Daily Devotions

The Difference Between Tom Cruise and a Mouse

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Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.” (Proverbs 15:12)

 

Some years ago I read Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, by Andrew Morton. For years I’ve been curious by Tom Cruise’s commitment to Scientology. Morton tells how Tom Cruise worked his way up through the Scientology steps. Finally, after many years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars, he had reached the level where he would be given all the knowledge and truth of Scientology. Cruise was shocked to hear that all that work and money ended up being for a science-religion based on spaceships and alien creatures.

For three days Tom Cruise pondered what he had learned. At the end of that time, he decided, rather than cast aside the absurdity of Scientology’s ultimate “teaching,” he decided to embrace it. He seemed to embrace Scientology because he couldn’t admit a mistake of this magnitude and because he would remain a powerful figure in this wealthy and powerful secular religion.

Tom Cruise’s decision process wasn’t too different from a mouse. Erica Goode, in her article, Mice Don’t Know When to Let It Go, Either, confirms, “Animals, like humans, are reluctant to give up on pursuits they’ve invested in, psychologists report.” University of Minnesota’s Journal of Science provided a study that found “that mice and rats were just as likely as humans to be influenced by sunk costs.” The journal confirms, “The more time they invested in waiting for a reward-in the case of the rodents, flavored pellets; in the case off the humans-entertaining videos, the less likely they were to quit the pursuit before the delay ended.

In both mice and humans, the more time and energy is invested in something, the more likely it will be that the mouse or person will persist in the behavior. This can be beneficial if the behavior is beneficial. However, if the behavior is detrimental, it is very difficult to give up and walk away. Hence, why Tom Cruise couldn’t walk away from the ridiculous claims of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.

Today, think about the commitments you have made in your life. Are there any commitments you have made that are not benefiting you? Are there actually some things, people, or activities that you continue to pursue that are not healthy for you, but you have committed to for so long, you do not have the strength to move forward? If so, name it, pray about it, and try braking the patterns that have dragged you down. You are more than a mouse or Tom Cruise. You have the ability to transform your life and make it more fulfilling. God’s Spirit is ready to support you. Choose the wisdom of walking away from poor decisions and watch your life grow.

The Blessing and Challenge of Parenthood

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Sons [and daughters] are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3)

 

As my daughter and son-in-law become parents in the next couple weeks, I reflect on the joys and struggles Jill and I had raising our dear Hannah. We had lots of fun, but there were also challenges. It wasn’t that Hannah was a struggle. More often than not, it was the challenge of keeping a proper balance in life that created the most frustrations. I am not aware of any parents that do not struggle from time-to-time and pretending parenting is without struggles does a disservice to parents everywhere.

 

According to Frontiers In Psychology, “Nearly 13 percent of mothers and 12 percent of fathers experience a high level of parent burnout.” I think burnout may be even more prevalent today than in previous years. I say that, not to shame the present generation of parents, but to acknowledge the unique challenges facing this generation.

 

Certain factors are common to every generation. Erin Devine, in her article, How to Recognize and Stop Mom Burnout in Its Tracks, addresses some of them. She says many parents become angry, resentful individuals because they’ve ignored their depression for so long, they’ve become chronically fatigued, which creates chronic irritability. Some of the parenting issues that creates this depression include, but are not limited to, “spousal conflict,” “mismatched values between spouses and/or extended family,” “lack of reward,” “poor job fit,” and “loss of social outlets.”

 

Some factors are more challenging in the present generation. While previous generations also shared these challenges, the following seem to be even more difficult. These include “Activity Overload,” and the related, “Work-Life Balance.” This generation is working at least 15% more hours per week than workers in the 1960s. Add to this, that vastly more couples are now double income, balancing two jobs and family demands. Now, on top of that, today’s parents are often in “Activity Overload.” Many parents have each child in organized activities six and seven days per week. There is no time for parents to remain in an intimate, loving, deep marriage, and running non-stop. This leads to inevitable struggle and depression.

 

Today, pray for parents raising children in today’s society. The joys and trials of parenting continue to amaze and confound. That old line, “It takes a village,” still rings true. Parents need some time alone to nurture their marriage and a little alone time to reflect on what decisions they are making with their children. Churches, like ours, can be a big help, offering parents support by caring for their children once in a while so they can get away, renew their relationship, or just get alone and think. Parents need the support more than ever before. With a little care, they can not only overcome, but be the great parents God has called them to be in this world.

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