who were around them and influenced them to become the people they are today.
And that night, I had a strangely realistic, morbid dream. I dreamt that I was caught on a building at the top. It was crowded, and the building was going to crash. The crowd was screaming and wailing as the building collapsed on itself. As the dream goes on, I survived the crash and was left in the hospital with broken legs and ribs. Fast forward, and it was the memorial service of the crash. I found out that there was another survivor. When we saw each other, we embraced each other. Instead of saying, “I’m so glad you survived the crash too”, the question we asked each other was “What could we had done?” It felt very strongly that I knew this other survivor, and we both personally knew the person who caused the crash, and put all of us there.
When I woke up the next day, I felt as though there was a message was put inside me: That every action, or inaction, had a price. Our day-to-day actions are molders of individuals.
Realize: Your Role in This Thing called “Life”
Think about your day to day, what is it that you do?
How do you act at the workplace? Lunch hour? After work? Weekends? At church? Gym? Grocery shopping?
Are all the above are just part of your schedule week in week out?
That’s the irony of urban life. We live convenient lives (malls, fast food, gyms), which is supposed to make our lives simpler. Yet we find ourselves being overloaded. Instead of having more time and needing less effort to connect with people, we find ourselves having less time and find out that it takes more effort to connect to another person. We find ourselves rushing through to the next item, the next promotion, the next sale, the next this and the next that.
Did you realize the theme of urban life? Substitute the “we” in the above paragraph with “I”.
Let’s go back to the two stories related at the top.
How are we allowing others to influence and shape us?
How are we influencing and shaping others?
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV)
“Point your kids in the right direction— when they're old they won't be lost.” (The Message)
This is a verse that we always related to parenting. However I see it in a different light. Let’s say everything we do has a causal effect on others. Using the “butterfly metaphor” derived from chaos theory – a depiction made by Edward Lorenz on how sensitive the atmosphere to small disturbances, that the flapping of a butterfly in Brazil might cause a chain of events leading to a tornado in Texas – what we choose to do (or not to do), ultimately influences those around us, especially those who we can influence everyday. When partnered with their individual unique experiences, that influence is combined, and then changes into a quality, which can be molded into the person’s character. And the cycle goes on and on…ultimately leading to the shaping of our current society.
The Power of Choice and Influence
Basing of the premise that one’s actions, whatever it may be, will ultimately result in something that is beyond one’s control, therefore one must be responsible for all action (including inaction). Thus, we need be mindful about everything that we do. We may never know what the final outcome for everything that we do, but we can control our everyday interactions: our direct influences.
Besides that, our actions will influence our own value system, which in turn influences our self. In his book, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” Clayton Christensen made this observation, “100 Percent of the Time is Easier than 98 Percent of the Time”.
The idea behind this is very simple: when you convince yourself to break away from a personal value “just this once” for small choices, the small choices will be slightly bigger, and bigger, until one day you find yourself being very far from what you aspired to be.
However, if you always stuck to what you wanted as a personal value, the first step down hill was never taken.
Mindfulness is about taking into account every single thought, deed, experience, and immersing the self into all that.
What do our actions do? Does it give assurance or did it discourage? Does it help another to become more loving or did it incite resentment and anger?”
How, and what, does our everyday coming in's and going out's influence?
Let’s ponder on these two verses, a video and a movie review:
Love others as well as you love yourself (The Message)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath (NKJV)
The reach of a simple thoughtful or thoughtless deed is indeed beyond our prediction, and most definitely beyond our control. This is because every person carries a unique personality make-up, that carries it’s own set of traits and tendencies, coupled with unique social environments and other variables.
What we can control is what we choose to do. Like it or not, in whatever we do, our actions influence by nurturing or diminishing inner traits and tendencies of a person. Bear in mind that building up a person does not necessarily mean that it can only refer to good things. Through our actions saddled with the unique backgrounds, we as a whole, may be build up the next Marisa Mayer, or Mona Fandey.
The power of choice, and ultimately, influence, clearly lies in each one of us.
The question is how would you want to do it differently from now on?
Christ shows us the way.
 Lorenz, E. (1963). Deterministic Periodic Flow” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 20, 130-141.
Adeliyn Lim has oscillated between Kuantan, Penang and KL, currently working as a human resources specialist in a telecommunications company. She admits that the walk with God is at times like a walk on the beach in sunny weather and at times like stumbling on cobbled alleys on dark, stormy days. Her philosophy in life is, “Life is a bed of roses. Thorns included.”
References for pictures