Tag Archives: Shadow of the Almighty

5 Friday Faves – Mental Errors in Decision-making, Country Forever, Peggy Noonan, Love Letters, and Boomers

Another week; another weekend. Flew by. Here are my Friday Faves on a Sunday. Go.

1) Mental Errors and Decision-making – I really like the writer/speaker James Clear. He is the author of the best-seller Atomic Habits. He writes authoritatively about habits and decision-making, both topics that I find fascinating and life- and work-enriching. He also cares about the problem of malaria and its impact on the most vulnerable. [He donates a percentage of his book sales, etc. to the Against Malaria Foundation.] How is it that we haven’t come up with a cure for malaria?!Photo Credit: James Clear

This week, I discovered his article 5 Common Mental Errors That Sway Your Decision Making. Errors in our thinking can negatively affect our decision making, and we won’t necessarily see it happening. Clear’s 5 are listed below but click on the link for his fascinating and informative commentary on each:

  1. Survivor Bias – we point to those who are successful and forget that there are many more who tried doing the same thing without success.
  2. Loss Aversion – we err on the side of conservative when we hold onto what we already have rather than risking the gain of something even better.
  3. The Availability Heuristic – James Clear’s definition: We overvalue and overestimate the impact of things that we can remember and we undervalue and underestimate the prevalence of the events we hear nothing about. [Global violence/global peace. Examples in your life?]
  4. Anchoring – The tendency of “anchoring” your mind on the first information you obtain, and then jumping on the next bits of information as improved from the first (ex. regular price and then sale price).
  5. Confirmation Bias – We are more included to look for information that supports our beliefs rather than consider what goes against our beliefs.

Read Clear’s book, subscribe to his weekly newsletter, and follow James Clear on Twitter. He will help you become an excellent decision-maker.

The Decision Making Guide: How to Make Smart Decisions and Avoid Making Bad Ones – James Clear

YouTube Video – Atomic Habits: How to Get 1% Better Every Day – James Clear

2) Country Forever – If you don’t like country music, this might not be your thing. Still the production of this medley of country songs made me smile. Just to think back on all these great songs. Marking the seasons of life sweetened by this music. Click on the link and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So glad to have these memories.

3) Peggy Noonan – I’m so thankful we were invited by friends to share in a subscription to The Richmond Forum. This past week, we sat enthralled listening to the latest speaker, writer Peggy Noonan. Her take on the last six presidents of the United States and what they could have learned from their predecessors was brilliant. Insightful, and both funny and sobering. I took notes in the dark as she spoke.

Peggy Noonan was speech writer to President Reagan, and she continues to use her words to help our nation understand where we are and how we might think on our situation. She is courageous, fair, hopeful. I’m still processing her talk on our Presidents, but she was one of this week’s Faves for me. Below are some of my favorite quotes of hers from other places and times:

We must try again to be alive to what the people of our country really long for in our national life: forgiveness and grace, maturity and wisdom.

You don’t have to be old in America to say of a world you lived in: That world is gone.

You don’t tell people who disagree with you they’d be better off somewhere else. And you don’t reduce them to stereotypes; you address them as fully formed people worthy of respect. You try to persuade them.

I love eulogies. They are the most moving kind of speech because they attempt to pluck meaning from the fog, and on short order, when the emotions are still ragged and raw and susceptible to leaps.

Presidents have a right to certain prerogatives, including the expectation of a certain deference. He’s the president; this is history. But we seem to have come a long way since Ronald Reagan was regularly barked at by Sam Donaldson, almost literally, and the president shrugged it off.

Democracy involves that old-fashioned thing called working it out.

I ought to pray as much as God’s on my mind, because then I’d pray a lot. All I can tell you is God is real, and so that infuses everything.

[All the above Peggy Noonan quotes are taken from Brainy Quote, except the first was on The Richmond Forum page.]

4) Love Letters – Dave and I discovered we were in love at the first part of summer in 1983. We parted company for that summer as I returned to Georgia and he stayed in Connecticut. He wrote me every day…every single day…until I returned again. I’m pretty sure it ruined him for letter writing from then on.

An early and powerful influence in my life was the writing of Jim Elliot. The quote below had a strong impact in my 20-something life.Photo Credit: Brainy Quote, Jim Elliot

Years ago, I read a collection of his journal published by his wife:

Shadow of the Almighty: the Life and Testament of Jim Elliot – Elisabeth Elliot

Now their one daughter, Valerie Elliot Shepard, just 10 months old when her father was killed, has published a collection of love letters.

Devotedly, the Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot

The love letters between Jim and Elisabeth Elliot.

I’ve just started reading the book, and it is one of the most intimate experiences I’ve had in reading. Elisabeth Elliot, through the years, also became a distant mentor to me. Her writing and teaching. I would never meet her or hear her speak in person, but it didn’t matter. She, like her late husband, Jim, taught me much about fiercely and resolutely loving God with all one’s heart.

The letters span their friendship, lengthy courtship, and engagement. They wrestled with their love for each other, because both loved God first…supremely. They finally found a way to walk together with God, and their letters are so beautiful, so full of love for Him and for each other.

[Video preview]

5) Boomers – I still watch the TV show This Is Us. It is so emotional and full of flash-backs and flash-forwards that Dave stopped watching it with me. Season 4/Episode 15 “Clouds” was the one I watched this week. In the episode, the expression “OK Boomer” was used by son, Kevin, when he watched his mom, Rebecca, at a record store, reminisce over the Joni Mitchell song “Our House” (actually written by Graham Nash). Mom Rebekah said, “I miss the crackle on the record right before the music starts.”

I knew exactly what she was talking about…that sound. “OK Boomer!” Anyway, that scene (not on YouTube or I would share it) did take me back…to my own younger Boomer days when singer/songwriters Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young made up some of the  soundtracks of our lives.

Photo Credit: Neil Young News

Graham Nash “Our House” – Lydia Hutchinson

OK Boomers, any memories of your own you’d be willing to share in Comments below?

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That’s it for this week. Hope you are well and able to have a bit more rest before the weekend closes down. Monday awaits.

Bonuses:

‘When I have to search a student’s cell phone, I’m sick to my stomach at what I find. It gets worse every year.’: Assistant principal’s plea for parents to monitor cell phone use, ‘The internet is the most dangerous place behind closed doors’

Just How Contagious is COVID-19? This Chart Puts It in Perspective – Matthew R. Francis

Death Index: Top 59 Ways Americans Die – some surprises and some not.

On the Passing of Elisabeth Elliot – Love is a Laid Down Life

Blog - Elisabeth Elliot - Love is a Laid Down LifeLord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever, fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit, use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt and work out Thy will in my life at any cost now and forever.”* – Betty Howard’s prayer which her daughter Elisabeth took as her own at the age of 12

To the right of my desk is a bookcase filled with some of my favorite books. These authors inspire me to live a very different life. Among them are Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, Tom Elliff, Bertha Smith, Patricia St. John, and Elisabeth Elliot.Blog - Elisabeth Elliot - 2

Elisabeth Elliot has died. Rather, she has gloriously entered into the very presence of the God whom she loved and served faithfully all her life. I am so thankful to have lived in the generation of her writing. For over a decade she has quietly lived in the shadow of Alzheimer’s, yet her writing and speaking have continued to leave their mark on generations who desire to know God as she knew Him.

I was five years old when Jim Elliot was killed along the Curaray River, in Ecuador. He left a young widow, Elisabeth Elliot, and a tiny daughter named Valerie. Elisabeth began writing to preserve Jim’s diaries and his memory for Valerie to know her dad as she grew up. Fortunately for all the rest of us, Elisabeth kept writing.

Sometime in my early teens, I first became aware of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. She published his journals in 1958 and I still have a copy of that first printing – Shadow of the Almighty – The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. I devoured Jim’s writing of his complete devotion for God and his passion for others to know Him. Elisabeth’s own burning love for God drew Jim’s heart to hers.  Their marriage would be brief, but what Elisabeth learned of God in that time set a course for her to touch lives beyond her imagining.

Elisabeth Elliot was a no-nonsense kind of woman. She was consummately honest and frank in dealing with God and the culture of our day. These days, there seems to be little tolerance for spiritualizing or moralizing. I wonder if those who pick up her books today, in the stir of publicity at her passing, will be refreshed or shocked at her writing. She wastes no words, cutting through to what it truly is to be a follower of Christ…not of someone we made up…but the One who laid down His life for us all…that One.

Her bluntness, her disciplines, and her love of God have many times, over the years, shaken me out of dullness and loss of resolve…for which I will always be thankful.

I’ve been encouraged by all the young men and women who have commented about Elisabeth Elliot on social media since she died. To put her on some sort of pedestal would be wrong; to say her life pointed us to God and to a life only possible walking with Him, would be more accurate and right.

If you don’t know Elisabeth Elliot’s writing/speaking, begin here with the quotes below. Don’t stop with them, though. The links will help you on a journey you will never regret.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot, missionary to Auca indians in Ecuador”
Elisabeth Elliot, The Journals of Jim Elliot

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

“Stand true to your calling to be a man. Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men”
Elisabeth Elliot, The Mark of a Man

“The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived – not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Secure in the Everlasting Arms

“Think of the self that God has given as an acorn. It is a marvelous little thing, a perfect shape, perfectly designed for its purpose, perfectly functional. Think of the grand glory of an oak tree. God’s intention when He made the acorn was the oak tree. His intention for us is ‘… the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure, many letting-goes. When you look at the oak tree, you don’t feel that the loss’ of the acorn is a very great loss. The more you perceive God’s purpose in your life, the less terrible the losses seem.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot

Perhaps some future day, Lord,
Thy strong hand will lead me to the place
Where I must stand utterly alone;
Alone, Oh gracious Lover, but for Thee.

I shall be satisfied if I can see Jesus only.
I do not know Thy plan for years to come.
My spirit finds in Thee its perfect home: sufficiency.
Lord, all my desire is before Thee now.
Lead on no matter where, no matter how,
I trust in Thee. – by Elisabeth Elliot, in her college years**

“You are loved with an everlasting love. And underneath are the everlasting arms.” – Thank you, Elisabeth Elliot. You’ve made it Home.

Blog - Elisabeth Elliot - photo

Blog - Elisabeth Elliot and Lars GrenThank you, Lars Gren, for loving and caring for this wife of yours. What a journey you two must have had together.

*Elisabeth Elliot 1926 – [a fast read on Elisabeth’s life by Adsideo Church]

**Elisabeth Elliot – 1926-2015 – a tribute by Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition

Peaches in Paradise – Why I Loved Elisabeth Elliot by John Piper

Goodreads.com – 164 Quotes of Elisabeth Elliot

Marriage: A Revolution & A Revelation – A Supreme Earthly Test of Discipleship (a manuscript draft by Elisabeth Elliot)

On the Subject of Forgiveness – Leaving Self Behind – Elisabeth Elliot

How to Simplify Your Life – an article by Elisabeth Elliot

30 Years Married – a Walk with God as Much as With Each Other – from the archives, on the impact of Elisabeth Elliot’s counsel on living life married

The Journals of Jim Elliot compiled by Elisabeth Elliot

End of the Spear – a biopic on the lives of Elisabeth & Jim Elliot among the Auca people of Ecuador

Photo Credits: Image of Elisabeth Elliot from elisabethelliot.org