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How to Have a Happy New Year, All Year

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his wife, who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since she was getting close to her birthday he asked what she’d like to have. “I’d like to be eight again”, she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her birthday, he woke up early, made her a big bowl of Coco Pops, and then took her to Adventure World theme park. What a day they had! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Roller Coaster and every other crazy ride in the park. Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park.

Her head was reeling and her stomach was unsettled. Then he took her to a McDonald’s where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M’s. What a fabulous adventure!

Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, “Well dear, what was it like being eight again?”

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression changed. “I meant my dress size!” The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is ‘gonna’ get it wrong. And all the wives say, “Amen!” While I’m sure this man has done many things right in their marriage, it is interesting how this can ‘feel’ to the wife like he does everything wrong. Notice that word ‘feel.’ While the man does some things right, it ‘feels’ like he does everything wrong. Why? Because of a miss-communication. I have a one-liner on this that I made up (imagine that). “There are three ladies you don’t want to date: Miss Communication…Miss Understanding…Miss Trust. That’s a Miss-Take!”

How we say things to each other can build up or tear down quicker than the speed of light. Sometimes the words we say are intentional. But many times words are said in a way that the ‘responder’ misinterprets what the sender is saying. Such was the case with the story above.

The wife knew what she was saying. The husband, wanting to be helpful, didn’t. If her assumption was ‘my husband should know what I meant,’ the miscommunication could turn into a misunderstanding. This experience, along with many other experiences of misunderstanding, could eventually turn into mistrust. That would be a mistake and perhaps detrimental to their marriage.

The triangle, embedded in this article, shows how humans make decisions. Everyone has experiences, both good and not so good. Our beliefs interpret the experiences we have. Then we make decisions based on our beliefs. Harvest is the outcome of decisions we made by interpreting an experience based on our beliefs.

In the case above, the wife had an experience going to the adventure park. Her beliefs determine how she interprets the event. If she believes her husband never listens, he should know what she meant and did this horrible thing to bother her, she will make an emotional decision on the event. That decision will determine both his and her harvest, which will probably be reinforced in another similar incident a few days later.

On the other hand, if she interprets the park experience through another belief system, her harvest could be completely different. If her belief system is one that includes forgiveness, a bit of understanding, an awareness of two-way communication (remember, he is a man with a left sided brain…speak his language too), and what he did was with a great heart, she could make an intelligent decision. Emotions wouldn’t ruin something they would laugh about on her next birthday. That’s a much better harvest.

Remember this triangle the next time you have a challenging experience. Beliefs are the key. That is why God gave us the Bible. A biblical worldview gives us the belief system to interpret both good and bad experiences we go through. The harvest is a Happy New Year, all year.

church-community-connection-02Church-Community Connection is published weekly in newspapers and blogs all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 600 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing inaccurate mental perceptions that the community has of God, church, and Christianity. If you know of a local newspaper that you think would like these articles, please have them contact Ed Delph at our website. The articles are free of charge and Ed’s way of giving back to the community.

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