By Jennifer Davis Rash
It is always someone else’s fault, or so they say. And every year they collectively seem OK with patching things enough to survive for now and leaving the true crisis for someone else. At least it appears that way from the outside.
I have no doubt there are purists among our elected officials — the ones who truly want to make a difference, who want to build a brighter future.
But what happens once they get together and start hammering out the details of a policy or plan? Is it really as difficult as they make it seem to find a fair, honest and logical solution to the problems we face?
Take Alabama’s state General Fund budget for instance. Are we seriously OK with how our elected officials have managed the funds for our state for longer than I’ve been alive? Are we really going to sit by and do nothing about it?
I confess I often feel as though I can check my “get involved” box by writing this column and then put the pressure on you to do the rest. I too need to do more.
But I believe doing more isn’t about all of us gathering in our circles of likeminded thinkers, standing on our soapboxes and complaining to each other. It has to be more than that.
It has to be productive, educational, helpful and kind. It can’t contain one-sided, mean-spirited vocal lobs at the officials elected by us to manage our state government and, by default, numerous services we need in the state. It has to model the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23).
One thing is for certain — we will not all agree on how to manage the various parts and pieces nor will we agree on how to spend the money.
But do we have to demonize each other in the process?
We have the power to change the person in any office each time an election is held for that office. We should use that power more often but we also should help the ones who are trying to lead with integrity do just that. Can you imagine trying to please all the people in your household, much less a legislative district?
At the same time, is it too Pollyanna to hope for a group of elected officials who might actually all come to the table understanding the situation at hand, their constituents’ concerns and the need to be careful in their dealings? Is it too much to hope for a group of officials who are all working out of a spirit of honesty, fairness and true concern for all, not merely their own aspirations?
Granted a situation where every elected official is working for the good of the whole instead of the good of the one is probably too far beyond realistic.
But what about the ones who are? Are we doing everything in our power to keep them in office and protect them from the temptations that most certainly dangle before them daily?
Are we praying for them, encouraging them and staying informed on their decisions so we can serve as an accountability partner for them? Are we educating ourselves on the issues and being fair with our requests?
What if all of us did just one of these things? Would it make a difference?
Are we willing to fight for our no-compromise issues while being flexible on other issues to help find common ground? Or are we all sitting with arms crossed refusing to give an inch on even the lower priority issues, especially if it means working together?
And what about the two major political parties?
Have we lost so much soul among the top tiers of the parties — as well as the factions within each party — that the obsessive need for control, funding and seat counts justifies all the means, no matter what they are?
I fear it is in those moments — when calm, researched and fair conversations are tossed aside for political ramblings — that frustrations escalate and poor decisions like legalizing and/or expanding gambling are made.
Think about it, if you are tasked with solving a problem and everywhere you look people are yelling at you to side with them — some pressuring to the point of pain — you can’t win. You are about to make everyone mad, so why not take the money and run? Why worry about everyone else’s future, right?
I really hope this scenario doesn’t play out and that we really do have a strong enough force of representatives and senators to fight the temptation to grab the façade being dangled in their faces.
Bob Terry said in his editorial on page 2 that he believes our state legislators have the potential to step up and be the heroes of this upcoming special session.
I agree because there really are true leaders among them. There are men and women with strong convictions and family values still willing to lead appropriately for the greater good no matter the consequences — even if it means they lose their seat of power because of the backlash.
After all, don’t we all have to deal with decisions like that from time to time, where we are faced with sacrificing something we don’t want to give up in order to do the right thing or help the greater good? Wouldn’t it be easier to make those steps together rather than alone?
Rashional Extras – 4 ways to beat decision fatigue
Your Virtual Mentor
Excerpt taken from one of Michael Hyatt’s blog posts at www.michaelhyatt.com
Think about the consequences of our decisions, and it’s clear this is something we can’t afford to miss. Thankfully there are ways we can beat it before it beats us.
- Don’t think. It’s not the kind of decisions that drain us. It’s the number, whether it’s a decision about what to eat, where to go, when to leave, how to get there and so on. Any decisions we can routinize, automate or turn into habits can help us conserve energy and stay sharp.
- Get rest. It’s crucial to get the sleep we need each night and even helpful to nap during the work day. It’s also helpful to look at how we structure our days and weeks. When we get bogged down with tiny tasks early in the day, our productivity suffers. I try to lump what busy work I can’t eliminate or delegate into a couple of days each week so I can use the remainder for rest and focusing on big projects.
- Hit pause. Powering through the weariness is sometimes necessary, but do you really want to make calls that will affect your month or year when you’re depleted?
- Eat well and exercise. Our time may be fixed but our energy is not. Since decision fatigue is just another form of fatigue, we also can combat it by healthy eating and working out.
Exercise used to be the last thing I thought about. Now it’s one of the first. Not only does it recharge my body, it also allows my mind to shift out of decider mode. It frees me up to randomly sort out ideas, imagine and dream.
As high-achievers we’re prone to cram our schedules with a number of decisions guaranteed to wear us out. Add to that our tendency to think we’re responsible for making every decision and pretty soon we’re played out and don’t even realize it.
Christianity is not a list of rules and regulations. It is the key to a lifestyle centered on a relationship with the God of the universe. When one comes to Christ, he/she does not come to Christ clean but comes to be cleansed. It is the power of Christ that is the saving factor. He is the One who does the cleansing. We bring our tired, pitiful lives to Him and He gives us life eternal and abundant. We undeservingly get to experience the life we were created for in the first place.
When we come to Christ, He does not tell us what to do or how to live. He empowers us to live the life we were designed to live. God empowers us to be. He does not limit us. He gives us power. Are you walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and being the person God has empowered you to be?
Executive pastor, NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville
Managing partner, Life Bible Study and Iron Stream Media
Individuals on your team should have a common response to the questions below. If they don’t, your vision needs clarity.
- What are we doing?
- Why are we doing it?
- When are we successful?
- Where is God taking us?
Will Mancini (Auxano.com, VisionRoom.com) published in Facts & Trends Summer 2014 edition factsandtrends.net
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