Do Something!


march-forth-and-do-something-day-fun1When you take the time to consider how life works best, I think you will agree that life involves activity. Living things are not stagnant and if they become stagnant, generally, something has gone wrong. The beauty and the value of life is found in activity, not mindless movements and empty tasks, but meaningful activity that accomplishes some end. Human beings were meant to do something, not sit idly in a state of inertia doing nothing. Activity is the anecdote to restlessness and anxiety. There is always something to do and having nothing to do leads to fretting and focus on things that have no purpose or usefulness. Often the troubles we imagine were born in those times when we had nothing planned and thought it beneficial to “veg out” confusing it with relaxation and repose. Relaxation has its purpose; vacations have their purpose and periods of not feeling compelled to perform behaviors or tasks have their purpose. But nothingness and killing time and wasting away serves rather to damage us than to heal us. If you want to be immeasurably happier, you have to do something.

All of us have experienced the joy that follows a busy day; a day where we put our entire focus into what we were doing and nothing else. We are all familiar with the satisfaction that accompanies the completion of some needed project or necessary repair of a thing that was broken. Similarly, we all know the misery associated with doing nothing for too long or letting things go that call aloud for remedy. We were made to do things and we were made to engage with life. That is not to say that we should work ourselves to the bone or submit ourselves to endless “to do lists” or requirements. Life has a balance and a flow to it and we typically know when we are pushing too hard. Fun times and play time are usually enjoyed after the work is done and not before. We often wish we had more leisure time, but leisure time lost in inactivity seems to generate more stress than relaxation. We function best when we have some work to do and a complete withdrawal from all work tends to work against our own best interests. Retirement does not mean we go from doing much to doing nothing. It simply involves a shift of focus from required tasks to tasks we choose to require. Whether it be tending a garden or writing in a journal or rearranging the furniture or cleaning out the garage, we still need something to do if want to be okay. Choosing to do nothing or to do less and less doesn’t lead to better feelings, it leads to boredom and unrest and opportunities to seek out what is wrong with life and what appears to be wrong with us. Busy people have no time for such trifles as they have remained engaged in the activity of life. You have to do something!

This life we all are blessed to live has an infinite amount of things to be interested in. You aren’t miserable because you have run out of life to experience. You are miserable because you have stopped experiencing life. You have bought into the myth that life is better when you have nothing to do. As a human being, there is never a time when you have nothing to do. It doesn’t fit with God’s plan for life. Chances are there are many things you need to do but have stopped doing them or many things you could do but have chosen to disengage from them. All of us need to recharge at times. All of us need a break or an extended break. But, even when we are taking a break, life still requires us to do something with our time. I understand what happens to us. We get overtaxed and overburdened at times. We spend too much energy. We buy into the logic that our best times are when we have nothing to do. But, there is a vast difference between not working your job and choosing to do nothing. Doing nothing makes a vacation suck. Time spent ignoring things needing to be done sucks. Deferring things requiring completion for later sucks. Sitting around disengaging from life and the people in our lives sucks. In short, God intended for our lives to be filled with meaningful activity or meaningful inactivity, the point being we always need to do something!

Being unproductive works at cross purposes with the flow of life. Our job when we feel bored or feel things have become pointless or find ourselves trapped in painful, dull routines is to reengage with life. Life hasn’t changed. We have. We put in limitations where there is no limitation. We draw finite lines around our existence, never really considering that our Source of life is infinite. We simply stop doing life and over the years find ourselves entangled in a large bowl of nothingness. We live for the weekend while completely discounting Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. We anxiously await the warmer weather when life still exists when it’s cold. We have succumbed to a fixed mindset where the options are few and our opportunities even less. We cannot go to dinner on a “school night.” We have to wait until the weekend to work on the flower beds. We cannot engage ourselves in things that interest us because we have already foolishly concluded there’s little that interests us. What an insult to Infinite Variety and the life He envisioned for us. You want to break out of your rut? Stop thinking so much and do something.

Human beings, life and happiness have their roots in activity. Meaningful activities or activities that have meaning to you are part of the human experience and cannot be excluded or reduced. Children are happier when they have something to do, even if they complain about doing it. Schedules and labor and obligations fuel the good times we enjoy. Good, old fashioned hard work does wonders for your soul. Think about your life and what you do and see if there aren’t things you have stopped doing or reduced or neglected and get back out there and do stuff. Don’t medicate inactivity with alcohol or television or sleep. Instead do, summon the energy to do and be and engage with your life. You just might find some stuff that has been waiting for you to do.

Just some good thoughts…

Life in Your Sixth Decade…


Family 1Having just recently entered my second year in my sixth decade (happy birthday to me), I thought it might be good to reflect on the past year. Something about the sixth decade that causes you to take pause and think about things more than you have ever done in the past. Not thinking you would ever actually be this old, you start to learn some things you probably should have learned years ago. Last year was a year of intense learning and untold insights for me concerning life and living. And, at the risk of bringing you into an idea mosh pit, I’m going to share some of those things with you. 

Maybe the most profound thing I began learning this year was how to escape from mental and spiritual bondage. You don’t really know that you are all tied up when you are all tied up. You sort of need something outside of yourself (thanks God) to shed some light on your darkness and make things that have become invisible, visible again. Suddenly you begin to recognize stuff you do with no love in it. You begin to discern how fear is making all the choices. Your enjoyments become less and less and all that you do comes into question. Freedom exists on the other side of all that. Fear only gains power over you when you give it head space. You have to entertain it, talk with it, mull it over a bit, really try to reason it out, but when you do, fear always wins. Overcoming fear, which equals overcoming bondage, which equals gaining freedom, happens first in your mind and then in your heart. You have to put a complete end to fearful considerations, which equals worrying about future events, which equals being driven to behaviors and performance in order to be okay. Fear is such a slippery creature and can attach itself to things you may not have thought of before, yet there it lurks pulling the strings in your life and leading you away from the things you really want. The good Lord has set us free from all that garbage, if we only knew it. 

I was blessed to have the opportunity to rethink and relearn what it means to believe God. I already knew that to be able to receive something from God, you had to believe that God both could and would do it for you. What it really meant to believe God was the mystery for me. It’s not some type of powerful thinking or willing or demanding etc. It’s not checking to see if you doubt it or maybe aren’t fully persuaded. It’s not a good feeling or a bad feeling. It has little if anything to do with your feelings. It’s not magic or mystique. It’s more of a dogged determination. It is to keep saying what you want, not what you wish would go away, until you get it. As a wonderful man once said, “dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light!” Spending all day confessing all that is wrong, every place you are dissatisfied, what you don’t like, what you wish would stop, what you wish would start, what you really, really need, all point back squarely to the darkness that engendered it to begin with. Do you think the obstacles you encounter in life are simply random? Believing is not saying what you need over and over and over again. Believing is saying what God’s Word says about your situation. If you have a need, God knows what it is already. You simply keep repeating His promise to supply all of your need which aptly applies to your situation. You’re not following a formula until the magic happens. You’re not saying it out loud to people as proof that you believe it when, deep down, you know you don’t. Instead you are saying God’s promise, which equals light, to yourself until the darkness has to flee. You’re not going to beat the devil with your adamancy, I can assure you of that. You just dwell on what you want and continue dwelling on it, until it comes to pass. There’s no time limit. There’s no secret recipe. There’s no mystery or intrigue. You don’t have to perpetually wonder if you are “believing.” Those mental games lead nowhere and produce nothing. You just keep after what you need faithfully backing it with promises from God’s Word. All the rest is simply accepting the fact that it won’t come to pass. All the rest! Believing God has to be simple because truth is always simple and plain. Error is complicated. Fear is complicated. Bondage is complicated. That thing you need so desperately, God already knows you need so desperately. Turn on the light by adding in the light. Keep saying what God says in your mind and what God says will get into your heart. Believing comes from your heart. 

Next, and certainly not in importance, I learned how much I valued and treasured my private time with God in the mornings. For me, as you might expect from a writer, I prefer to write in my journal and share my heart with God. It is my attempt at “Morning Pages” as was so beautifully outlined by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Morning Pages are my opportunity to talk things over with my Papa (God). I ask Him questions often and He is faithful always to answer (always). He listens (patiently) to my complaints and whining at times and still, gently, always supplies me with what I need to know or often what is really behind the things that befall me. What I learn on those sweet mornings is not always revolutionary, but often subtle insights and unveilings that meet my needs perfectly. It is so honest, so pure, so refreshing. We all need to talk with our Father at times and we are never the less for doing so. Some mornings I have to miss it and I miss it. Some mornings I’m like the psalmist that begins in despair but ends in victory. What I know for sure is that I need God’s involvement in life and we just happened upon a medium that makes us both happy. (I assume God knows I am a writer!) However you choose to do it or not do it is entirely up to you. But, if you are willing to reach outside of yourself for the answers, you will surely find as I found, God is there. 

Many of my other lessons came in a variety of settings. Each time it was gentle, easy to be intreated, something I could grasp and benefit from and never to condemn me. I learned that all fun has an endpoint and pressing beyond the endpoint doesn’t produce more fun. I understood that moderation has both freedom and limits. I learned that loving God, loving your fellow man and doing as you dang fool please had a lot of depth to it. I learned that God never expected me to be a perfect man, but rather believe in what a perfect man did for me. It finally dawned on me that you cannot add to “it is finished.” I recognized that relationships are two way streets and that sometimes you are the problem. I began to dare to follow God’s advice in no longer judging myself and even learned to extend that to other people. My own shenanigans alone attest to that reality. I learned that it’s not so much what people think about you as it is what you think about yourself. Self doubt is learned and can be unlearned. I saw that God was pretty dang good at taking care of me and my family. I understood that God meets you right where you are and for that I am immeasurably thankful. It became so vivid that God’s will for my life was that I enjoy it as much as I could, whenever I could. How many times he whispered, “enjoy your life.” I learned that my life was my choice and that nothing was supposed to intervene in that. I began a greater appreciation for my family and my friends and endeavored to show love whenever I could. I went on trips, I basked on beaches on both coasts, I traveled, we traveled, hosted parties, made hundreds of Old Fashioneds, spoke kind words to the weary, entertained guests, ate at restaurants, played many rounds of golf (never actually improving, but enjoying it nonetheless!), spent time with the likeminded,  and many more things that would mark a truly blessed life. I had my share of troubles, was pressed at times, afraid, unsure, bewildered, anxious and plain old pissed, but those times never lasted and I was always able to get back to my light, back into the fight. I guess looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Life is good my friends, so good. 

Six decades of living doesn’t produce the best skin, the best hair or the best body, but it does produce a depth of soul you may have never encountered before. It provides you with a time to reflect, to look back, to remember, to embrace and to wish you would have known better. You start to see that every day living is a good day and that life is that much better with God in it. You wish you could say and do all the things your heart always wanted you to do, but at the same time understand that you can do it now. All of us need love and we can only give it when we have it to give. Life is best lived above bondage and fear, but you have to get there when you get there and hopefully it is sooner than later. None of that stuff that has been dragging you down comes from God and if you will let Him, He will change your life forever. I love God and I love you. (M 60’s)

Just some good thoughts…

My Life on a Perpetual Diet…


dietingAs I reflect back on my life over the past 20 years, I realize that I have been on a perpetual diet for that same 20 years. And incredulously, as my goal of being 15 pounds lighter continues to linger on the horizon, I also recognize the insanity of trying to lose the same 15 pounds for 20 straight years. It would seem that with some discipline and force of will it shouldn’t take 20 years to lose 15 pounds. In fact, the task should likely take two to three months maximum. But, here I sit lamenting on the reality that I haven’t yet been able to figure it out. So, I had to ask myself why? Why would my body seek to regulate itself 15 pounds above that which I would desire. Is there something I am doing in my life that serves to thwart my purpose? Is a life of perpetual restriction the solution? Or, does a life of perpetual restriction work at cross purposes from the end I have in mind? And, assuming I’m not a swim suit model, does it really even matter? Is it really about dieting and obsessing and trying hard with no results or is there something else at play I might not yet have contemplated? I think it is fair to say that any issue that may have troubled you for the past twenty years begs for further inspection, whether it be feeling unhappy about your weight or not feeling good about any aspect of your life. Whatever it is that has served as a distraction in your life; that limits you from being your best; that functions as a source of constant angst and dissatisfaction, is worth digging into and finding a way to overcome. Have your past twenty years seen you trapped on a perpetual diet, in endless restriction and constraints, in modifying your behavior, in trying to get something and never actually being able to get it? If so, this blog is for us…

I guess the starting point in understanding is first being able to recognize the utter futility of trying to do something for twenty years but not actually arriving or seeing any lasting result. That alone should arrest our attention. Yes, it takes some time and some discipline to make needed changes in our lives, but for something to continue on for that many years is a clue that competing interests must be interfering with our goal. The straight line of effort should produce a result. No results or minimal results indicate the straight line of effort cannot be straight. Faithful persistence is the key. It doesn’t matter how hard you work at something, if you don’t do it faithfully, chances are you are not going to get there. By the time your effort to achieve hits the 20 year mark and you are still no closer to your goal, you have to look at yourself and ask the question why? Do you have some aspect of your life that when indulged works at cross purposes with your goal? Is there something you like more than the thing you say you want? Or, as time has passed, have you been convinced that you cannot reach your goal no matter what you do? Time, especially significant amounts of time, has an unusual way of encroaching on your belief system and limiting you that much further in your quest, as small failures add up and produce the larger failure; the ultimate failure being referred to as giving up. Often what feels like futility is really repeating the same circumstances over and over and expecting a different result. Nothing changes because you haven’t changed something or at least not long enough to form new habit patterns. The temporary nature of the diet promises that a short term sacrifice will suffice and then it is back to business as usual, adding in excesses to fill the gaps formed in deprivation. Short term fixes don’t fix anything and lead to 20 year fixes that don’t fix anything either. Before you can takes the steps to enjoy any success, you first have to get real honest with yourself about what you want and what you don’t want. Your reason why has to be bigger than all of the assailants that will come to thwart your goal. 

I have learned rather painfully that endless restriction turns you into a sort of crazy person. Although you haven’t stuck to your plans for any significant length of time in reality, your mind gets stuck there in an endless loop secretly upset with the endless deprivation. Low carb diets make you crazy about rice and bread. Extreme diets such as HcG require you to starve for 3 weeks and then eat like a crazy person for the next six. Fasting promises a fast fix, yet whoa unto the crazy eater when the fast is over. There is nothing wrong with time limited restriction and control as long as you stay the course and arrive at your destination. But sadly, the course also includes the weekends! Yet, deeper than dieting or any time driven period of greater control, is what is going on inside your head. You don’t feel like you can adequately control yourself for 3 months, yet end up spending 20 years rehearsing the same mantra. You have to get your mind involved and keep it involved. You have to decide what you are going to do and then keep deciding until you arrive. If you are like me, you may have taken on some habits over the years that don’t work so well with your goals. Chances are you have certain likes and enjoyments that you might like a little too much. All added enjoyments in life appear to have an end point or a place where the enjoyment ends. Yet on we press looking for more enjoyment when the enjoyment has run its course. Nothing tastes as good as the first bite, as the saying goes and nothing produces better effect than the sparkle of the first glass of wine. All unhealthy restrictions cannot help but lead to excess in some other place. The answer isn’t more and more restriction, the answer is in getting focused and staying there. 

To take things a step further, the real issue is found in your why. Why are you doing or not doing the things you want? What are you really after? Are you doing something you earnestly want to do or do you have another hidden motive in mind? Is the thing you are trying so hard to get to the real answer or is it masking something else you want to get to? It is so easy to get caught up into things in life and end up forgetting why you were doing them in the first place. I think often when it comes to the various life suckers, our reasoning behind doing what we do gets cloudy and vague to the point where we can no longer see something that we desperately need to see. We miss the real problem or else dismiss it as something unimportant when it obviously is. It is not normal to suffer defeat in a category of life for a significant length of time without opposing forces getting in there somewhere and causing the defeat. This applies of course to many, many aspects of life beyond a silly diet. All of us have beliefs and habits that at one time served us, but no longer serve us now. We have pictures of ourselves that we have long since outgrown. We are all on our own journey with lessons we must eventually learn. Yet God graciously continues to work with us right where we are. I think inside we know the changes we need to make, but are loathe to make them for fear of losing something we enjoy; something that supposedly defines us; something we may have always liked about ourselves. Yet, all growing and evolving creatures must learn to change as the situations and circumstances of life dictate. However, those changes are not always all or nothing, but rather adjustments we make along the way. Small adjustments, small modifications can go a long way in making needed changes. 

At the end of the day, you and I can achieve anything we want to achieve. The only limit is ourselves. We have to learn to approach the things of our life without fear and dare to chart a new course. We aren’t after a quick fix, we are after long term solutions. Some aspects of life we simply need to overcome or at minimum overcome their grip on our lives. “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any…” Figure out what it is you are really after in your life and then go and get it. Sure you are going to fail and falter along the way, but that doesn’t matter as long as you get where you want to get. Whether you have been trying to lose the same amount of weight for two decades or you are trying to rid yourself of any negative aspect of life, you can get there no matter how long it has gone on if you will just get honest with yourself and change what you already know you need to change. Whatever has succeeded in getting a grip over your life has an opposite side that will give you everything you ever wanted instead. Life is way too short to live without the things that are important to you. Don’t pray for more discipline, pray for understanding. God has an uncanny way of making things crystal clear. Having you been living your life on a perpetual diet? Have you not thus far been able to realize your dreams? Is there some aspect of life that has been defeating you? Get quiet, get honest and get God involved. Life is to be enjoyed in every aspect! Freedom awaits you.

Just some good thoughts…

What’s the Point?


purpose-lifeHave you ever wondered what is the point of life? I think it is safe to say that we all enjoy being alive and experiencing many different things. But, is that the point of it all? Is life merely a race where you put forth your energy to acquire as many things as possible before you die, or is life something you must learn to endure and even survive in order to eke out as many days on earth as you can? What if there is so much more to life? What if our time on terra firma was originally designed to be an opportunity to learn about our Creator; to learn how to live life to the full in every conceivable way; to experience great love and joy and the peace that passeth understanding? What if the grand point of our life is God, learning about Him; learning who He really is; learning how to live life in the best way that cannot help but produce immeasurable results, unending joy and deep seated satisfaction in our souls? Indeed, what’s the point?

People have all kinds of ideas and viewpoints about who God actually is. Their views are as varied as people are varied. Many, if not most, have accepted this notion that God is always present observing everything they do or don’t do and as such is meting out rewards or punishments based upon acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. When bad things happen, as they necessarily must, they conclude those things happened due to errors, flaws or sins on the part of the individual involved. Similarly, when good things happen or appear, they conclude they must be living right. Both viewpoints surreptitiously drive the focus of a relationship with God to people and the things that people do. On the negative side, people learn to fear God and expect bad things to happen in accordance with the so called bad things they may have done. On the other side, which really isn’t positive, they learn that they must perform certain behaviors or abstain from certain behaviors in order for God to bless them. Instead of learning about who God is, people learn to focus on themselves and as such live in a perpetual state of either fear or obligation. From this misunderstanding, people choose to ignore God altogether rather than get wrapped up in a system from which they cannot prevail. Even the mention of God typically elicits self-reflection concerning where the person fits on the scale of good and bad. What a great dishonor to God, His love, His compassion, His goodness. God formed, made and created people for Himself. As the author of life, He knows precisely what will make you happy and precisely what will cause you unrest. He is aware of the life that is possible for you and the counterfeit life which is clamoring for supremacy. He sees through every deception and as you would expect from a loving Father, seeks only the best for you (not from you!). Does it really seem plausible to you that the greatest and most vast intelligence there is somehow remains focused on your missteps, your mistakes, your fallible human nature? That, my friends, is not the point!

God created the heavens and the earth for you. He designed it to be an unending and unparalleled place of learning and delight, filling it with infinite diversity and opportunity for exploration. The absolute perfection of nature cannot be ignored. The balance, the symmetry, the interdependency, the timing, the beauty, the accuracy, the wonder of it all speaks quietly in your heart that there is something more for you to learn. A flower, a beach, a tree in changing seasons, a bumblebee, a rainbow trout, the mountains, a billion unique snowflakes, the warm summer sun, the shadowy light of the mornings and the evenings, a pasture, the animal kingdom, the expanse, all point to someone, something more incredible than words can describe. And, incredulously, the point of the earth is you! Have you ever considered the wonder of your body and its millionfold possibilities? If there is something or someone so perfect, so intricate, so detailed (words fail me) to have even conceived of this delightful thing we call life, is it not possible that He is trying to communicate something to you? Can you begin to entertain the idea that He might be so far above human thought and understanding, so vast and immeasurable that you have not thus far been able to see Him for who He really is? His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts. And in His masterplan for creation, He made you. He wanted to be a Father to His children. (He invented the concept) He sought and seeks fellowship from His children. He is all powerful and all knowing and He desires to share that with you. He does not see your human foibles, your missteps, your absurdities (or mine), He sees you as His child upon which He wishes to shower untold blessings. He is love, the very essence and manifestation of it. He is life, your life and mine. He is the point!

Sometimes human beings are “too smart” for their own good. They wish to rationalize and explain away the obvious. They observe the perfection, but don’t expect perfection from the Maker of it all. They miss the point. They get all caught up in the rat race, toiling away, striving, trying to get something from nothing, applying superstitions, fables, and man-made principles to decipher a world that wasn’t made by man. They experience all of the misery, the futility, the despair because they are seeking life from everything but God. They are most sincere, honest, humble, and genuine, but looking for love in all the wrong places. They fear their only real source of help and rescue. They do not find Him because they have not yet sought Him, for He is not far from from any one of us. The Perfection that exists knows only goodness and kindness and love. He doesn’t want to condemn you, He wants to help you. He has already seen your whole life through and He still loves you. He desires that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly. His heart is open to all, to all of you. He has the power to completely revolutionize your life, to transform it, to restore it. He can bring you from death to life. He is God and He is the whole point!

Oh tempest tossed souls wherever you may find yourself in life, God is already there. He has heard your prayers and He knows exactly what you need. He does not exist to point out your imperfection, He desires instead to reveal His perfection to you. He wants to show you real life, not some imitation. He desires to give you true, complete and lasting freedom. He seeks not your religious obligation, He longs for your love. He wants you to experience a fantastic life now culminating with a life that will last forever with HIm. He is and always will be the point of it all. Find God, find life. He is the point!

Just some good thoughts…

In Need of Repair?


Stop-trying-to-fix-yourselfHave you ever confessed that you have been working on yourself as if you needed some type of repair? Or, have you used phrases such as, “I’m trying to be better, or I’m a work in progress?” Well, these things may actually be true in some sense. We all could benefit from some revisions, some adjustments I suppose. After all, we are all imperfect creatures in one way or another. But, have you ever considered that you might be just fine exactly the way you are? Behind all of our noble and sincere efforts to be better, hides an enemy whose goal is to make us feel less than who we actually are. He assaults our hearts with accusations and endeavors to write a narrative about our lives that isn’t true. He seeks to point out what is wrong with us instead of all the things that are right. And, in the end, we end up feeling bad about ourselves and searching for ways to improve. So the question is, are you really in need of repair or have you simply been focusing on the wrong stuff?

Almost since the beginning of the world we have all been subjected to an enemy that works in secret. Our opponent knows that in order to defeat us, he has to convince of things that are not true. In his hatred for God and all that is good, he takes his anger out on God’s creation and does so by working people over in their thought life to the point that they start to believe those wrong things are true. It is not by accident that most people feel unworthy before God and do all sorts of things in an attempt to improve their standing. People have magnified their faults and their failings above God and have in error taken those false ideas unto themselves. Nobody feels good enough and almost no-one maintains a healthy view concerning who they are. Instead people become consumed with themselves and drive themselves to the brink to be better, to get better, all the while being ignorant of the truth that God, in the work of His son, has already made them better. People, good people, have learned to accept the falsehoods, not knowing any better, and in so doing carry around a perpetual need for improvement in their hearts. Instead of accepting the value God has given them, they seek to earn their value by the things that they do; by their accomplishments; by their societal standing. Meanwhile, deep down in their hearts, they still feel inferior and act as if something is always wrong with them. It never dawned on them that the things they are thinking, the words they are considering, the ideas they hold about themselves have been manipulated and twisted. People are not inherently evil, the adversary is evil. The wrongs that people do are always due to the influence of evil in one capacity or another. If there were no evil there would be no sin, no error, no mistakes. But, there is evil and it is that same evil that accuses you of being something you are not. Evil accuses you of being what it is. You are not broken and in need of repair.

The function of evil is perhaps the most misunderstood thing in the world. God does not convict you of sin, evil does. God does not exist to point out your shortcomings and remind you of your failures, evil does that. God is not behind all of that self-focus and sin-consciousness that plagues you day by day, evil is. In not knowing or understanding the nature of God versus the nature of evil, mankind is forever subjected to lies and deceptions aimed at breaking him down first in his mind, then later in his heart. Once those falsehoods have been inculcated into your heart, you will struggle to believe God for even the most simple things in life. Your so-called unworthiness will render you afraid and helpless against an opponent that only wants to hurt you, steal from you and ultimately defeat you. The spiritual competition that rages demands that you pay attention and recognize what is going on. People spend their entire lives plagued by the mistakes of their past accepting full and complete responsibility for them. They learn, by endless repetition, to focus on their shortcomings and foibles never actually considering that all that was ever wrong with them has been remedied by God in the perfect life of His son. In this, though they may have been deeply broken, they are broken no longer and in need of no revision whatsoever. Sure there will always be more to learn, adjustments to make, but in their heart and in their spirit they have been completely repaired and made pure. What a revelation to the heart of man. My friend, you do not have to try and fix yourself, you have already been fixed.

From your heart, as the Bible says, proceed the issues of your life. Your life will be both blessed and cursed by those things you carry in your heart. When you spend your days dragging around all that is wrong with you; all of your shortcomings; all of your past failures, you weaken and damage your own heart. You look for and expect bad things because you have been convinced that you deserve it. When good happens upon you, instead of enjoying it, you look askance waiting for the trouble that will surely follow. In this you have been deceived. The deception will always drive your focus back to yourself; to the things you may be doing wrong and to things you should be doing that you are not doing. Instead of looking at God with great gratitude and humility, your focus will be squarely upon yourself and your imperfections. And by doing so, you have been artfully tricked into looking in the wrong places. And sadly, the more you delve into the imperfection of your human flesh, the more things not to like will you discover. This is not God’s will for your life. God has given you complete and perfect freedom and He did it by the works of another man. You are not in dire need of repair as you have been told (often), you need to change what you have been looking at instead. Focus on God’s perfection!

The idea that humans have great need of repair is a plague that assaults all of mankind. Have you ever thought that maybe you aren’t so bad? Maybe the mistakes you have made pale in comparison to all of the good things you have done. Maybe you aren’t secretly evil and looking to do bad things or things that hurt other people. Likely, you are just the opposite. The fact that you actually care about what is right informs you that the former cannot be true. Yet, the accuser, your personal adversary, seeks to convince you otherwise. The solution to this dilemma isn’t to work harder on yourself, garner more discipline, exert more effort. Doing so simply admits the error of your starting premise; namely that something is wrong with you. Instead of working harder on yourself, the remedy is to turn your attention away from yourself. Stop analyzing yourself; your motives; your every move. Stop it! Every time you consider and entertain the thought that God hasn’t made you perfect, you will feel the need to add to God’s already finished work. And, you cannot get more finished than finished! Put your focus on God and what He says is true. Embrace who He has made you to be, no matter how much of a stinker you were. Stop judging yourself, comparing yourself, and berating yourself. There is something behind every wrong done and that someone isn’t you. Thank God you have already been repaired.

My dear friends, it is time to step off the treadmill of the world and start living how God wants you to live. You have been made free in every conceivable sense. Live your life and enjoy your life, even the bad days. Accept and embrace your imperfections knowing that you are just like the rest of us. Put an end to your consideration of the false narrative and believe who God says you are instead. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for you. You may as well enjoy what he did. After all, that is what he died for! Are you in need of repair? I should say not. You are wonderful just the way you are…

Just some good thoughts…

Live Your Own Life…


living-your-own-life2In this country and perhaps other countries, people have been forced into a performance based existence. The message, all have been asked to conform to is a message that purports your value is based upon the things that you do. The higher your achievements, the more your success, the more superior person you must be. Professions are ranked whereby doctors and lawyers are notably above teachers and laborers. In this, people have been pressed to do better and be better leaving themselves perpetually disappointed and chronically discouraged often falling short of societal expectations. Folks even endeavor to add performance measures to their relationship with God and end up doing all sorts of things they really don’t want to do in the name of being good and acceptable before Him. Namely, the harder you work to be approved, the more of God’s favor you will enjoy in your life. And this, as can be found in all performance based systems of the world, leaves a man or a woman fractured and broken in terms of their value and ever in need of remedy and repair!  Thus knowing, we ought to have the manhood to make our own choices and in the end, live our own life. Are you living your own life?

Where did we ever get that idea that our persistent need to perform well was to be so closely aligned to the value we have as people on the earth? The value of a person has been assigned by God who views all of His creatures with the same love and acceptance. We need not prove ourselves to anyone. Neither should we allow ourselves to fall prey to people’s judgments and requirements for their approval. The things we choose to do in life; the direction we purpose to go; the decisions we make, the thousandfold decisions we must make, should always rest squarely with ourselves alone coming directly from our own volition and blessed free will. Trying to live your life in accordance with other people’s expectations leads only to a miserable life. Accordingly, every time you judge yourself, every time you lower your opinion of yourself, every time you reduce your value in comparison to another, you do yourself and the great God that made you a disservice. You are saying, in effect, that God somehow made in a mistake in the crafting of your own life, else left you without some advantage others freely enjoy. And in your confusion you task yourself with all manner of requirements you must fulfill in order to be acceptable both to men and to God, neither of which has been required of you. You will never please all the people and you never need to please the God who is already pleased with you. Live your own life.

Every man, every woman that is among us is absolutely unique and unmatched in terms of their individuality. Each has something to offer that they and only they can provide. Each person’s taste is wholly different, though similar in places, and every person’s pleasures and aversions are distinct. To try and live your life chasing other people’s desires or to perform in accordance with what another thinks is right for you is certain destruction of every chance at happiness. Happiness can only be obtained by choosing your own path and even then by first basing your value not on what you do but who you are. You need not further consume yourself with an endless list of duties required to be performed or any other activity that steals away your repose. People, maybe even you, drive themselves to exhaustion in order to check all the boxes and finish all the lists. You must strive to be the best mom, the best professional, the best wife and add to that the best looking, the most fit infinitum at all times in all ways. You have to be the most successful, have the biggest house, drive the best car while adorning yourself with the muscles of a twenty year old, a full head of hair and the ability to fix all that might be broken, knowing all that must be known. Perform, perform, perform, do, do, do… The things you might like, the areas of life that turn you on, the experiences you secretly wish for all must be sublimated under the mighty hand of accomplishment and success. In this, we don’t actually live our lives but live someone else’s life, hoping somewhere down the road the paths might cross. It’s time to live your own life…

Living your own life requires that you be honest with yourself. It suggests you take back what is yours instead of playing to the crowd, trying to please the crowd, seeking the approval of the crowd. The problem with performance is that it suggests you must perform at all times in all ways. You never quite have time to take off the mask, to get off the stage, to cease from performing and just be. You feel as if your quiet time must be filled with noise and your unproductive time (so called) be filled with productivity. The job requires forty or fifty hours per week and when the job is silent, the remaining time must be filled with to do lists and other work to be done. And while work is always noble and necessary, just how much of you want to do has always been up to you. Somewhere someone tricked us into believing that the majority of our efforts must be concentrated on the things we enjoy less leaving a small percentage of time for things we enjoy more. We chastise ourselves for sleeping in, for being ill, for not giving one hundred percent even when all we have left is maybe fifty percent. We measure and evaluate and scrutinize ourselves assigning negative motives for pursuit of things we like and dogged responsibility for the things we must simply endure. It is no wonder we remain exhausted and unenthused. We need to get off the treadmill and refuse to get back on it. The things we actually must do are far less than we may have assigned. In order to live our best life, we must live our own life. We have to protect and guard our free will and make choices not out of the fear of what we have to do in favor of things we want to do that we chose and that we support. God has made us free to choose without fear of retribution as error carries within it its own lessons. To live your own life is to choose for yourself!

Perhaps at the very heighth of performance behavior is the behaviors people have falsely associated with God and morality and whatever it is you want to call the things that plague our souls begging to be completed by the power of our own hands. They act as if God maintains a giant ledger anxious to collect owed money and funds in arrears. They seek improvement where improvement is not possible and reject God’s grace for the life they must perform now. They work the works of hypocrisy assuming God is unaware of the behavior absent their hearts. They say words they don’t want to say, do things they do not want to do, perform works they would rather not perform all in the name of pleasing God; God who is already pleased with them. The harder they work and strive and say no and deny and hold back and refuse, the more they fail never considering that their behavior exposes the lack of value they feel in their hearts. They work to be approved never considering the futility of the task. They dishonor God not by doing unworthy works but by thinking they can outwork grace; God’s unearned and unmerited divine favor in their lives. And most sadly of all, they think their value before God is based on their behavior in this life, behaviors that can somehow be shaped into holiness before Him. They ignore the sacrifice of their Savior and count his finished work unfinished and needing further revisions. It would be better for them to choose nothing at all than to work with hearts that are not in it; doing works they neither endorse or enjoy. Living your own life is not to live at cross purposes with God, but to live honestly and authentically, being true to yourself and true to those with whom you might encounter. It’s about loving God first and loving yourself also. It’s about knowing your value and not allowing it to be dwindled away on things that do no matter; things that do not count. Live your own life with God. He meets you where you are!

It is certainly not easy to break the chains of bondage and fear based requirements, but it can be done and do it you must. Your happiness depends upon it. The world with its endless checklists and comparisons will exhaust you. You will never measure up in the world’s eyes no matter how hard you work. Instead you must decide to remain true to yourself and stop breaking and folding yourself for others. Your ideas, your thoughts are not always wrong and the direction you secretly dream of is the direction you must go. Your value before God is estimable and it is your job to act like it. Stop performing. Get off the treadmill. Give yourself a break and just be the person you want to be. It doesn’t need to be any harder than that! Live your own life, my friends.

Just some good thoughts…

Hey Happiness, Where are You?


Jan21_12_525848907Happiness is probably the most sought after thing in the world. Thus, the sum of all questing can be found in successfully answering the one simple question, “Why am I not happy?” People attribute a myriad of reasons for not finding happiness ranging from not having enough money to not having the right relationship yet often they fail to find happiness while enjoying both. Is it really the absence of something you want that thwarts or retards your efforts in finding happiness or is it something else? Is happiness something that just sort of falls upon you when the circumstances are favorable or is there more to the story you have thus far failed to consider? What if the pursuit of your long lost happiness is not based on any of these things at all? Is it possible that the happiness that is your birthright eludes you because something or someone is stealing it from you? Oh hey happiness, where are you?

In order to be truly happy you first have to become free. Wherever and whenever you enjoy freedom your happiness will be evident. Your mind, your heart functions best when it is unencumbered or held back by any constraints. Think back to those times in your life when you experienced abundant happiness. It is safe to say that in those times of almost unending happiness, you were also virtually carefree in your approach to life. You were not dragging around a litany of complaints concerning your situation, nor were you full of fear concerning your future. You enjoyed who you were and where you were in life. You didn’t fill your mind with expectations about what you should be and you were not comparing yourself to others. In those times, your heart was not burdened or overloaded with cares and you just expected things to work out. In fact, you didn’t give the possibility of things not working out any space between your ears. You refused entree’ to the dark side of life and trusted that good things were probably preparing for you. In this you lived as God would have you to live! And in unity with that type of thinking your happiness overflowed and filled your soul. Then, as time marched on, imperceptibly at first, your thinking began to change. You recalled your early years as fanciful and lacking the mature thought that accompanied adulthood. You regaled thoughts of seriousness and responsibility and concerned yourself with “realism” more in accordance with the mechanisms of the world you observed, convincing yourself that adult thought must also take into consideration all of the multitude of pitfalls that could befall a person in life and in so doing unknowingly traded away your happiness for fear.

The number one cause and in many instances the only cause for your complete lack of happiness is fear. Look no further. End the research project early. It is fear that manages to suck the life out of God’s creation and it is fear that is impeding you today. Oh it doesn’t look like fear or seem to fit the accepted definition of fear, but it is still fear. Unresolved fear and its myriad companions work behind the scenes to put limits on your existence and to freeze you in your tracks. Fear impedes and thwarts your forward progress. Fear adds clouds to your sunny days; steals your energy for doing; casts dispersions on your good enjoyed and threatens your future. Fear locks you into a prison, a prison you cannot easily discern yet confines you just the same. Fear adds a “yes, but” and puts a question mark where an exclamation point belongs. As fear’s prisoner, you are no longer free to enjoy your life in the moment or your accomplishments. You have a difficult time enjoying anything because of the carefully crafted restraints that have been built into your thinking. You are or have become a prisoner in a self-made prison hole. You perpetuate the lie that fear is by your persistence in giving it entree’ into your mind. You think fear; look for fear; believe fear and live a life controlled by fear! You are not happy because fear has gained ascendency in your life. Instead of doing what you would like to do, pursuing things that make your heart sing, living as a truly free man or woman, you live a life controlled by fearful thinking threatening to break up and destroy all that is beautiful and good. In this you have become a slave, a slave to fearful thinking and subsequent fearful actions. Every move you make in fear produces more fear and it seems as if there is no escape. In this you are unhappy and will remain unhappy until you can finally understand what is going on! Fear is a liar and is the cause behind every unhappiness there is.

Whether you like it or not or believe it or not, fear is the veiled intruder you have overlooked. Fear must be challenged and overcome. Every happy person you know has overcome at least some if not all of its claims. In order to be a free person you have to be free from fear. As long as there is some aspect of life that frightens you or has the power to stall your efforts, you will remain bound. You have to take it on! And the number one method for defeating fear is not found in your bravado or recklessness or unrelenting discipline, it is found in your resolute decision to stop giving it access to your life. Stop entertaining it, playing with it, considering it and giving it space. How quickly a pleasant day or pleasant time is cut short by the entrance of some unreasonable fear thought left unchecked. How miserable a life becomes when fear puts its shackles around your free will and stops your enjoyments and your fun. The absence of your happiness alone is sufficient evidence that fear has its claws on you, grasping you and robbing you of all of your joy. The escape you seek; the freedom your heart desires; the happiness that eludes you is found on the other side of that fear that has been controlling your life. Take your life back!

The number one enemy that you must contend with in this life is fear. You don’t have to work hard to produce happiness, happiness comes naturally as a result of your freedom. Once you begin to finally escape the tyranny of things and extricate yourself from the clutches of fear, you will find your happiness returns like the carefree smile on a child’s face, unencumbered by the innumerable illusions concerning what can go wrong and why. God has called you and I to freedom whereby He can bestow all manner of goodness upon us as any loving Father would desire. Seek God’s help to overcome your fear and, for goodness sakes, be honest with Him about how you have been living. All human beings will be confronted with fear and the good Lord knows that. But enduring happiness is found in them obey God’s great command to “fear not” and choose love instead. Do you want to find your missing happiness? Get rid your fear…

Just some good thoughts…

Trust Thyself…


0DC96196-7988-42E6-8455-28A57F00DEC8One of the great hallmarks of a confident person is their ability to trust themselves. In order to be successful at anything, you have to learn to trust yourself; your judgments; your feelings and to maintain that trust in the face of opposition and the naysayers. Prosperous businessmen and women are so because they had an idea and also had the holy boldness to see it through to a positive, profitable end. Good parents are those that know and understand their children and also know what is and isn’t good for the child, regardless of what anyone else seems to be doing. In our world of endless information and advice, people have relied less and less on what they think and have instead defaulted to what everyone else thinks. People have stopped thinking for themselves and severely limited themselves in the process. It would seem to make the most sense that you, living in your own body, experiencing your own life, knowing what turns you on and what turns you off, having your own unique and personal background, would serve as the expert of things pertaining to your own soul. Do you trust yourself?

The mistrust of yourself and your own ability to make proper judgments isn’t a new phenomenon, but rather came as a result of the overload of information available to all of us today, literally at our fingertips. Information, Google, WebMD, YouTube videos can be a tremendous blessing if we take them for what they are, information. As humans, our job is to gather information and then make informed choices. But, not all of our choices are purely fact based or, for that matter, in accordance with what “experts” think. We bring so much more to the table than a capacity to research information. We have complicated feelings, intuition, gut feelings, our own experiences and background all available to aid us in making the right choices, and by right I mean the right choices for ourselves. Taking a certain job in a certain place may appear to be the most logical thing in the world and still not be the best choice for us. Something may look right, feel right, be logically right, yet something inside says it’s wrong. I often think that God working in us is much more individual than we may have considered. How God works in me with all of my personal attributes and weaknesses may vary vastly from how He works in you. Certain things communicate both immediately and clearly to me that would be completely lost on you and vice versa. Trusting thyself is learning how God works in you always for your good and also learning how other things try to work in you to get you to doubt yourself and your ability to choose.  For example, people erroneously conclude that the nagging voice inside finding fault with everything they might enjoy comes from God, yet fail to consider that the constant criticism comes from another place; one hell bent on keeping them unsure. Trusting yourself means that you believe in yourself and your capacity to know what you need to know when you need to know it. Trust thyself.

The artists and painters and poets and writers are successful only by trusting that voice inside more than the voices that surround them. Emerson aptly penned, “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.” That is not to say that every thought in our heart is truth, but rather the belief in ourselves and what we can offer to the world when applied with conviction, that is genius. Doubt is the great enemy to be vanquished. Doubting and hesitating and second guessing ourselves is a disease that carries with it all future failures and defeat. How often did we already know the right course of action, yet failed to heed it? And, every time it occurs we are reminded that indeed we already knew it. How could we ever consider that other influences would better know the best course for us never actually having been us? When we live in constant doubt of ourselves and our own decisions, we work against our own best interests and diminish ourselves in our own estimation. We make ourselves less than what we are and subjugate ourselves to the opinions of another. Then, when we are unhappy and afraid and lost, we finally get honest with ourselves and seek again according to who we are and not according to who everyone else appears to be. And, at last, we find access to the happiness and blessedness that already existed for us, working within us when we begin to trust ourselves. Indeed, trust thyself.

In the same way that we can trust ourselves and our decisions, we can also trust ourselves when we know we are making the wrong choices. Typically, we recognize when our wants and our desires are leading us down the wrong paths masquerading as fun and as pleasure. We know, if we are honest, when there is such a thing as too much and as such know how to begin to regulate ourselves without unnecessary criticism and judgment. Life is rarely all or nothing, but instead a series of necessary adjustments like the tacks of a ship sailing in the right direction. Choices are neither all or nothing, but instead modifications required to keep us in the center. All things in moderation is our safe place. To live in constant denial of things is to be a prisoner awaiting escape and finally having escaped, gone mad. Similarly, the allowance of all things without restraint or control is also a prison; one being subjected to mastery by another. Sometimes the best option is a modification that takes into account both extremes. Life is such a fluid and dynamically changing enterprise and as such requires constant adjustments which we can trust ourselves to accomplish. The notion that someone we love is heading down a spurious path without any knowledge of it is always wrong. In reality, the person suffering always knows they are suffering but has not yet come upon a solution for it. In such cases, our advice serves only as confirmation of a reality the sufferer is already experiencing. We serve our fellow man more by helping to reestablish his trust himself than in offering endless ways in which he might finally escape from his plight. In the end, it’s not until a person’s trust in their own capacity to make good choices is restored, will they be finally able to recover themselves from the snare. Relearn to trust thyself.

There is no stopping the man or the woman that finally begins to trust themselves and their assertions. Such a creature is a magnificent spectacle, confidently striding through life assured and clear and focused. Such a creature is the epitome of God’s creation, created by God to live with God and for God, assured of God’s working in his or her own soul in every situation and circumstance. Everyone admires a resolute man, even if he is wrong. There is no profit in skulking through life terrified of making a wrong choice; afraid of your own feelings; doubting your every inclination and idea. Instead, stand up and be counted. Take your place in the world on equal footing with all around you. Make your own decisions and make your own choices. Choose what you know, the best you know, when you know and stick with it. If you are wrong, you will also know. But, along that path you will have done resolutely and courageously and with that garnered the spoils of victory and success. “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” (RWE) Trust thyself!

Just some good thoughts…

Judge Not…


download (1)I have noticed, in my brief stint on earth, how people love to judge you and form opinions about the type of person you are. For awhile, as an avid red wine enthusiast, I used to post pictures of myself on Facebook trying different Cabernets, Pino Noirs, Malbecs and Merlots to name a few. My hope was that other red wine drinkers would be inspired by my posts and share some of their favorites as well. It didn’t take long before being a red wine drinker became my entire identity to the point where my wife advised, “You need to stop with all the wine posts because that is all that people think you do!” How sad? How narrow? It seems social media has morphed into a breeding ground for judgment and criticism. Some folks are angry with you for appearing to enjoy your life and, God forbid, posting pictures of yourself having fun. Other folks want to pick a fight with you concerning your views. Don’t even mention politics! Even more strange, certain people feel quite indignant that a fellow human must be exaggerating their good times and should post a more shitty, realistic view about their present situation. Again, how narrow? How sad? What is it about people that has led them to this place of criticism and harsh judgments? Why won’t they choose to judge not? 

I think the only logical explanation for the overflow of judgments is that the world and its systems has worked over the masses to the point where people are judging themselves so negatively that they can’t help but judge everyone else as well. People have been trained to search for the wrong in themselves and following a natural course, see the wrong in others as well. People judge where you work; the type of work you do; where you live or don’t live; the type of car you drive; how you dress and on into infinity. Folks just love to find out your faults, your weaknesses, so that they might feel just a little bit better about themselves. Further, those judgments are fraught with generalizations that fail to take into account the human being behind the actions. And all the time, beneath the judgments is a person that does not feel good about themselves. You wouldn’t be so quick to judge if you didn’t feel so judged yourself. In its basic essence, you tend to give out what you are inside. Judgment of people is a harsh reality festering in the heart of the one doing all the judging. You and I cannot possibly know what is going on inside another person; their motives; their reasons; their why. All we can do at best is look on the surface and form a few opinions. In this, when we judge other people, we are wrong. Judging another person has never led to improvement in a person, but instead only serves to fracture and break up the relationship. Judgment brings out cruelty in people. It offers the ever false promise of maybe feeling better about ourselves. Yet, we will never feel better about ourselves by pushing others down, no matter how justified we may feel. The way you persuade that old heart of yours is by building others up. You feel better about yourself when you hand out a little empathy, a little compassion coming from a place that knows how easy it is to get screwed up in life and how many times you have been there yourself. Sometimes what people need most from you is a pass. A great man once said, “Love sees more but is willing to see less!” A close friend of mine once remarked, “Don’t look at people too closely!” In other words, what people need most is love and a lot of forgiveness, not judgment. 

It may surprise you to know that our great God is not a fan of judgment. The reason for the law of the Old Testament wasn’t to condemn and criticize people, but rather to establish a standard for what sin was in order to send a Redeemer from sin and its claims on mankind. Jesus Christ fulfilled that just standard by living the law perfectly so you and I wouldn’t have to! Remember, Jesus came not to condemn but rather to help; to offer a sin sick and sorrowful world a chance at life. He hung out with the publicans and sinners because those are the ones that needed his help. He didn’t choose to judge people but instead left the judgment with God, whose judgment is always just. And, incredulously, that same God made a way for His precious man to escape the confines of sin and live his life without judgment because of the accomplishments of another man; His son. God’s will is that we do not judge and He gave us a way to cleanse our own hearts to help us not judge other people. Who are we to say that our own mistakes and endless foibles are any less than an another man’s errors? When we finally get a good taste of what God did for us with His son on the cross, we can finally rid ourselves of the cruelty of judgment towards other people. God works in your heart to see and love like He does. The least I can do is offer you forgiveness remembering how many times God has forgiven me.

Obviously there are times when you acknowledge wrongs done to others and you don’t have to pretend to like it. But even then, it’s not our job to judge folks. Judgment hurts people and wounds their tender hearts. Even a child knows the sooner they acknowledge their wrong done and say they are sorry, the sooner they will feel good about themselves again. Similarly, people are going to make mistakes at times; sometimes epic blunders, but when that happens they don’t need your judgment to get better, they need your love. They need your willingness to never bring it up again! And, the world would be a better place because of it. I know how easy it is to get caught up in it at times especially when everyone else seems to be doing it as well. But, it is the wrong space from which to operate. It serves no other purpose than to glorify the insidious one behind it; the one working in the situations to bring about the pain and loss; the enemy of mankind behind every wrong that was ever done. It is much better therefore, to try and live your life without all the judgment, beginning with yourself. Give yourself a break and stop listening to the accuser. You are not the mistakes you have made, you are a person with a heart; a good heart. God looks on your heart! Forgive yourself for being a human and extend that heart to other people. That is what God wants you to do. 

At the end of the day, this life is challenging enough without judging people from here to breakfast. Folks have enough challenges to surmount without the added pressure of negative judgments. Someone might be behaving like a real stinker right now, but haven’t you been that stinker yourself at times? Not being judgmental does not require that you ignore all of the wrongs done in this life, but rather asks for compassion for your fellow man. You don’t know all that is involved, only God knows that. Let God do the judging and know that He desires for all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Who knows, maybe your acts of compassion and empathy might be all a person needs to finally turn their life around. Love people like your Momma loved you! Judge not! 

Just some good thoughts…

Living Your Best Life…


5-30-people-jumpingI’m sure you already know this by now, but our time on the earth is frightfully short. What seems like forever when we are twenty quickly turns into forty, fifty, then enter our sixties and beyond. And even though us believing types can look forward to the opportunity to live forever, life on this planet is short, damn short. We have a finite number of days to live this life and more importantly to enjoy our time here. For this reason alone, we owe it to ourselves to live our best lives now. What will it take for you to be living your best life now?

It seems near the top of our pursuits is built into us the desire to be happy. We all know and love how happy feels, yet we aren’t always happy. We let circumstances and people and unresolved situations get on top of us and rob us of our enjoyment. We get caught up in things that don’t help us nor lead us to our own personal fulfillment. We waste days and months and years being afraid of things and doubting ourselves from sunup to sundown. In short, we don’t cooperate with our own selves to do the things that bring about our best lives, being the best person we can be in each category of our experience. Instead, we work at cross purposes with ourselves and work against our own best interests. We don’t properly honor ourselves nor give ourselves a chance to get it right. We judge ourselves, berate ourselves, punish ourselves and hurt ourselves. We live amidst a perpetual state of seeking, yet not obtaining; striving, yet not making progress; attempting, but failing and never actually arriving at the place we see so clearly in our hearts. And, the million dollar question is why?

I think the main reason this happens to us is because we refuse to take on the central issues of our lives. We know we desperately need more money, but don’t do the things required to make more money. We live with some negative aspect of our personality, yet never take it to heart and resolve ourselves to repair it. We settle for less than we deserve across a multitude of spectrums. We know the changes we need to make in our relationships, yet spend a lifetime playing the victim, instead of speaking up and saying what it is we really need and want. We know very clearly the changes that are needed, yet are loathe to make the changes. We have all the excuses in the world and we stand by them. And, if we are honest, it usually isn’t our whole lives that need revision, but instead a few pivotal themes that hold us back from being the person we know to be. For this reason, we owe it to ourselves to take on the challenges in our lives and win the fights. Our best life is waiting for us to do it.

There is still another important variable in beginning to live our best lives and that variable is time. The competition we are all in means at times things will challenge us and confront us and even in some cases, assault us. We are in a fight; a fight between good and evil. When we are winning the fight, we will be living our best lives. When we are losing the fight, even temporarily, we will not be living our best lives and will instead be succumbing to fear and misery and defeat. Whole lifetimes can be lost to fear; to guilt and self-judgment; in circumstances that appear beyond our control or ability to impact. Yet, that is when we are being deceived. There is always something we can do to remedy situations because God is on our side. And most importantly, the time to fight back is when you are in the fight. Waiting and waiting to take on areas of your life you know are defeating you is simply prolonging your own happiness and joy. You may not know all of the variables yet, but you do know where you struggle. Once you become more clear concerning the brevity of life, the more important it will become to you to deal with and resolve the issues of your life. And as much as you may not want to hear it, you have to fight back. You have to quit assuming you were dealt a lousy hand; didn’t get the advantages that others enjoy; have suffered more than your fair share of difficulties. All of those things may be quite true because we have a cruel opponent, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot overcome and ride on the high places of the earth. Living your best life equals having a willingness to take on those areas that cause you suffering and to take them on now!

Living our best lives is being happy and enjoying our experience of life. Life is to be enjoyed. All of that striving and working and pressing and grinding, though it may lead you somewhere, is the tell-tale sign you are trying to do it without God. You are driving yourself to the bone to obtain something God would freely give you if you let Him. Sure you must work, sure you have to supply effort, sure you need to engage yourself with your whole heart, but your best life will be found when you stop trying to control every aspect of your own life and let God do what He promised He would do. You cannot control the world, other people or the adversary for that matter. But, you can control your thinking and stop allowing those negatives to shape your life. You can choose to stop allowing your opponent to define the narrative concerning what you must have; what you must have accomplished; who you must be in order to be happy and instead define those things for your own self. You will find that your personal happiness and fulfillment will come as a result of making your own way in accordance with the things that matter most to you. Your best life is your happiest life, your most enjoyable life. What things take away your happiness? What obstacles impede your ability to enjoy life? What things are you doing and saying to yourself that limit you and cause you to settle for less than the best; God’s best? That my friends is the best place to start and you need to start right now!

Living your best life is loving and appreciating this experience we call life and learning how to do it in the best way. We are all on our own personal journey with warnings and signposts along the way. Pay attention to things and carefully note those aspects of life that curtail your enjoyments; take away your peace; severely hamper and impede your progress and set about to defeat them. Take things on with God’s loving help along the way. The God who invented life knows exactly how to live it and He wants you to discover that for yourself. He dislikes religion and obligatory activity even more than you do. You won’t find your best life listening to everything people say is wrong. You’ll find it when you begin to trust your own heart and do the things that lead to your own personal fulfillment and happiness. You can be everything you always wanted to be in every aspect of life, if you’ll just get serious about getting there.

This life we are living is frightfully short, but won’t you be glad in the end that you found happiness and love along the way? Live your best life now. You owe that to yourself!

Just some good thoughts…