Trust What You Know…

There’s an epidemic in the world today and it is people not trusting what they think.  Did you ever know something to be true and then second guessed yourself to death only to find out that what you “thought” you knew, you really did know?  Yeah, me too.  I remember when my son Chris was playing youth football in Layton.  He landed funny and sprained his thumb on the ground.  When we saw his thumb it was clearly twisted and facing in the wrong direction.  We rushed him to the Emergency Room at Davis Hospital (btw don’t go there…).  The ER doc took some x-rays and said his thumb was only sprained.  Then they put it in a cast.  We “knew” that his thumb was facing in the wrong direction and wondered how his thumb was going to get back into the right position sitting inside that immobilizing cast.  We asked the doctor and he said that eventually the swelling would go down and it would be okay…  We couldn’t get it out of our minds because we couldn’t imagine how a twisted thumb would become untwisted when the swelling went down.  Yet, because we were talking to a doctor, we let it go.  You see we knew something wasn’t right, but didn’t trust what we thought enough to take further action.  Two pitiful weeks later we took him to a specialist at McKay Dee Hospital because we “knew” something wasn’t right.  The specialist took x-rays and immediately scheduled him for surgery because…you guessed it…his thumb was not only twisted in the wrong position, but now it was setting in the wrong position.  Long story short the doctor repaired his thumb and all that was left was a little scar, not only on his thumb, but in our minds for “knowing” something was wrong and not acting on it right away.

So, why do we accept everyone’s opinion except our own in life’s situations?  Because we don’t trust ourselves and believe in ourselves enough to walk out on what we “know” with confidence.   Can you imagine that every successful innovator; every successful entrepreneur; every trend setter, started out with a host of folks who said it wouldn’t work and maybe only one (them-self) who thought it would?  We are so trained to doubt what we think and blindly accept what everyone else thinks.  But, only you know you, right?  Maybe God is working in you for something fantastic that will change the world, but you won’t act on what you know.  Maybe…  Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way (we think a lot alike, right?):

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

See what I’m saying?  (Read that quote again…)

The only difference between many of the people we call great; those we quote; those we admire, is that they spoke or acted on what they knew and didn’t stop and wait around to get the world’s approval first.  We need to have that kind of boldness!  Make a decision and move!  How many ideas have you had that got you really excited?  What kind of things do you do, that are easy for you, and are well done when you do them?  (More RWE..sorry)  Newsflash!  Those are the things you should pursue!  Getting a safe job in a field that you hate; to get a secure salary; to settle for a quiet life of suburbia and minivans – isn’t really living if you were born to climb the Himalayas, explore the Peruvian jungle or start a vineyard in Northern California.  Nothing wrong with the suburbs, but wrong for you if you settled.

I’ve often thought that success in life isn’t in always making the right decisions, but rather in just “making” decisions – right or wrong.   Make a choice!  Decide!  Do that thing!  Pursue it, man/woman!  Quit hedging, quit making a “what if it won’t work plan,” quit trying to be so safe.  Haha  I know, been there, done that!  I really like to write.  Maybe I should write a book.  What if it sucks?  What if no-one reads it?  Who am I to think I can write a book?  What time do I have to be at work tomorrow?  See it?  Status quo, nothing changes, nothing happens.

All of us become besieged at times with self-doubt and attacks of the “second guessing” but at the end of the day (forgive the cliché’ but it’s my favorite), all we have to do is decide on a course of action, trust that God is at work within us, and move ahead pursuing the life we have imagined.  It doesn’t require luck, it requires resolve!

Be the man or woman you have always wanted to be…

Trust what you know and never put up with a crooked thumb!


The Key to a Good Relationship ~ Communication…

The secret to any good relationship is being able to communicate successfully.  Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt like you were fighting all the time?  Well, fighting and arguing isn’t what kills a relationship!  What kills a relationship is when you decide to go into silent mode.  As long as you still feel it is worth the effort to say what you think, or disagree with what someone else thinks, your relationship maintains the potential for good.  But, if the relationship deteriorates to the point where “it just ain’t worth it” or you no longer care to say what bothers you, then the relationship is on the slippery slope downward and destined to end badly.

All of us want to have sweet, meaningful relationships with other people.  When our relationships are mostly sweet, life becomes a joy.  So, how can you have a “sweet” relationship with another person?  Well, you have to take the time to handle the issues that threaten it.  Let’s say you get home from work feeling pretty good and you are met with a bad mood from your partner.  You recognize that they are in a funky mood and now your good mood is being threatened.  Instead of getting mad or matching mood for mood, why not take the time to find out what is wrong with ’em?  That’s called having a conversation.  Now, lets say every time you come home in a good mood your partner is in a bad mood.  Well, that’s another conversation.  It bothers you, right?  So, why in the world would you spend your days with things bothering you when you can talk it over and get it straight?  If you do it well, you can do better than straight and get to sweet.

The problem with most people is that they do not take the time to get the “air” cleared.  And worse, they let stuff go day after day, quietly seething and thinking evil of the other person.  The best time to talk about things is as the things are happening.  Right now, in the moment, say what you are thinking.  Say what you like.  Say what you don’t like.  Say it, say it, say it!  You’re not looking for a fight, you are looking for the sweet.  If you delude yourself and say things like, “I don’t want the drama!” – you are setting yourself up for the big volcanic eruption.  How could it not turn out that way?  Have you ever heard people say, “I just need to get some things off my chest?”  The reason they have to get them off their chest is because they cannot remain “on their chest” for them to be okay.  If you bottle things up, hold things in, stop talking, and let things go that you shouldn’t let go – you are going to blow!  When you blow you are going to bring up 300 issues that you have been saving and you will bring them up in a way that is all out of proportion to the incident!  In short, you will sound like a crazy person; a stark, raving looney tunes person!   Chances are your anger is going to result in saying a whole bunch of things you really didn’t want to say.  Then, despite your heart-felt petitions towards the other person, your words are going to cut them like a knife.  Slice and dice – and there’s no coming back from that.

So what should you do instead?  Get into the habit of saying what you think.  Emerson said, “I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways….”  Get it?  Upright and vital means stand up and wake up!  But remember your goal is sweetness, not victory over the other person.  You can win an argument, but lose your relationship.  You can browbeat your partner, but find them getting the final say on the way out the door.  It kills me when people say awful, dreadful things and then justify it by saying, “I’m just being honest!”  That’s not honest.  Being honest doesn’t mean you have to say every silly thing that runs across your mind.  Just because you thought it, doesn’t make it valid.  Don’t let anger have its way.  Anger always follows another emotion anyway, so why not be “honest” and speak up when you were experiencing the other emotions (sadness, fear, frustration, guilt etc.).  It seems to all boil down to having some healthy self-respect.  In other words, respecting yourself enough to acknowledge that your feelings are just as important as other people’s feelings, not less important.  Your likes and dislikes are just as valid as someone else’s likes and dislikes.  Again I am reminded of Ralph Dubya (RWE) –

“I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints.”

That my friends, is honest.  There is nothing wrong with “going with the flow” or being “yielding on insignificant matters.”  That’s how we all manage to get along.  But on those matters of the heart; those things  that are important to you – you gotta speak up!  People that really love you aren’t going to stop loving you because you spoke up about some issue.  If you can’t speak up about anything to them, you need to re-evaluate that relationship.  You may surprise yourself and find out something you didn’t know before.  You might even actually learn that you had it all wrong and that the other person wasn’t thinking what you thought at all… (haha)

At the end of the day, life goes by way too fast for drama and hurt feelings.  Your life is worth it!

Those are just some good thoughts…


Clean up Your Mess…

Have you ever heard it said that our outer world often reflects our inner world?  In other words, no-one can really see into another person’s mind, but we can see another person’s environment and it will often tell us something about that person.  Oh don’t worry, I’m not going to start getting on you because you are kinda messy.  All of us can be a little messy at times.  What I’m talking about is cleaning up our mental messes, which tend to reveal themselves in our physical messes.  Have you ever watched the TV show, “Hoarders?”  If you watched the show before you have probably asked yourself how someone can live with that much filth and disorder?  However, if you follow the storyline, you will see that the psychologist connects that mountain of mess to a psychological issue in every case, every time, with no exceptions.  There is no such thing as living in a disastrous environment and being just fine and dandy in your mind.   You cannot be surrounded by clutter yet clean and clear in your mind.  You just cannot.  James Allen, my fave guy, said it this way:

“As you cannot have a sweet and wholesome abode unless you admit the air and sunshine freely into your rooms, so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene countenance can only result from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of joy and good will and serenity.”

Thoughts that are not good, when persisted in, leave their effect in our minds which later reveal themselves in our surroundings.  Have you ever visited a model home?  (Not recommended because you will hate your home when it’s time to leave! :-))  You will notice in the model homes that the design is always lean and free of clutter.  There are many beautiful items in the homes, but they have lots of free space.  Ever wonder why?  Because the beautiful things in life are not cluttered.  They are simple, distinct, open and spacious.  Have you ever lived in an apartment or home that doesn’t have enough space?  Well, how do you feel when you are there?  You feel like you have to escape, right?  Have you ever been to someone’s house that is really cluttered or really messy?  After fighting off the urge to get out of there, what do you want to do?  You instinctively want to clean up.  Then, how have you felt after embarking on a clean-up project yourself?  You feel good, don’t you.  You can finally relax, can’t you?  Can you see the connection? 

In the Bible, (well, we always end up here don’t we?) God states that all things should be done decently and in order.        (I Corinthians 14:40)  God is a God of order.  You can see the result of His handiwork when you observe nature.  His arch-enemy, our nemesis, is called the author of confusion.  Confusion is distracting and detrimental to us.  You can see the result of his handiwork when you look at a big city.  And where do you go to relax?  You go to the country or to the beach (simple, spacious, uncluttered).  You cannot see the bottom of the pool when the water is agitated, but when the water is calm, you can see everything again.  Our minds are like that.  When our minds are clear, free, unencumbered, we can see and think clearly.  When our minds are confused, messy, full of baggage and clutter, we cannot see or think properly and it reflects itself in our physical environment.  You see, we need to clean up.  Start with the physical stuff, then work on the mental stuff.  Get rid of old, hurt feelings.  Let go of the past and stop dragging it around with you like a badge of honor.  Get to the bottom of things.  Solve problems, resolve differences, clean up, clean up, clean up! 

In your mind as well as your physical environment, put things in their proper place.  Everything has a place and if something doesn’t have a place, get rid of it  (in your mind and in your surroundings).  My kids often call my wife OCD because she insists on things always being decent and in order.  But, they don’t realize that, that decent and in order home is a haven for them, a place where peace and love abounds.   

Why spend another day confused, anxious, and all out of sorts?  No-one has to live that way, if they don’t want to.  If you need help, get help.  If you have impossible problems, get in touch with God Who specializes in things called impossible.  There is nothing that you and God cannot solve!  But remember, He is a God of order and that the greatest cargoes of life come in over quiet seas.   Take some time to do a “check up from the neck up!”  Clean up, clear out and live in the spacious, free, unencumbered place that God has already laid out for you to live in…

Clean up your mess… (smile)

The Beauty and Enjoyment of a Simple Life…

A great man once said that the zest of living is increased in simplicity.  Yet, how often do we think it is just the opposite.  Have you ever stopped to think about the things “you think” would make you the most happy?  You see a huge house in the foothills and think, wouldn’t it be great if I lived there?  Would it?  How much space do you really need in a house?  Oh, I’m not promoting the tiny shoebox either as there is such a thing as too little space.  I’m talking about too much.  My home has exactly 3,000 square feet of living space.  During the holidays we have been known to actually go into the basement and stay there longer than 30 seconds.  The rest of the year…not so much.  So, what’s the point?  That no-one should have 3,000 square feet?  Haha hardly!  The point is that the arrangement of the space (5 bedrooms) worked perfectly when we had four kids at home, but not so perfectly now that we have no kids at home.  (Maybe that’s why it is for sale?)  Okay back to the gargantuan house in the foothills.  Do you know what you would do with that 10,000 square foot home?  You would use approximately 25% of it and the rest of it would sit there as a testimony to just how successful you are.  You see what you are really after is that symbol of success.  But, to earnestly pursue it and then to pay $7,000 a month for it won’t seem to make as much sense.  It seems much of life in the United States works this way.  The large SUV in the driveway is more of status symbol than a practical form of transportation.  I know this because it is almost too large for the garage; gets 12 miles to the gallon; has tires that cost $200 each and requires very large parking spaces.  So, should everyone scale down their desires, get the condo and a Smart Car?  Definitely not!  My manhood wouldn’t let me buy the Smart Car even after the vasectomy!  Haha.  My (most likely lost) point here is that the beauty and enjoyment of life is ironically found in the simple and not in the complicated.  Do you vaguely remember the old TGI-Friday’s menu?  There were about 20 pages grouped according to certain themes.  The problem was that there were so many options we didn’t know what to think.  And, by the time I got to the salads I had long since forgotten what I was leaning towards earlier.  “Ummmm…could you give us a few more minutes?”  There is such a thing as too many options.  Have you ever taken a close look at your closet?  I’m guessing (see, I don’t even know) that I have about 25 pairs of pants.  Wait that doesn’t include suit pants.  (I digress)  I also guess that I probably wear about 7 pairs on a regular basis.  There are those jeans I like; those ‘cords’ I like etc.  Towards the back there are all those pants I don’t like.  Why are they there?  LOL hmm who knows?  Dieters have all heard the catchy slogan that says, “nothing tastes as good as the first bite.”  How many times do we gorge ourselves trying to replicate the taste of that first bite?  How many delicious entrées are available at the Thanksgiving Day feast?  How many do you enjoy?   And what about the desserts?  By the time they show up I am a bite away from vomiting (smile).  How about my beloved red wine?  I’m standing at the kitchen counter, steaks are grilling outside, and people are starting to arrive for the dinner party.  I pour a glass of Cabernet and have a few delightful sips.  The “sparkle” of the wine kicks in and suddenly, God is good, life is good, and I couldn’t be happier.  Then I finish my glass and have another and then another and then another.  What happened to my sparkle?  It is replaced by a numb glaze that I now must maintain the rest of the night.  Is that what I was after?  Not really.  What I was after and am still after is the “sparkle” of the first glass.  I think life is like that…Everyone seeking after the “sparkle” of those first, first experiences.  (Again, I digress) 

Everyone loves to go on a vacation right?  What is the ‘oh-so’ glorious allure of a vacation?  Well, for me when I go on vacation I like to go somewhere that is warm and preferably has a beach.  And, of the multitude of things you could do on a vacation, what do I personally want to do?  I want to go and sit down on the beach, read my book and enjoy a cocktail.  Simplicity! 

Happiness isn’t made in the many, it is made in the few.  It is produced in simple enjoyment.  A walk on the trail in the evening with someone who you love; sitting on the back deck basking in the sunshine with a great book;  a hike in the canyon on your way to the waterfall; these are the things that inspire beauty and enjoyment in us.  A single man boasts that he enjoys being with many different women and that he can have a new woman every night.  Yet, how much happier will he be with one woman whom he loves and who loves him, that he gets to share life’s experiences with every day?  You see we all think we require so much when in reality we require so little.  We buy a new home and sit down for dinner with our little family and think to ourselves, could my life be any better?  Yet, all that changed was the location and design of our residence.  In the midst of the hCG diet there’s nothing quite so tasty and so grand as a gummy multi-vitamin.  But, when eating returns to normal, our perspective changes dramatically. 

All of us should seek to get back to the simplicity of life.  Simplify our desires, simplify our tastes and enjoy the little things.  At the end of life, no-one remembers the new car, the new house, the size of the bank account.  What we remember is the smile on our daughter’s face when we told her how pretty and smart she is or how we proud we are of her for graduating from college.  We recall the joy in the eyes of our son as he received his first offer to play Division One football, his lifelong dream.  We think how could we ever love our second grandson as much as we love the first one, yet somehow we do.  We acquiesce and joy that our oldest son faithfully takes his siblings under his wing and steers them away from life’s dangers. 

Life is simple.  Love God, love other people and rejoice in the beauty and enjoyment that is waiting around every corner for us when we look beyond the clutter and confusion of things and discover what life is really all about.


“You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”  (On the Waterfront, circa 1954) Sorry for using an old movie reference, but how many times have you engaged in the shoulda…woulda…coulda mentality?  I cannot think of a mental state more pointless or more damaging than focusing on what you should have done, would have done or could have done, when you already done did it!  (bad grammar used for emphasis…)  The laws of life being what they are, none of us can go back in time and change one iota of what happened even five minutes ago, no matter how much we wish we could.  Oh I feel you – I also wish I coulda, but I can’t.  So why even bother to do that to ourselves? 

Let’s start by understanding what you “shoulda” done.  First, you cannot judge your ‘past’ decisions in light of your ‘present’ understanding.  Let me say that again, you cannot judge your ‘past’ decisions in light of your ‘present’ understanding.  All of us make decisions about various things and we make those decisions based on our understanding in that present moment.  For example, you get into a bad habit of going out to the club and having drinks and then driving home.  You know it’s not a good idea really, but you feel you aren’t totally impaired and can handle it.  After all, nothing happened the last four times you did it.  Then, with some wrong thinking conditioning in place, you try it again expecting the same result and woooooooo, wooooooo, woooooo you get pulled over.  You fail the breathalyzer and get a DUI!  Ouch, license suspended, large fine, can’t get to work, court dates etc., etc.  You made a bad decision based on your thinking at the time.  Maybe you “shoulda” known better, but we will get to the ‘shoulda’ later.  The reality is that you made a bad decision and got burned for it.  It happened!  Now, I am guessing that you give some serious thought to taking that chance again (at least I hope…)  In other words, you might not make that choice today knowing what you know now.  But the choice you made back then…you already made.  Now, here’s where the self-abuse really kicks in.  You spend the next six months or however long you remain license-less, kicking yourself for being so stupid, so ignorant, so reckless!  Why?  Can you hear me?  Why?  You already made the mistake and in this case, already paid the price.  Lamenting, kicking yourself, beating yourself, berating yourself, does absolutely nothing to remedy the situation and does not in any way make you a better person.  You weren’t a bad person to begin with!  You made a bad choice, suffered some pain and learned a tough lesson.  End of story.  The rest of the self-flagellation is not the voice of God, my friends, it is you condemning yourself for an event you cannot undo.  The voice of God would tell you to let it go because Jesus Christ paid the price for every foolish, silly, lamentable, wrong, grievous, wacky, crazy, perverted, heinous thing you or I ever did!  Did you get that?  Every wrong thing!  So, in God’s sight what’s important is not what we ‘shoulda’ done, but rather what we do right now.  God won’t turn back the hands of time (though He did do that once in the Bible, in a different context) no matter how much we beg.  (trust me…been there, done that!)  So, spare yourself some lost time and just let it go.  Learn what you can learn and move on. 

Woulda is a similar animal to his brother shoulda.  How many times have you thought about what you would have done?  How about how very different things would have been if only you would have gone to school, would have paid more attention to him/her, would have earned more money, would have worked harder, studied more, gave more effort…if only, if only and more if only.  Okay, you know what I’m going to say, right?  You know today what you know today because of what you learned yesterday and the day before and the day before…ad infinitum (without end).  You cannot possibly put your wiser today brain in your less wise yesterday brain.  Just like you “can’t put an old head on a young body.”  Please forgive the cliché.  I used to lament the fact that I should have taken to writing when I was 25 instead of the present age (sssh), but you know what?  I did not have the capacity to organize even one thought when I was 25 let alone many thoughts.  So, you know what you know, when you know it, not a day before and not a day after.  Capiche?  You arrive when you get there, not when you are almost there or after you are already there.  You did what you wanted to do at the time because it made sense at the time.  Sure, now you would have done it differently, but alas now was not then.  Be a little kinder to yourself and stop doing that.  If what you would have done is still that important, do it now!  If you can’t do it now (I mean really can’t…i.e. play professional baseball) choose another passion and do that now!  Really!

Okay so if you aren’t totally lost in clichés, fragmented words and similar word sentences by now, let’s get to the last but certainly not least beast, “the couldas.”  Of the three, the ‘could have beens’ are the worst.  They are the worst because they represent regrets.  How sad regrets are, you know?  Sad, but unprofitable in every way.  Logically, what can I do about something that could have been, but wasn’t?  There is no end to what could have been, is there?  In the end, what I wanted to do – I did.  What you wanted to do – you did.  It may have been a poor choice; an uninformed choice, a deceived choice, an immature choice, a selfish choice or a silly choice, but in the end we chose it and it is what it is.  Regret is poison to your soul; a poison that corrupts the beauty of today.  If you regret not telling your children more how much you loved them, tell them more now.  If you regret not telling your mom how much you loved her when she was alive, trust me, if you love her that much now, then you loved her that much then, and she knew that even if you didn’t say it as much as you wished.  If you regret that you never went to college, go to college now.  Do you get it?  Don’t poison yourself with thoughts of what could have been, instead embrace today; embrace your life right now and do the thing now!  Now is all we have my friends, right now.  Life just doesn’t last long enough for regrets…

Replace all of those pointless “shoulda…woulda…couldas” with the life you are blessed to live today.  Live today as if it is your last and be everything you ever wanted to be right now.  The world needs your goodness today. The world needs your love today.  The world needs your achievements today.  Be kind to yourself, love yourself and don’t spend a moment in the past.  In the end, that’s the only thing that you ‘shoulda’ ‘woulda’ and ‘coulda’ done!

Believe in Yourself… (How to be Confident!)

Have you ever wondered how you can really know if you have confidence in yourself?  If you notice, many, many people proclaim great confidence, but aren’t really confident on the inside.  Oh they talk a good talk, but at the end of the day it’s just talk.  Some folks even use apparent boldness and aggressiveness to cover their own insecurities.  Oh and since you brought it up, everyone has insecurities about life in different areas, so there’s no shame in that.  What’s a shame is knowing you have some insecurity in an area and lying to yourself about it.  Key point – lying to yourself…  A good motto for living life is that if something scares you (that shouldn’t scare you – so we aren’t talking about jumping out of perfectly good airplanes or bungy jumping-haha) – you should “take on” that fear and get rid of it.  Contrary to public opinion and certain self-help authors, fear is never, ever good.  (Caution yes, fear no!) Fear is sand in the machinery of life as one great man once said.  So, the true basis for having confidence is a lack of fear.  When you aren’t afraid you can act with boldness and not fear the outcome.  So what is confidence according to God’s definition?

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.  Hebrews 10:35

 In this verse, confidence (Greek word-parrhesia) is defined as: 

  • free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance.
  • freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech .

I think it is very interesting that God tells us not to cast away our confidence (so that must be a distinct possibility for humans) with a promise that we will be rewarded with a great payback for keeping it!  What would cause you to “cast away” your confidence?  F.E.A.R. (False evidence appearing real) Fear is the great hold back in people’s lives.  Just ask someone why they don’t pursue the things they really want in life?  They answer with, “What if it doesn’t work?” “What if I fail and put myself/my family in jeopardy?” “What if I make a fool of myself?”  “What if other people don’t approve of my actions?”  “If I say that, what would she/he think?”  Can you see it?  The root of having a lack of confidence is fear.  Our job is to get rid of fear.  Kill it!  Squash it!  Destroy it!  My favorite author, James Allen said it this way:

“The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.” 

We learned many, many moons ago that fear really has two sources; ignorance and wrong teaching.  For example, if you have a fear of working on a computer (because you are older-smile) then your fear is based on ignorance or not knowing about something.  Now let’s say you are twenty years old and are afraid of the boogie man in the closet.  Well, experience says that when you look in the closet he isn’t there, so that is probably based on wrong teaching.  Someone told you when you were a wee little person that if you didn’t behave that ol’ boogie man would get you!  Clear?  ~Ignorance and wrong teaching.  So, logically you can eliminate fear with instruction and right teaching.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that the meaning of “doctrine” in the Bible is literally, “how to believe rightly!”  Right believing, right teaching eliminates wrong teaching.  Okay so let’s apply this to you and your confidence level.  More often than not, we have learned things incorrectly.  In other words, how we think things work are not really how things work.  Someone taught us incorrectly!  Our job then is challenge the things that make us afraid and prove to ourselves that we have no need for fear.  Action cures fear! 

How many good ideas have we had that we failed to act upon?  How many times did you recognize an opportunity but didn’t move on it?  If we know something and fail to act on what we know, it is a sure indicator that we lack confidence in ourselves.  A good indicator of self-confidence is being able to trust our conclusions and not second guess ourselves.  Many times we don’t trust ourselves and seek confirmation from other people.  However, I can assure you that many successful people acted on something they knew, despite the thousand voices that were contrary to them.  We all need help and guidance from other people, but there comes a point when we have to decide for ourselves.  The great ideas and the great changes that have happened in the world have happened because someone dared to walk out on something they believed.  There’s no safety in public opinion, only safe, secure, little dead-ends!  There is no such thing as risk-free living.  But, you can educate yourself and make that risk something you can manage. 

At the end of the day, self-confidence comes from believing.  Believing is really trusting; trusting in God and then trusting that He is at work within you; helping you get to where you really want to go!  Knowing this, you can walk out with confidence.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck, no matter how many smart folks tell you it’s not.  Learn to trust yourself! 

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Every heart my friends, every heart!

It’s a New Day…

Well, it’s officially 2012 and the New Year is upon us.  I’m sure you made some great resolutions about how this year is going to be different.  I think when it comes to resolutions for the future, the more simple the better.  And, if we are honest, there are really only certain segments of our lives that we would like to change.  Oh it may seem like there are so many undesirable elements we need to fix, but in reality it probably boils down to some central, core issue or problem.  So our job is to figure out that one area that gives us pain.  If you have ten things on your New Year’s resolution list, you probably have too many.  So take some time to think a little deeper about what’s bothering you.  Do you want to lose weight because you need to in order to be healthy and live longer or do you need to lose weight so that you fit within the “world’s definition of sexy?  Are you seeking more money because you have unmet needs and things that need to be addressed or are you trying to measure up to the “world’s” status symbols of what “living the good life” looks like?  Another way to think about this is, is what you are seeking really what you are seeking?  If you are pursuing a loving relationship with someone else, are you making yourself the ‘best you’ that you can be or are you hoping that special someone will somehow complete you?  In order for a relationship to work best each partner must contribute something of value to the other person.  If you had “issues” before the relationship you will not only have them during the relationship, but they will be magnified.  If you feel unsatisfied, alone, lacking purpose, bored etc., will those things be resolved once you get more money, a new car, a spouse, or a new job?  Probably not.  So maybe if you take it a little deeper, what you really need is a true and vital relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Maybe what you thought you needed isn’t what you really needed at all.  Just maybe…

So, with all that being said, what does this have to do with the title of this blog?  (I know, you just looked up and thought, what is the title of this blog?)  A lot, actually!  Us humans have a very bad habit.  We think that by focusing on our faults and everything we don’t have and don’t do right will somehow, in some inexplicable way, get us to a good result or make us better.  Interestingly, no other realm of life works successfully that way.  Hmmmm…Okay, you are a Dad raising your first son and teaching him how to succeed in life.  After teaching him some basics like it’s okay to make food messes, point out the size of your poop in the toilet, jump off stairs and throw things in the house as long as it’s accurate and thrown well, you proceed to help him become a better person.  So, here’s your strategy:  during his every waking hour you tell him what he does wrong, why it was wrong and how wrong he is for doing it.  You do not make any mention of anything he might do right and instead keep focusing him back to how off the mark he is.  You do this every day without relenting and then magically at age 18 ~voila` ~ he turns into a gentleman and a scholar!  Nah, you know better, right?  He will be a confused, insecure, lacking confidence, 18 yr. old, unable to make a good decision about anything because you whipped the life right out of him!  None of us can hope to achieve our dreams in life by perpetually focusing on what we do wrong.  Although, we sure seem to think it works that way, don’t we?  You cannot beat yourself up day after day, ignore the 95% of things you did right and focus on the 5% you did incorrectly.  Seems illogical at best.  You cannot spend your precious minutes each day dragging around that mountain of yesterdays, while you try to forge into future.  In order to get where you want to go, you have to recognize it is a new day.

Can you imagine what life would be like if there were not 24 hours in a day?  Every 24 hours we get a brand new day, ripe with opportunities to go in the direction of our dreams.  No matter what has gone on in the day, the night comes, we go to sleep and get to start all over again.  What if you were having a really bad day and that day never ended?  Haha-that would kinda suck, wouldn’t it?  So how wonderful it is that God gave us a daily reminder of our potential new beginning.  We need it.  Just look at our seasons.  Winter comes, things look kind of bleak, then Spring comes and everything comes back to life.  God’s desire for our life is a perpetual new beginning. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  II Corinthians 5:17

We all need to be refreshed and start again.  One way we can start again is to forget the yesterdays (those we don’t want to remember) and look forward to what lies ahead.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before… Philippians 3:13

So, as you move into 2012 remember the good things from 2011 and forget about all of the rest.  Focus in on the person you would like to be and not the person you were last year.  Set your sights on all the blessings and fun you want to enjoy this year.  Remind yourself of all the things you do well.  Look around at the great life you are already living.  Narrow your list down and then go about the things that really matter and do it one day at a time.  It truly is a new day! 

Happy day after New Year’s Day!