"Enough! Let's Move On!"

Our eldest son, Matt, is taking a course with policy wonks from near and far. He is engaged in a program of professional development for several weeks this fall under the tutelage of a notable east coast institution of learning. He is loving it! It has been over twenty years since he has taken any advanced studies. The whole experience is demanding in its instruction, reading and class assignments. There is both a collegiality and competitive spirit among his study group as they work together on policy issues from various levels of government, educational and civic concerns.

Don't Sweat God's Redirects!

Recently, one of his group members offered a bit of advice as they were establishing norms for how they will relate to one another during group time. She said that, in her experience, when a group discussion was holding up the work, they needed to complete during their limited time together, they invoked the acronym – E.L.M.O. As current group members looked at each other puzzled as to what this new acronym meant, she went on to explain that E.L.M.O. meant, “Enough! Let’s Move On!” and that it was helpful in redirecting the group and breaking any future gridlock in discussion. The entire study group burst into laughter and then unanimously decided to include E.L.M.O. as an option for this group, as well!

Some folks like to use a non-verbal approach to annoyance or conflict. When Monique has heard enough of me ranting about something, I will look across the room at her sitting with the iPad in her lap while half-way watching a television program. She will have her index finger in her right ear and that is a clue that she has shut down and is ready for me to get quiet or “move on!” Others like to use the diversion tactic of changing the conversation with an unexpected exclamation like: “How about those Cardinals?!” or “Can you believe this weather?!” There are several tried and true strategies for moving unpleasant or unproductive conversations in new directions! “Enough! Let’s Move On!” looks different at times!

How do you deal with the challenges of your life? Do you find that self-talk helps? How do you get that helpful redirect in your attitude when… your candidate did not win, your job didn’t turn out like you hoped, your teen or young adult family member won’t embrace your values, or that diagnosis you had not anticipated? I had a health care provider who recently offered me this bit of advice, “Well, it looks like you’re just going to have to deal with this!” It was the medical doctor’s way of moving on and trying to help me as a retired pastor to do the same!

Over the years, I have found great comfort in reading the “Roll Call of the Faithful” as recorded in Hebrews 11 of God’s Word. The stories of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David, Daniel, and many other unnamed faithful ones inspire me. They lived by faith and experienced God’s miraculous grace at challenging times. Facing torture, persecutions, horrible mistreatments and even death, the testimony of Scripture is that “They were too good for this world!” And “All these earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind!” (Hebrews 11:38-40).

Sometimes God’s redirects are because He has something better in mind for us. I have said by personal testimony that many times in my life God has told me “No!” to something I desired, prayed for, or thought was right for me. And then later, God gave me something better than I had dreamed about or longed for! It comforts me to hear God's promise, "I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you... to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11).

Let’s move on and trust that the God who “directs our steps” (Proverbs 16:9) is preparing something far better than we can imagine!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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