Planning to Fail (PART TWO)

SCRIPTURE STUDY – JAMES 4:13-17

Although there might be more, I discovered THREE words in this passage of Scripture that will help in finding God’s plan for every area of your life.

The FIRST word begins with the letter “C”.  CONFESSION.

CONFESS your sins.  Get your heart right with God if you want Him to lead you.

Psalm 66, VERSE 18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” 

In other words, you are wasting your breath if you PRAY unconfessed, unrepented of sin in your heart and in your life.  If you’re remembering and talking about the Great Prayer Promises in the Bible–that’s one of them.

1 John 1:5, 6 goes on to say, “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:  God is light; in Him, there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet you walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”  [NIV]

You see, if there’s SIN in our lives, rather than walking in the Light, we are stumbling in the dark.  Let me put in this way.  Do you have an IDOL in your life?  You say, “No, they worship ‘IDOLS’ over in foreign countries.  We don’t worship idols here.”

Really?

An IDOL is anything you love more than God.

An IDOL is anything you serve more than God.

An IDOL is anything that you fear more than God.

Here’s a verse of Scripture to ponder:

Ezekiel 14, VERSE 3 [AMP]

[3] Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put the stumbling block of the iniquity (sin) and guilt before their faces; should I permit Myself to be inquired of at all by them?

That is, can these men who have IDOLS say, “God lead me?”

God says, “Look.  These men have idols in their hearts.  What right do they have to come to Me and ask Me to guide them?”

So, if you want to know God’s WILL for the future, number one, CONFESSION.  Make certain there’s no unconfessed, unrepented SIN in your life!  If that sounds strange, it’s not!  It’s normal living.

Number TWO is CONSECRATION.

The word “consecration” sounds a bit churchly to most.  In the Bible, the word means “the separation of oneself from things that are unclear, especially anything that would contaminate one’s relationship with a perfect God.”  [See footnote [i].]

It’s not enough to be CLEANSED; you need to be CONSECRATED!

Proverbs 3:6 READS, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).

Do you really want to know God’s WILL in your life, or do you just want God to help you with your plans?

“In ALL your ways,” not some of your ways, acknowledge Him!

Number THREE – Listen.

You see, there’s a VOICE behind you.

I feel this is the most important.  Well, not the most important, but a vital thing and that’s concentration!

  • Confession, Consecration, Concentration.

LISTEN TO GOD!

There’s a Voice behind you.

There’s God GUIDING you with His eye.

The Holy Spirit is spoken of as a gentle dove, as a still, small voice.  That’s why we need that quiet time alone, away from the worldly noise, alone with Abba Father.

You might say, “Well, God never speaks to me!”  One would have to be foolish to deny that there’s no music in the air just because you have the radio turned off.

God is speaking.  Are you listening?  Or do you keep interrupting the conversation with all the “Yeah, but’s”?

BEWARE of this godless planning.

BEWARE of self-centered planning, okay?

Not only should you beware of self-centered planning, but you need to be aware of self-confident presumption.

Our lives are but a VAPOR.

The words, “…what is your life…you are but a mist [a vapor]…”; it’s the word atmos.  It’s where we get the English word, Atmosphere from. It’s like that foggy breath you see when you [the Word Detectivie] walk the dog on crisp, cold air, days in the Fall.  It’s there for a little while, and then it vanishes.

We don’t know what the FUTURE holds.

This may be the year you check out of here.  You may be going to heaven, or this may be the year you’re going to hell if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior.  This may be your final year on earth.  You don’t know.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now.  You think “Well, I’m in good health.  I’m young, I’m this, I’m that.”  But you don’t know, do you?

What is your life?

It’s but a VAPOR that appears for a little while then vanishes away.  And what we all need to be aware of is not only self-centered planning, but being AWARE of self-confident presumption–thinking we’re going to do this, or we’re going to do that before we leave this old earth and we get frivolous with our use of time.

Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

So as you PLAN THE FUTURE, you should say, “Lod God, I don’t know what the future is, I don’t know how much more time I have.  So Lord, help me to apply my days unto wisdom.  And Lord, may I live out the rest of my days, whether they be few or whether they be many, may they be used for You.”

To Kill Time is Suicide by Degree.

Don’t presume upon the time that you have.

Here’s the THIRD thing you need to beware of in your planning.

Not only self-centered planning, not only self-confident presumption BUT perhaps the most dangerous of all…you NEED to beware of SELF-COMPLACENT PROCRASTINATION.

You got to notice where James is headed here in the passage. [verses 15-17]

[15] You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing]. 

[16] But as it is, you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self-conceit.  All such boasting is wrong. 

[17] So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.  [AMP]

Now, here’s a man who knew what he should do, BUT…he didn’t do it.

He’s boasting in himself all that he’s done.  He became complacent.  

He’s AWARE of God’s WILL, but he doesn’t want to do it.

PROCRASTINATION MAY BE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM THAT MOST OF US HAVE TODAY. 

It’s a very deceptive SIN.  Many of us think we’re doing good if we don’t do the ‘dirty dozen’ sins.  You know, we have our own little list of sins, and we say, “Well, I don’t do any of those things, thank God!  I’m fine.”

But most of us don’t think of Procrastination as a sin:  [17] So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it,,, it’s a SIN.

Now most of us don’t believe that, but I believe it with all of my heart.  The Bible teaches it.  The Bible teaches that the sins of OMISSION are greater than the sins of COMMISSION.  Let me try to explain.

The SIN of OMISSION, the SIN of PROCRASTINATION is such a dangerous and deceptive sin.  It’s the reason that so many people are lost.

Why do people go to HELL today?  Because they steal, commit adultery? NO!  Oh, those are sins worthy to damn us, but those sins have been PAID for!

The REASON a person is LOST today, simply put, is because he’s FAILED to do what he ought to do.

John 3:18, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”  [NIV].

No longer is MAN condemned to hell because he’s a sinner, because those SINS have been paid for.  “He that BELIEVES in Him [Jesus] is not condemned, but he that does not believe is condemned already…”  WHY?  Because he has NOT believed.  It is the SIN OF OMISSION now that sends a soul to hell.

The REASON that people have WRONG THINKING is that of the sin of omission.

The reason that homes break up, THE SIN OF OMISSION.

The reason that churches fall, it is THE SIN OF OMISSION, failing to do what needs to be done.

You say, “Well, one of these days I’m going to do such and such.”

You have SIN in your heart!  “…to him that knoweth to do good and doeth not, to him it is a SIN” (KJV).

Thinking about your FAILURE –

No one likes to FAIL, so ‘planning to fail’ must seem to be out of the question in your life.

While thinking about your future, BEWARE of self-centeredness, don’t leave God out of your plans.

BEWARE of self-confident presumption.  You don’t have a promise of tomorrow.  Your LIFE is but a VAPOR, a MIST!

What you are going to do, DO!

If you think about your future, BEWARE of self-complacent procrastination, saying, “You just wait and see. One of these days I’m going to do it!”  “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin” (AMP).

So, do you want to face your future with positive results?

“NO FAILING HERE!”

Face your future then by giving your HEART, MIND, and SOUL to Jesus Christ and letting the Holy Spirit be in you to GUIDE, SHOW you and give you a HOPE that is wonderful and glorious.

If I had a thousand lives to live, I’d give them ALL to Jesus.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i]:  “What does the Bible say about consecration?” @ GotQuestions.org.

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search, Settings, advanced search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV), Amplified Bible (AMP), or where noted in the text.

 

 

 

 

Reigniting the Olympic Flame

Sochi, Russia Olympic Flame
Sochi, Russia Olympic Flame

Well, after 16 grueling days, the flame was extinguished for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia and in four years, the flame will be reignited in Pyeoncheng, Korea.

The OLYMPIC flame towered this year over Fisht Stadium so huge, so massive, it literally could be glimpsed from space.

Photo from 220 miles up in space
Photo from 220 miles up in space

The astronauts on the international Space Station took this photo, showing the flaming cauldron as the spacecraft drifted over Russia’s vacation spot on the Black Sea.  The picture was taken from 220 miles up in the air. [photo courtesy of Mail Online].

In a report from Sochi, NBC’s Brian Williams said when the torch was ignited, “the soaring torch is the most powerful, the loudest, of any Olympic Game.”

I wasn’t ready for the flame to be taken down.  In fact, as Christians, we ought to continually be LIGHTING THE FIRE from within.  How OLYMPIC could that be to the unsaved world today.

Being Olympic Ready!

The Urban Dictionary defines “Olympic” this way:  The true original definition of athleticism; being allowed to represent your country is considered the ultimate goal for almost every athlete in the world.

As Christians, what better ways can we represent our Lord and Savior, reigniting Holy Spirit fire in our lives.  The Light of the World, Christ Jesus, shining through us like a grand Olympic Flame to the rest of the world!

Reigniting the Fire!

GOD wants to speak to you today where you sit.  He wants a stirring within your soul, deep from within, a FIRE that wants to breakout and fan across your world.

In this Blog-Post, there is a calling for you to ignite the flame, that fire, to spark something inside of you today…that something being the POWER of the Holy Spirit.  And believe me, that is Olympic!

ARE YOU READY TO BE IGNITED?  Because if you are, the cause is greater than you!  The cause is Christ Jesus:

The Cause of being…

A difference maker,

Sharing the LOVE, 

Sharing acceptance,

Sharing the forgiveness of Jesus with those around you.

The prophet Isaiah said,

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness, and her salvation radiates as does a burning torch”  (Isaiah 62:1 AMP).

Isaiah couldn’t keep quiet; there was a fire that burned in his belly.  He was going to keep telling people about GOD until RIGHTEOUSNESS rang out in the cities, until SALVATION became a blazing torch in the land.

“Evil triumphs when good people remain silent”

Today is the time!  The time to reignite the fire that was maybe just barely flickering within and become no longer by silent, becoming agents of change.

How Can We Ignite the Flame?

We do it with the flame of…PASSION.

Society has categorized our time in history as “passionless.”  They are wrong!  Being bombarded by a multi-media experiences of life…we’re overloaded, pure and simple.  But the flame within our spirit flickers; burns for the intimacy of relationship.  To reignite the fire within, we need to have a PASSION for God.

The Psalmist wrote of PASSION  in Psalm 86:11-12: 

[11] Teach me Your way,  O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth; direct and unite my heart to fear and honor Your name.

[12] I will confess and praise You,  O Lord my God, with my whole (united) heart; and I will glorify Your name forevermore.

The Fire Is Protect and Kept in a Safe Place…

The Olympic Flame comes from Athens, Greece each Olympics.  Our source for the FIRE comes from God and to visualize the flame, we need to establish it from within a vertical relationship.

Relationship on the rocks?

In an article, “Relationship on the Rocks?” written by Julie Orlov, she addresses married couples relationships when they grow cold.  She points out the breakdowns that can happen by asking the question, “Where has the spark gone?”  Many couples after some years have gone by, or when the kids have moved out, look at each other as if they’re compatible roommates; the relationship has lost the PASSION!  And for man, there comes a time when that level of complacency is no longer acceptable.

Crying Out to God…

We need to “cry out” to God, not to be complacent in relationship with Him.

OUR Prayer:  Teach me how to be more passionate for You, showing me the way You would have me walk through this life on earth.  God, direct my heart so I will respect, trust, and honor You in all ways, in all things.

Stirring the Flame of Commitment!

We stir the flame until it burns within our soul and we cannot remain silent because…we are PASSIONATE with commitment to God.  And by the way…this conversation we should have with our life-mate…establishes the horizontal relationship as well.

PASSIONATE WITH COMMITMENT!

Not only do we need to have PASSION for God, we need to have:  A PASSION FOR OTHERS.

In Psalm 2:8, God gives us this information:  “Ask of Me, and I will give You [Jesus] the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession.”

When we have PASSION for God, we will have PASSION to do the work of our heavenly Father, the work of seeing the world come to JESUS.

When we allow the FIRE OF GOD to burn within, comes a passionate heart cry for the lost people in our community and around the world. This is the PASSION I have within my soul and spirit to write a weekly blog.  We all need to have PASSION to dream God’s dreams!!!

The Truth Is the Value of Our PASSION:

Like FIRE, our PASSION will be judged finally by the amount of warmth and light it transmits.

FIRE must be controlled…

To live passionately, we must develop DISCIPLINE.  Fanatics like foresting fires, burning brightly through the landscape, but at the same time, destroying everything that is tender and green in its path!  To be useful, FIRE must be controlled.

To LOVE PASSIONATELY, we need to form the bonds of COMMITMENT.

Inspiration;

Not only do we need PASSION in our lives, we need to also have INSPIRATION.

Talk to people who have been successful in life, they will tell you how they found someone they can point to for the inspiration of their achievement.

If you need some inspiration right now in your life, read the lives of the great men and women of FAITH in Hebrews 11, then reflect on Hebrews 12:1:

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.

If you are going to light the torch within, you are not only going to need PASSION and INSPIRATION, you’ll need PERSPIRATION!

Perspiration in Preparation
Perspiration in Preparation

Perspiration–how do we know the fire is aflame?

WHERE’S THE SMOKE?  WHERE’S THE FLAME?

The NBC news anchor, Brian Williams mentioned while in attendance, when the Olympic Flame was ignited in Sochi, the flame sounded like a Jet Airplane taking off at an airport!  Now that would certainly get your attention, wherever you were at the time.

James 2:26 says,  “For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.”

Questions need to be answered before reigniting the flame–

WHAT ARE YOUR DESIRES?

WHAT ARE YOUR AMBITIONS?

WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING YOUR BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS INTO?

WHAT FIRE IS BURNING INSIDE OF YOU?

We can all come up with EXCUSES, why we can’t, sitting back and doing nothing in reaching people around us to come to JESUS, or we can go for the GOLD; allow the Holy Spirit to IGNITE the fire within while accomplishing great things in Jesus’ name.

Now is the Time!

The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro begin in 2016; where the Olympic Torch will once more be reignited.  But the athletes are in training and getting ready for the games, in the right now!  Their PASSION, INSPIRATION, PERSPIRATION is now!!!  If they waited for 2016 to be prepared, it would mean nothing.

BUT now is the time for us, for the flame to be stirred for igniting the fire within.  RIGHT NOW is the time to be PASSIONATE about life, to not only look to others for inspiration, but to be an inspiration to others around us.

It’s time to PERSPIRE, to get into action before difference makers.

Don’t Wait till it’s Too Late–It’s a Matter of Life and Death!

People are dying around us every day, hour, minute, second–friends, family, co-workers.  And remember, we don’t need to be observed from a Space Station 280 miles above the earth to be seen.  Our Olympic Flame just needs to be reignited to the lost in our cities, communities and our neighborhoods.

Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because ALL MEN SINNED.  (Romans 5:12).

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 6:23).

The HOPE to be Conveyed to others in Romans 8: 

[Romans 8:1-2; 9-19, 24-25].

A Prayer for Lighting the Fire Within:

Father, I know by the current events surrounding my life, the time for Your Sons return is growing nearer everyday.  There are people in my community, my neighborhood, my family that doesn’t know Him.  Your Word says that I need to share the Gospel message as Your Spirit leads.  I desire it Lord.  Light my fire within my heart and give me the right words to say at any given time.  The time IS now!

Thank You Father God, in Jesus’ name.

“Going Down A Slippery Slope” – Is it a fallacy?

SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENTS:

A “slippery slope” argument goes like this:  “If you take position A, you run the risk of taking position B; position B is wrong, therefore A is also wrong.”

Politics, national organizations, the media all use the technique to often promote FEAR to the listeners, our thinking.  BUT the reason for this POST is…Slippery-Slopenot to debate the idea or to promote FEAR in the readers, but to bring a FOCUS; to CAUTION–maybe even make you feel uncomfortable in what I see as complacency in society and even in the Church today.

THE SLOPE OF DISOBEDIENCE (Matthew 8:28-34)–

Once we take that FIRST STEP towards DISOBEDIENCE, the next step we take becomes much easier.

It was 1956, I was a 14 year old,  a non-rebellious  9th Grader in Junior High School.  Being a REBEL and disappointing my folks was so far away from who I was… the idea of going against the ‘grain of discipline’,  definitely wasn’t who I was–or who I thought I was.

One day, while walking to school as I always did, I knock on a buddy’s door to join me– and to my surprise,  Steve decided he wasn’t going to school that day.  No, he wasn’t sick.  Steve decided, since his parents were at work (no one would know), he was going to “ditch” school.

“Do you want to “ditch” too” Steve asked me.  I thought, how are we going to get away this rebellious act?  I even showed my concern:

“How are we going to keep from being caught? “ I asked.

“Don’t worry, Mel.  I’m good at forging my mom’s signature on an excuse slip.  We can do the same thing for you if you want.”

So the lies began.  Not just once but this went on and off for several months– thrilled because we hadn’t been caught in our lies, our deceit.  We were certainly contented in our disobedience.

And then the day of reckoning came!   We actually got caught by Truant Officers while ditching school…at my house and not Steve’s hideaway.  The math had discovered to many consequences; both 9th graders absent at the same time too many times.

The school contacted our parents at their workplace [my folks waited for me to tell them that night rather than confronting me with the discovery and repercussions].

And then the school pulled us out of first period class the next morning to inform us of  the consequences of our actions.  I remember the VP asking the three of us, what did you do all day?

“We sat at the kitchen table and played poker” we sheepishly answered.

His response at the time seemed quite surprising to the three of us (we had coerced one other student to join in the rebellion), seeing how much trouble we were all in:

“If it had been me ‘ditching’ school, I would have gone fishing, not wasted the whole day hiding in someone’s house”.

That was the “DUH” moment which added stupidity to the embarrassment.

DISOBEDIENCE is always a choice, no matter what age.  And of course, this was no exception.  My parents were of course disappointed and to my pleasant surprise, the only form of punishment needed for me personally was the following statement and it certainly brought home the point:

“You’ve never done anything like this before and I hope you’ve learned a lesson”.

We weren’t TOTALLY off the hook–

One hour of detention in the Vice Principal’s Office, every day for two weeks certainly became a everyday embarrassment when we were excused early from our 1st Period Class to walk down the empty school halls to pay the price of rebellion.

The “slippery slope” began with the idea that just “one time” would be okay–with the addition of our peers cheering silently that we had challenged the system; our own narrow society.  And when discovered, the thrill was over and it all went down hill after that.

THE SLOPE IS STARTED (Verse 28):

“And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road.”

The SLOPE starts at the place where JESUS met these men, in Gadera.  It’s located on the east side of the Jordan River, given to the tribe of Gad (Numbers 32:1-2, 6).

The people of Gad didn’t want to cross the Jordan and were contented to stay right were they were.

Then in reading Numbers 32:13-15, we see the Lord became angry with the people.  There was work to be done, battles to be fought and the promise of the Lord to be fulfilled.  Yet, the people would have been content to stay right where they were.  Well fed, well clothed, one big happy group of people.  There was no need to get involved–they would allow others to fight their battles.

Sin Starts With Contentment–

CONTENTMENT that enough has already been done.  The Lord declared if they wouldn’t be willing and come across the river and fight, they wouldn’t receive their possession in the east.  They would have to come across and fight with the rest of the tribes to receive the land they wanted.

There is no place in the Army of God for contentment.  There isn’t such a thing as “We’ve finally arrived!”  And yet, the forefathers of these two demon possessed men had to be coerced into following the Lord’s commands.

Sin enters the camp a little bit at a time.  Not all at once.  The logic of the Gadites was simple:  we are cattlemen, there is grass and water here.  We need to stay here and get started with our lives.

But the logic fell short of the Lord’s desire for the nation as a whole.  There was a PROMISE LAND, a place of belonging, not only for those who chose to stay but also for all God’s people.  They were in the conquest together, and together they would have to fight.

THE SLOPE GETS STEEPER (verses 29-31):

“[29]  And behold, they shrieked and screamed,  What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God?  Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?   [30]  Now at some distance from there a drove of many hogs was grazing.  [31]  And the demons begged Him, If You drive us out, send us into the drove of hogs.” 

NOTICE that the people of Gadera were “pig farmers”.  They abandoned the cattle and sheep business and were now into the pig business.

Pigs were unclean.  Good Jewish families didn’t have pigs.  I believe that the attitudes of the forefathers were still present during the days of Jesus.

SIN crept into the attitudes and began to ‘chip away’ at the morality of the people.  It’s no wonder that there were demon-possessed men living in tombs, chasing away everyone who came near.  The people had allowed sin to become so entrenched in their society that such possession had become possible.

The devil isn’t satisfied with influencing the occasional outburst of sin.  He wants to control the lives of as many people as he can.

These men were the physical embodiment of evil.

They didn’t start out that way.  They didn’t wake up one morning and decided to become possessed.  But it began to take more and more disobedience; more of ignoring of what was around them to get the same thrill they once received.  Soon, they had immersed themselves in Godless behavior and Godless they became.

THE SLOPE SWEPT THEM AWAY (verses 32-34):

” [32]  And He said to them,  Begone!  So they came out and went into the hogs, and behold, the whole drove rushed down the steep bank into the sea and died in the water.   [33]  The herdsmen fled and went into the town and reported everything, including what had happened to the men under the power of demons.  [34]  And behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their locality”  (AMP Version).

The pigs had more sense than the people of Gadera did.  The hogs had rather die than be possessed and ran down the slope into the sea and drowned.

SIN DESTROYS!

That is always the goal of Satan and his demonic hordes.  The demons thought they would be safe in pigs, but the pigs knew better.

As the pigs were swept away to their destruction, the people swept out of the city and asked JESUS to leave.  There, before their own eyes, a great and powerful miracle by the Son of God had taken place before their eyes, where two men no longer were possessed but were in their right minds.

Did the people of Gadera stop and worship the Lord at His presence?  Did they pause to consider what had just happened in their midst?  No, they were more concerned with their ‘pig ministry’ and that their livelihood was gone as well!

Complacency, Contentment, a Godless Society–

In the verses that follow, we see that JESUS did indeed leave.

JESUS will never go where He isn’t wanted!

He will never stay where He isn’t welcomed!

4723392022_da31abeec0JESUS will never stay where a people are in a “sanctuary of contentment” with their spiritual state.

There are PROMISES to fulfill, not just for some, but for all!  JESUS came to offer eternal life to all who would receive Him.  He came to offer a deeper meaning of our spiritual existence.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you CONTENT where you are?  Are you SATISFIED to let someone else take your place, some other church lead in the fight?

Contented and Satisfied
Contented and Satisfied

We have the opportunity to invite JESUS to stay and to see the miracles of changed lives in our churches.  To see Him do “exceedingly more than we have ever thought or imagined.”

“Sin takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and makes us pay a price we can’t afford to pay.”