18. Toward Better

Last week, I posted this picture on my Instagram (@_michaelwms) and said that there were two things about it that I wanted to talk about this week on this blog.

The first thing is the time, which will bleed into the second part of the picture. My brother-in-law, Luke, splits his time between the US (here in North Atlanta) and Argentina, South America, where his wife and her family live. I’ve noticed for awhile if I ever caught a glimpse of the clock on his phone or computer, that he uses military, or 24-hour, time, which is what they rely on in South America among other places. That’s about as far as that thought ever went. I’ve always thought it’d be cool to be good at telling time this way, but then this begs the question: it’s not really that hard, is it?

Well, yes and no. Luke and I, along with our family, were out for dinner last Friday night and I simply made a comment about the time because he was showing me something on his phone. He gave me a more detailed answer about the fact that everyone in Argentina uses this time format, so he began using it and pretty quickly got used to it and the rest is history.  Since that night, I have changed my iPhone, Apple Watch and all my other devices to run 24-hour time. I still have kitchen appliances and car clocks, etc, that have 12-hour times, but I am committed to learning this seemingly small skill and am looking for more things like that to learn as well!

The point to this story is that it got me thinking beyond the simpler aspect of using this time format and I came to a conclusion. This “discipline” (if you want to call it that) of being able to easily convert military time is a great example of something we can all do to as an exercise of creating an incremental skill in our own life. No, we don’t really use military time in the US for the most part, but the ability to do so can become a small part of a bigger quest to grow ourselves, right?

Think about it: there may not be an extra zero on your paycheck just because you can tell time this way, but what are other things that you can learn and master that has a more definitive “end” to the learning process that will add value in your life? Learning a new language could possibly be a never-ending pursuit, because it’s such a complex task. Gaining the ability to write with your non-writing hand could possibly have a sooner end, but still much more complex than military time. You get the idea! 🙂

The other part of this image is the podcast episode I was listening to by John Eldredge, author of the best-selling book “Wild At Heart.” Much of what I got out of this episode in his 4-part series called “Interpreting Your Life,” is that we habitually react to instances in our life that evoke deep emotion, and it’s that emotion that we accept as the end-all root of how a situation makes us feel. As a Christian, we have to take a step back and look at what lies beyond the emotion itself. Oftentimes the emotion stems from a far greater hurt inside of  our heart but we get so immersed in the emotion and sometimes dwell for a while in it, that once we calm down, we feel done with the situation and move on. We have not ever really taken the opportunity to take this emotion and the interpretation of it to God in order to seek what it is He is trying to teach us in that moment.

I believe the message of this podcast episode went way beyond what I just said, but I felt God grip me in that thought and my meditation time caused me to just run with His prodding into areas of my own life that I tend to let my emotions themselves overwhelm my thoughts and I forget to step back and seek what God is trying to reveal to me in that moment.

So, I want to end with a few questions for you and I would love to hear your answers in the comments below!

First, do you agree that learning something like 24-hour time, for example, is a good way to expand your horizons, regardless of whether it has any economic value?

Second, do you feel like you could glean more from a situation where your emotions are flared if you just took that step back and asked God (or yourself, a friend, etc), “what am I supposed to learn from my reaction?”

Lastly, what are you doing this month, as we begin our descent toward the end of 2017 and the start of a new year, that will take you to new heights in your journey?

Go toward better!

“If you go towards something, it will inevitably come toward you”

– Gary Szenderski, The Szen Zone

4 thoughts on “18. Toward Better

  1. Pingback: 19. Epiphany
  2. Pingback: 29. Meant To Be

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