“Let them be as chaff in the wind.” (35:5)
A person who has no strong ideas, beliefs, opinions, or goals avoids a great deal of conflict. It can be wonderfully stress-free just to be agreeable to whatever. If the breezes of public opinion change, you change. No intense thought needed, no great conflict generated. However, remember the rule of the kite! In order for the kite to stay aloft, it needs to resist the wind. In order for you to reach your full human potential, you need to set a goal and embrace a set of core beliefs that will guide your life. During the difficult moments, your core beliefs will lift keep you rising and moving forward.
“Horses are a false hope for deliverance.” (33:17)
In old Westerns, the hero swoops in and rescues the damsel in distress, throws her across a horse, and rides off into the sunset. The Psalmist, however, speaks of a symbolic horse as the possession of a warrior, representing wealth, power and mobility. In our terms, we might speak of a luxury automobile or the latest mobile phone, with which we can handily outrun and defeat our business competitors. Wealth and influence can be of tremendous benefit, but at the end of our life we ought to rather be remembered for our kindness and for the good things that we’ve done and not just for the possessions we leave behind.
“Happy is one whose transgression is forgiven.” (32:1)
It is a great feeling to hear the words “I forgive you” spoken with sincere conviction. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we respond by denying that we did anything wrong and making excuses, instead of putting on our big boy and big girl pants and accepting the consequences of our behavior. It takes a strong and mature person to take responsibility for mistakes by admitting what we did, apologizing to those we’ve hurt, and making restitution, if possible. We do so knowing that forgiveness is not automatic, that sometimes the injured party will take longer to heal than it took for us to realize the mistake.
“I am like a lost object.” (31:13)
I find myself challenged when I need to attend social functions without knowing many people. An introvert by nature, I want to find a corner and fade into it. However, I don’t let my instinct define and limit me. Instead, I find someone to talk to. Maybe it will lead to conversations with a second and a third person, maybe not. If I leave the event having had a good conversation with at least one person, I consider that a success. The key, when feeling lost, is to find strength in your emotional and spiritual center and not give in to weakness.
“You have lifted me up” (30:1)
We all need a hand now and then. I love the moment in a football game right after the defensive player has flattened the running back, when he offers him a hand up. I feel the same when a tennis player overrules the umpire and awards a point to her opponent, or when a runner stops running to help up another who has fallen. In business, competitors sometime refer customers to each other when they know the other company can fulfill a particular need better than they can. Competition is good when we play fairly by the rules and when it challenges each of us to become better.