Turn around — don’t drown: implications for learners and leaders

The simple event of “rain” caused so much terrible damage in our area this week. Roads we travel every day disappeared into massive craters of eroded soil and sand. The integrity of solidly built homes is now in question because water entered where it did not belong. And, so the appropriate public service announcement hit the airways once again: “turn around – don’t drown.” (See a PSA at:  https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=psa+turn+around+don%27t+drown&fr=yfp-t-900&hspart=att&hsimp=yhs-att_001&type=att_pc_homerun_portal)

It’s an important concept. A driver might assume that crossing a water-covered roadway is safe and learn quickly that it is not. This week, we saw where rushing water had pushed cars off the road; vehicles were overwhelmed in an unexpected torrent and occupants were unable to escape without help; and, unfortunately, some drowned as they were trapped in water that was just too deep.

Reminding people to “turn around – don’t drown” may save a life.

As I thought about the cute phrase, I was reminded of activities in my professional life that were wrong; they were not aligned with what I wanted to do or to be. Let me share an example that is “safe” to discuss. I was a procrastinator on certain types of projects. I hated doing them and my delays of action caused problems that I could have avoided easily. This bad habit harmed my career at times, but, the greater cost was in my daily life. Some nights sleep was impossible – I was afraid that I had put off the task “too long.” I wasted valuable time and energy avoiding the task or trying to finish the project at the very last minute.

And, then one night while working late, I had a thought. I decided to “owe no man.” In other words, I would do whatever task was in front of me and not have someone waiting an inappropriate amount of time before getting product from me. It changed my work life and it changed my personal life. Oh, I wasn’t successful at following my new goal every single time. But, my success rate improved. In the end, I made a huge change in my pattern of behavior.

I turned around and I didn’t drown.

Are you also on a path to drown? What habits, attitudes, behaviors, are you practicing that cause problems in your health, your sleep, your mind, your soul, your home, your place of work? Why don’t you decide right now to turn around and not drown?

OK, I shared my example; let me give you a better one. In Ezekiel 18, there is marvelous teaching about turning around.

The scripture asks: “What do you people mean by going around the country repeating the saying, ‘the parents ate green apples, and the children got the stomach ache?’” God wanted them to stop using this particular popular saying because it taught a lesson that was wrong.

The chapter goes on to state that if you are living a life that is right, you will be considered righteous; and, if you are living a life that is not right, you will not be considered to be righteous. If your parents are living bad lives, those lives have no impact on how God sees you. And, if you kids are living bad lives, those patterns have no impact on how you are evaluated. The choice to live a good life is up to us.

The chapter in Ezekiel goes on to explain that if we start down the right path and turn around and live a bad life, then the final assessment is that we are doing wrong. And, if we live bad lives and turn our lives around and start living righteously, we will be considered righteous.

Think about it. “Turn around, don’t drown.” It really is up to us.

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