Cause and Effect

16 May

While teaching Second Grade for two years I had the privilege of attempting to help a group of 7 and 8 years old understand the literary (and life) concept of cause and effect.

It usually went a little something like this…

Ok class, we wil be looking for cause and effect in this story.  Remember the cause makes the effect happen.  If the cause does not happen, then the effect does not happen.

For example, Johnny was late to school this morning BECAUSE he could not find his shoes. What caused Johnny to be late? He could not find his shoes.  If Johnny had found his shoes right away, would he have been late? No. 

Sally fell on the playground, BECAUSE Raul pushed her. What caused Sally to fall? Raul, so Raul pushing Sally would be the cause.

Of course that would go on for a while, and would be rediscussed umpteen times through out the school year.

One of the best parts of teaching was seeing the “lightbulb” come on.  There would be a moment where a student went from confusion to enlightenment and often you could see it all over their face.  Sometimes, a student would audibly, “Ohh!” or “I get it now!”  Those moments were very rewarding.

Then there were moments where I had explained the concept in every way I could, had another student explain it, etc. and yet, no lightbulb.  We are talking pitch dark… hand in front of the face and still not getting it dark. Sometimes they just were not ready for the concept.  Then a month later they may get it, or a week later, or maybe a year later.

I get frustrated with our society at times because we often ignore our responsibility in the cause-and-effect relationships of life. Maybe it is just easier to see than ever, as we have over-access to the details of millions of people’s lives through social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook.

We can see other people live their lives, with hourly or daily (or even more often for some people) updates.  We see change for good and bad. I am sure most of use have had that conversation that goes something like this: “Did you see what _______ posted on ________? I am kind of worried about him./It looks like things are going much better.”

I do think that our society struggles with a lack of boundaries in regards to social media.  People post things that shock me all of the time for lack of propriety, wisdom, and just plain common sense.  (Anyone else feel like common sense is not so common any more?)

I am not discounting the fact that a vast majority of life is beyond our control. (So much more than we are willing to even acknowledge.) Tragedy strikes at times. Beautiful surprises may occur. But, we do have control over our actions and our words.

I have talked about self-control in the past, and that realizing that the Lord is not asking me to be self-sufficient in this area has made changing my eating patterns and activity level much easier than me trying to do it alone. There is no where in the Bible that we are admonished to take upon ourselves the burden of living a self-sufficient life.  In fact, we are actually admonished to do quite the opposite, realizing our desperate need for a God who can do all things.

In our society that loves to pass responsibility to the next person (or to the government), we have a clear disregard for the concept of cause-and-effect.

If I do not work, I do not have money to pay my bills. (I am not saying that there will never be times of financial hardship, even when you are working your tail off.  I am talking about blatant slothfulness.)

If I have sex outside of marriage, I may get an STD, ruin my marriage with adultery, or get pregnant.

If I stay up until midnight, I may not be on time for school, work, be able to get up for a work out, or have time to read the Word in the morning.

If I choose to spend my money on “extras” in life, I may not have the money to save for my future or my children’s future.

If I do not do my house work on Saturday, I may feel like I can not attend service and spend time with my family on Sunday.

I could go on ALL day.

The reality is that we justify and make excuses for ourselves when we have done what we wanted to do, instead of doing what we should do. We act as though all things in the world are acting against us (yes, it may feel that way at times even if you are a responsible person).

BUT, there are things we can cause to happen and reap the benefit of the effects.

When I choose to say “No” to over-planning myself, I find that I do have time to spend with the Lord.

When I choose to use that gym membership that I have been paying for monthly for a year but have not seen since I toured the gym, I reap the benefit of increased energy and a strengthened body.

When I add less salt to my food, I feel less bloated (I hate that word).

When I pack my lunch for work, I save money and eat more healthy.

Again, I could go on all day.

My goal is not to push down on the load that you may already have on your shoulders.  Especially to you moms who bear the weight of not only choices for yourself, but for you entire family.  I can only imagine the heaviness you may feel.

May I admonish you to do the following:

1. Prayerfully consider which parts of life you DO and DO NOT have influence over.  (Once again, it is shocking how little I can control.)

2. Then take BOTH to the Lord. Assert your trust in Him (a thousand times a day if needed). Acknowledge to Him that you can not live life without Him, that you NEED Him. (I mean, you can try, but it will be a very difficult life.) Then let Him help you sort through that mess your life and identify what may need to change or be deleted.

3. Teach your children to do the same. Help them learn to take responsibility for their actions, but to also know when things are beyond their control. Let’s raise up a generation of people that are responsible, that realize their potential influence, and are willing to take up their cross as a result and follow Jesus.

This act of casting our cares of the Lord does not increase our burden, it releases our burden. In return we receive peace, knowing that we are not doing this alone (Psalm 55:22).  When we stop trying to control the uncontrollable aspects of life, we can begin to cause things in our life to happen that bring about desired effects in our family life, spiritual growth, physical health, and emotional well-being.

May I always be able to say,

I have peace in my heart and mind, BECAUSE I choose to trust in Christ for all things. (Proverbs 3:5)

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2 Responses to “Cause and Effect”

  1. Jen May 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Great post! So easy to forget that our actions have an effect. Especially “in the moment”. Mindfulness would save us a world of trouble! Thankfully, we serve a forgiving God!

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