Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
February 27, 2011
ten principles by which I try to live my life
Moses gave us Ten Commandments that
he received from God. So far no one has improved those commandments. Break them
and you buy yourself a world of misery. Keep them and your life has meaning and
Not to diminish the value of the Ten
Commandments, there are other helpful rules for living we may consider. One day
I jotted down the guidelines by which I have tried to live my life. I cut the
list down to ten. In no way are they a substitute for the Ten Commandments. Ten just seemed like a good number. These guidelines
are simply the ten guiding principles of my life and they have served me well. I
have shared this list before but I have revised them in order to share them
While these are “my“principles, they
are not new, profound or original with me. In the course of my days I “found”
these rules and embraced them. As you
mull them over, you will likely say, “That is one of my guiding principles
also.” I have no monopoly on wisdom. I hope as you read them that you will find
your heart saying, “Yes, that is a rule by which I also try to live.” You may
indeed have embraced some of these wise principles long before I did. If one is
new to you I invite you to claim it for your own. Here are the ten:
life in chapters.
The rings in a tree tell the story of that tree. Each ring is a chapter of
sorts. In reading a book I often look ahead to find out the length of the
chapter I am reading. In life we all have times of transition, pain, and
change. We cannot always choose the circumstances of our lives, but we can
choose to put down a period and conclude some wrenching experience. We can put
an end to one thing and begin something new. We may have a chapter of
discouragement, but we can decide that it is over and begin a new chapter of
celebration. We can dismiss our guilt over failure and rejoice in a new
progress, not perfection, your goal.
Refuse to burden yourself with the demand for perfection in everything.
Instead, aim to make a little progress each day, and
be at peace about your imperfections. Living as a "perfectionist" is
not good for yourself, your family, or your friends. Perfectionism will not
only drive your friends away, it will drive you nuts. Just give it up and get
perfectionism off your back. You will immediately have a better life.
to celebrate "excellent" mistakes. You will make mistakes; we all do. But when you make one, especially
a big one, recognize it as being so excellent that you want to remember not to
make it again. To “celebrate it” means to inject a little humor into your guilt
so that you can laugh at yourself and invite others to laugh with you. Such
celebration helps you emerge as the victor instead of the victim.
eliminate "if only" from your vocabulary. When we indulge in the use of "if only," we are
simply dodging our responsibility for a problem. Decide never again to begin a
sentence with "if only." Substitute the word, "because."
Here’s an example: "Because I am in charge of my life, I will not resort
to whining or self-pity. I made a mistake but I will do better next time.” Enjoy
the precious gift of “next time”! Be merciful to yourself as well as others.
Mercy offers the gift of “next time.”
to blame other people for your problems.
How you react to what other people do and say is more important than what they
do and say. You cannot control what other people do; you can decide how you will
respond to their behavior. Accept the fact that sometimes you are your own
biggest problem, so give other people a break and work on yourself. You are
your own worst enemy. Accept that and life will get easier. But stop kicking
yourself; once is enough. Forgive yourself and move on.
the imperfections of other people.
This will help you not to blame them when things go wrong. Take for granted
what is obvious. Other people are like you and me; sometimes then will say
things that are insensitive and stupid. Do others the same favor you do for
yourself: accept the fact that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect
world. When others do not measure up to your expectations, remember this and
relax. It is perfectly alright to be wrong sometimes. You can probably remember
a time back in1962 when you were wrong about something!
no day without laughter.
Humor is so important that we must look for it constantly. If you are having a
really bad day, find something funny you can share with others to get a good
laugh. Here is a “good laugh” for today:
A grandmother was sick and in bed.
Her five-year-old grandson fixed her a cup of tea. It tasted awful but she
forced it down because she loved the boy. As she was sipping the last of the
cup, she asked her grandson how he had made the tea. He said, “I could not find
the strainer thing so I used the flyswatter.” Grandma gasped, “The flyswatter!”
Realizing that Grandma was exasperated, the boy said, “But I did not use the
new flyswatter, Grandma; I used the old one!” Laughter, as the Bible says, is
wonderful medicine for the soul. Don’t leave home without it!
and move on when people rain on your parade.
There is always somebody around who feels compelled to put a damper on anything
you say. Explain that you bought something at a bargain and someone will say
that you paid far too much for it. In this situation your best response is a
smile. Move on and forget it. Don’t let the jerk in the crowd spoil your fun --
or your attitude. Be proud of yourself for not saying something stupid. A smile
and silence are often a great response to the person who is trying to “get your
Nine, if you
are prone to fuss a lot, stop complaining. It is a choice you can make so do it. Think about this: nobody
ever wakes up in the morning and says, "I sure hope I run into somebody
today who is complaining." People
would rather not be around you if you are constantly fussing about everything.
So do yourself a big favor and stop fussing so much. You will enjoy life more
and you will be more fun to live with. Work hard to offer positive comments in
conversations with others.
Ten, when the
bottom falls out of your life, pray for spring. Remember that winter doesn’t last forever. Bad times,
winter times, come to us all. But things have a way of changing, like the
seasons of the year. When it is wintertime in your life, hang on, for spring
So there you have it -- ten
principles for living that help us squeeze more joy out of life. They are not
easy principles to live by; you could really call them “goals” for living. All
I know is that my life is better for having tried to stay focused on these
goals. Since the end of the road may be just around the bend, I plan to keep on
trying to live by these rules, as well as those Ten Commandments. + + +