Monday, June 26, 2017

Flying Solo



It seems that men have earned the bad reputation of being the gender who never asks for driving directions when lost, and throws away instructions for anything that needs building.

Apparently an actual study was conducted by researchers from the University of San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh to look into this age-old question.  Their research found that men are judged harshly when they ask for help which could account for the reason why they don’t request assistance or ask directions.   

I wonder if this is why men are all about GPS systems because the only person judging them is the voice coming out of the system saying "RECALCULATING.  RECALCULATING".  lol.

To me, a male or female, would be judged more harshly by messing something up because they DIDN'T ask for help when needed or had become so incredibly lost they were late or missed an important appointment or event.

Early on in my employment days, the first lesson I learned is that no question is a stupid question.  A new boss would stress the importance of asking rather than assuming and making a costly mistake.

I think this is a good lesson to heed in all aspects of life.

For the most part, people are responsible with their own lives and the lives of others, and won't, for instance, take or administer medication without first reading the dosing directions and possible interactions.  Or won't pick up a gun without first attending training to learn safe operating and handling protocols.  Without taking these responsible actions, the results could be deadly.

But yet, in other of life's scenarios, I think we all have a tendency to fly solo and want to figure things out on our own...  

Thankfully, I'm pretty good about not assuming an answer to a problem and then moving forward suffering unfortunate consequences, but I will, however, spend quite bit of time trying to figure out how to do something I'm not familiar with, which in the technology age means that I will research it on the internet and hope to find guidance there, and if I still can't figure it out, I will actually ask someone to help me.  I seem to gain quite a bit of satisfaction in having figured out how to do something for myself though.

But there needs to be balance...

Spending a lot of time researching how to do something, especially in a workplace setting, is wasting company dollars.  Where just asking someone to show you, would save time and money.

But then there are times when it is better to spend a little bit of time figuring a problem out which was the second lesson that I learned early on in employment -- there needs to be "self-motivation" with an effort to learn the job well and not continually ask a coworker how to do something, especially not over and over again.  I find that actually doing the task is the best teacher.

Flying solo...  choosing to live according to your own plans and devices, without aid from manuals or instructors -- the Dictionary of Karen ;-)  

The Israelites certainly chose to fly solo...

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
 who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh


    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
 For though his officials are at Zoan
    and his envoys reach Hanes,
 everyone comes to shame
    through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
    but shame and disgrace.”
Isaiah 30:1-5


Matthew Henry's commentary explains these verses as such...

Now observe here, I. How this sin of theirs is described, and what there was in it that was provoking to God. When they saw themselves in danger and distress, 1. They would not consult God. They would do things of their own heads, and not advise with God, though they had a ready and certain way of doing it by Urim or prophets. They were so confident of the prudence of their own measures that they thought it needless to consult the oracle; nay, they were not willing to put it to that issue: "They take counsel among themselves, and one from another; but they do not ask counsel, much less will they take counsel, of me. They cover with a covering’’ (they think to secure themselves with one shelter or other, which may serve to cover them from the violence of the storm), "but not of my Spirit’’ (not such as God by his Spirit, in the mouth of his prophets, directed them to), "and therefore it will prove too short a covering, and a refuge of lies.’’ 2. They could not confide in God. They did not think it enough to have God on their side, nor were they at all solicitous to make him their friend, but they strengthened themselves in the strength of Pharaoh; they thought him a powerful ally, and doubted not but to be able to cope with the Assyrian while they had him for them. The shadow of Egypt (and it was but a shadow) was the covering in which they wrapped themselves.II. What was the evil of this sin. 1. It bespoke them rebellious children; and a woe is here denounced against them under that character, v. 1. They were, in profession, God’s children; but, not trusting in him, they were justly stigmatized as rebellious; for, if we distrust God’s providence, we do in effect withdraw ourselves from our allegiance. 2. They added sin to sin. It was sin that brought them into distress; and then, instead of repenting, they trespassed yet more against the Lord, 2 Chr. 28:22 . And those that had abused God’s mercies to them, making them the fuel of their lusts, abused their afflictions too, making them an excuse for their distrust of God; and so they make bad worse, and add sin to sin; and those that do so, as they make their own chain heavy, so it is just with God to make their plagues wonderful. Now that which aggravated their sin was, (1.) That they took so much pains to secure the Egyptians for their allies: They walk to go down to Egypt, travel up and down to find an advantageous road thither; but they have not asked at my mouth, never considered whether God would allow and approve of it or no.

I don't know about you, but I could easily insert my name in verse 1 of Isaiah 30.

“Ah, stubborn KAREN,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine...

How often do I go through my day to day activities, not once seeking God's plan for them.   Or, when a difficult circumstance arises, I go from flying solo to seeking counsel from others outside of God's counsel.

This is not something I am consciously setting out to NOT do, but sadly, it is a bad habit that hit me square in the face when I read this account of the Israelites.  

Our day to day activities may seem inconsequential compared to the scene described here in Isaiah, but is it really??  

Each of our days will represent the sum total of our entire lives - lives that we are called to live walking in obedience to God's will every minute of every day.  

Unless we seek God every morning and in every situation, we are flying solo and walking in our own plans.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, 
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15


 When we walk in our own plans, we are in essence communicating a distrust of God and His will for our lives.  Our focus is on self and our own selfish desires.  We are blinded to the Godly desires He has already placed on our hearts and missing out on the blessings He is ready and waiting to bestow upon us.  For He knows what will bring us the greatest joy.  Yet we get in our own way...

Last week I was reading in Colossians and found such encouragement from the following verses - encouragement to help me break the habit of flying solo...

If then you have been raised with Christ, 
seek the things that are above, 
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  
Set your minds on things that are above, 
not on things that are on earth.  
For you have died, 
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3


I have purposed to seek Jesus right as I awaken, to ask Him to guard my heart against temptation and for strength to walk in His will throughout the day. I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me in all obedience, and I thank Him ahead of time for the blessings that will surely come from His hand as I trust His will for my day.

Throughout the day, I then set my mind on the things that are above, and walk with a Heavenly mindset.

In so doing, I am finding I have a better attitude throughout the day which yields better responses, even in the difficult situations.

I don't have this down by any stretch.  I still fail, but it is a start to developing a habit of listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings throughout the day.

In fact, I was awe struck when I woke up one morning, still groggy from sleep and the above verse from Colossians popped right into my head!!  Such reaffirmation that when we ask the Lord to help us, ESPECIALLY in the area of obedience, He will!!

This brings me back to the two workplace lessons I learned which can be translated and applied to our Spiritual lives.

Lesson #1  "No question is a stupid question"

Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it? Otherwise, if he lays the foundation and is unable to finish the work, everyone who sees it will ridicule him…
Luke 14:28-29

Plans and decisions can come with a cost.  Some decisions are more costly than others.  To quote from  my husband's sermon yesterday, "many inmates are in prison because they made the wrong decision".

Instead, in all decisions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, seek the Lord and ask for His direction and guidance before moving forward.   Count the cost...


Lesson #2  "Learn the job well; do the task"

We have the greatest Manual ever written which the Lord Jesus opened up to us the moment we were saved.  Commit to knowing God's Word well, and walking in it.

But be doers of the word, 
and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22

I'm not sure why we tend to devise our own plans when we have our Great God and Father who has promised us...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, 
and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29:11-14

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...
Matthew 6:25-34

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Psalm 138:8a

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3


Let us no longer fly solo, but instead soar with Jesus on the wings of Eagles in the plans and strength of the Lord.


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14 comments:

  1. What a good point - when you set your mind on things above - in other words focus on Him, you are a lot less to fly solo. I love that passage in Colossians!

    Great post!

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    1. Jerralea, Thanks for sharing in the conversation!

      And thank you for your kind words.

      Blessings,

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  2. Can't do anything worthwhile w/o my Pilot. Thanks, karen!

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  3. I feel like I have too often flown solo with my blog, and experienced zero growth, perhaps as a result? I want to be better at giving my blog to the Lord.

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    1. Hi April, I think that can happen very easily. We become so focused with getting the next post done that we forget to pray and ask the Lord to lead. The Lord has a way of reigning me back in, when I come to the computer having know idea what I'm going to write about and solely must depend on the Lord to lead me and guide me and at the end of writing, I know without a shadow of a doubt, it was the Lord who was active in the writing of the post.

      May the Lord bless your blog as you walk in obedience with Him.

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  4. Dear Karen,
    Ah, yes, I hear HIM speaking my name in that same verse also, so stubborn I still am sometimes! Thank you for these great words and Scriptures that fix our eyes on Jesus, the only ONE who can truly help us to find that trust in the Lord. Blessings!

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    1. Hi Bettie, You are very welcome.

      I appreciate your visits so much! :-)

      Delete
  5. My mom said one of my first sentences was, "Donna do it!" It's so easy for that independent streak to show up in my life and my walk with God. At times, it makes me resent input from others. :-) Thank God and my husband for their patience with me!

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    1. Donna, Awe. Thank you for sharing that with me. I can certainly relate to your struggle as I tend to be a "take charge" kinda gal. lol

      Praising God for His patience and the patience of those in our lives. :-)

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  6. It seems that as I grew into an adult, and as I raised children, I was in charge. Decisions sometimes depended solely on me as the husband was on the road most of the week. Not blaming motherhood, but even as all my kids are way grown into adulthood themselves now, I still think I can do it on my own and am in charge. The husband gets upset because I don't ask for help. I will figure it out, usually, and then all of a sudden, I need his help and sometimes am backwards to ask as I've already turned down his help. My relation with God is sometimes the same, I charge forward and forget to listen to what I know God would not recommend or I forget to even consider what me as a Christian should do. I am learning though. I'm working on the Trust, and also working on asking for help prayerfully. Thanks for a great reminder post that we have a confidant, and the holy spirit was left to guide us.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    Replies
    1. Pea Bea, Thank you so much for sharing so transparently here. I appreciate it. And I can totally relate to what you are saying.

      You are very welcome!

      Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful post.

      Blessings,

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  7. This is an awesome post because it reminds us that our day to day decisions are not less important when compared to the Israelite's choice to go to Egypt for help without seeking God's help. Thank you for the reminder that in ALL our ways we should acknowledge Him so that He can direct our paths.

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    Replies
    1. Miriam, Thank you for your kind words.

      You are very welcome! :-)

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