Relax your mind…

The family was in town from Kansas City and Denver for the bi-annual family reunion.  So, I decided before everyone came to Utah that I was going to spend the time thinking of nothing else but my family and that I was going to be fully present and enjoy every moment we had together.  I finished up all of my work on Wednesday; crammed in some long, arduous time on my Master’s Degree and prepared myself for the celebration.  And man, did we have fun!  One activity after another and nothing but a whole lot of love.  But after everyone left today I realized something very interesting.  Something happened that I totally didn’t expect!  I found myself completely at peace and totally relaxed…  So, you might ask, what is the learning exactly?  The learning, found in the crucible of human experience, is that a peaceful and relaxed mind comes not so much from what you think about, but rather what you decide not to think about!  All of us spend so much time fretting over things and all that fret is to no avail.  No-one ever solved an issue in their life by stewing over it, in fact just the opposite occurs.  We get so focused on our problems that our problems become our life.  And if it’s true that what you focus on, you become, then eventually you just become a big, fat problem.  No-one wants to live that way.

If you are like most people, and I assume you are, you eventually learned as an adult that life is full of pitfalls waiting to bash you over the head.  You can’t ever really relax because if you do ~ WHAMMO! ~ something is going to get you!  You see, somehow we got the message that to relax means you aren’t handling your business and like when you let your tags expire on the car, the cops aren’t far behind.  Now we all know that ‘ridin dirty’ causes more stress than it’s worth, but do you really think that all that worry and angst is useful?  You’re scared to death of catching or developing some disease, but did you ever stop to consider that you really don’t have any control over disease.  Sure you can make some healthy choices! Sure you can do your best to stay fit, but disease doesn’t seem to adhere to those patterns does it?  In reality disease is spiritual, but that might be the subject of another blog!  You’re terrified that your kids are going to “get got” so you brood over them night and day, never taking into consideration that you perhaps didn’t “get got” and by some miracle you are reading this today.  Well, the world was safer then!  LOL No it wasn’t!  You were safer then because you weren’t so dang afraid!   We worry over not having enough money!  We stress over being too fat!  We need a newer, larger house; a better car; more vacations and much more wine!  In reality what we really need is to learn how to relax…  We need to concern ourselves with following our best laid plans and then simply letting be what’s gonna be.

If we didn’t have God as our Father then perhaps we would need to have some concern!  After all, the world is fraught with danger and difficulties.  But, when God is for me, who can be against me?  Hey, that sounded like a Bible verse!   God surely never intended for you and I to drive ourselves bananas trying to figure out all of life.  And we only try so hard to figure it all out because we are afraid!  We need to take a lesson from my grandson Braylon.  He is 100% in the moment and most of those moments are fun.  And this is the same four-year old that said God couldn’t give him strength because God didn’t have any hands!  LOL  You see young Braylon is so convinced that his Momma and Poppa will take good care of him, that he doesn’t have any time to worry!  You and I could learn from his example.  Surely God knows your hopes and dreams and surely He loves you enough to get you to them!  Surely!  Maybe we don’t get to them sooner because WE are in the way with all of our doubts and worries and fears.  We need to get out of the way!

I’m guessing that you have been living long enough now to recognize that, that worry plan is pointless.  All your sincere stress and anxiety has not gotten you one step closer to anything worth having, has it?  The laying awake in bed at night mentally rehearsing how the monsters in life were going to eat you or your loved ones, didn’t really stop them from getting you, did it?  No it didn’t because those monsters weren’t real to begin with!  Most of those dreadful monsters aren’t real and the real ones kinda get you when you least expect it anyway, right?  So, hey man, you need to relax…

You simply have to make up your mind to stop thinking about the things that give you stress.  Do not argue with them.  Do not try to figure them out!  Do not pass go and do not collect that $200 (worries).  The monopoly on right thought can only be obtained by refusing the wrong thought!  Not refusing it sends you directly to jail (mentally)!  OK maybe I took that too far – haha.. But seriously folks, try spending a little time out of that infernal worry zone and notice what happens to you.  The roof won’t cave in!  They won’t call and say you lost your job!  Calamity won’t overtake you!  Instead you will see what I saw so vividly!  Your mind will be relaxed and peaceful and that’s when the thinking really starts!

There’s nothing quite so satisfying as hanging out with your family, but even more so when you are there with them 100%.  God bless the family reunions and God bless the person that trusts Him enough to let all the rest go…


…Hey, I Like Waffles

Personally I think the catch-all diagnoses of ADD and ADHD are over-rated.  Now hang on before you toss out your Ritalin!  Our modern-day theme for handling our issues seems to be based on being diagnosed with some condition, then being assigned to it entirely and then adding that you were born with it.  I mean after all I was born this way, therefore there is nothing I can do about it…It is what it is, right?   Absent a medical degree , but not absent some God-given horse-sense, folks are mighty quick nowadays to take away our personal responsibility.  You see if I’m responsible for something and I take responsibility, then I can also change something.  But if I’m not responsible for it, then what do you want from me?  I’m just a victim, powerless to effect any change!  Hahahaha.. well not me, boy!  I believe that our minds are just that, “our’s!”  My mind goes where I tell it to go and it does not have its own agenda.  I can turn it off; turn it down; change my thoughts; control my thoughts and focus my thoughts, if I want to!  In fact to achieve any success in this life requires that I learn how to focus.  Mark Wallace, a minister for True North Ministry (dedicated to helping people find their own True North purpose in life) said it best today, “Most people fail to get what they need from God not because they don’t believe, but rather because they fail to sustain or focus their believing long enough to receive it!”  In other words, they get distracted….Hey, I like waffles!

So is this really about ADD or ADHD?  (Wait…what were we talking about?)  Oh yeah, this is about distraction!  Being distracted has reached epidemic status in our world today.  It used to be considered a character flaw, but now it seems to be almost revered.  Weird huh?  It has many code names that give it legitimacy.  How about multi-tasking?  Being an excellent multi-tasker means you can do several things at once.  Of course you don’t really do any of those multi-tasks well, but hey you get a lot of stuff done!  There’s hyperactive, which implies you are active times one hundred.  Sounds good huh?  Preoccupied, busy, workaholic, all symptoms of a mind that is going in too many directions at once.  Not good my friends, not good.  Our minds, absent a couple of doses of LSD, were designed to think one thought at a time.  In fact, we cannot think more than one thought at a time, even if we think otherwise.  Multi-tasking is nothing more than darting back and forth between duties.  Moms are really good at it however, but they also start feeling sleepy around 9:00 p.m.  (smile)  It’s tiring folks, really tiring!  Now I realize you may not believe me on this one, because you are just sure that having the radio on in the background while you work is helpful, so we should take a look at what Big Poppa (God) says about it:  (Oh, Happy Father’s Day Big Poppa)

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith (believing), nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8

Surprising huh?  In other words, when you are believing to get something or accomplish some goal, you cannot have a divided or distracted mind.  You gotta focus man!  Otherwise, this old world is gonna bat you around like an empty beer can in the ocean.  Up real high – life is gooooooood, down real lowwwww – life sucks again, up real highhhhhhh!  Ok you get it… This world is absolutely cram, bang full of distractions.  Go this way, no wait go that way, no wait, why am I in the kitchen?  LOL  What we need to do is to learn how to focus.  If my dreams and goals are important to me, then I shouldn’t give them up the first time it rains.  I shouldn’t give them up if it’s never sunny again!  But you know what happens.  The circumstances of life paint a picture and my dreams aint in the picture.  So instead of staying put despite that picture, I modify my dreams to fit that picture that I didn’t paint nor approve!  Crazy, but true.  God has many wonderful dreams for our lives and wouldn’t you know it, they happen to be the same ones we have!  What a coincidence ~ not!  So again my friends, our job is to learn how to focus.  It’s not good to be a double-minded man, angel on one shoulder, devil on the other!  It’s your life; it’s your mind; it’s your one shot on Terra Firma; make it happen!  Why spend another day at the ice rink without your skates?

So, when the doctor tells you that you’ve got ADD and will have a hard time focusing, thank him for his time and the Ritalin and get busy learning how to focus your mind!  You can do it or Big Poppa would have never told you to do it!

Life is too short to wait for your empty beer can to arrive at some good destination!  Pop open another beer and take charge of your barbecue!  You can do it, you know why?  Because…hey, I like waffles!


This is Your Brain on Fear!

Been awhile, I must say, since a blog has bubbled out of me, but it’s time!  Haha

Have you ever seen the bumper stickers that say, “No Fear?”  Great advice for living, but saying it and living it are two totally different animals.  Fear is perhaps the most detrimental thing that can happen to a human being and in order to succeed in life you have to learn how to overcome it.  I’ll say it again, you have to learn how to overcome it!  If you don’t learn how to overcome it, your life will be a fraction of what it was meant to be.  You will never enjoy the peace God envisioned for you to have in your mind.  You will unknowingly bring hardship and difficulty upon yourself.  You won’t say what you oughta’ say or do what you oughta’ do.  (Yes oughta’ is now a word!)  You will always settle for less than you deserve and you will be a slave to what might happen next and what might go wrong later!  The hardship involved with being a slave is that slaves are subjected to forced labor and don’t have any say about what happens next!  Slaves don’t decide anything.  Slaves do what the master says and if they don’t they get whipped and forced into submission.  If you have fear you have a master that decides for you what your life will be like.   So, it seems only reasonable that we should want to learn how to overcome fear; not deny it exists, ignore it or puff up and vow to fight it, but actually overcome it.

Part of my job involves teaching a course on Mandt.  Mandt is actually the name of the gentleman that developed the course.  Mandt training is all about learning to develop strong relationships that help us in de-escalating situations that lead to aggressive behavior in the customers we serve.  Part of the material I go over talks about fear.  Fear is described as a normal human emotion.  Further it is described as something that was built into humans to help them defend themselves.  I always struggle with that part of the presentation because there is nothing normal about fear.  When I am afraid I don’t think clearly.  I choose expedient options not necessarily the right options.  Caution is helpful, fear is not!  I am cautious about bears because they have the potential to kill me.  But if I let my mind get overcome with fear during my dreaded bear encounter, then chances are I’m going to lose.  So, just how exactly can I learn to overcome fear?

To understand fear you have to understand the basic spiritual competition that all people are in that live in the world.  In the beginning, back in the days of Adam and Eve, originally there was no such thing as fear.  Fear came after the fall of man when man decided by his own free-will to believe something contrary to what God said.  In essence, man chose to believe his five senses reasoning over what God said was reality.  Whenever you and I choose to believe our five senses logic over the logic of God’s Word, fear is a-comin!  The adversary, that dark opposer of all that is good, uses man’s logic against him in order to produce fear.  He can do this because his logic is smarter than man’s logic.  So, he works out circumstances and situations that seem to contradict what God says and those circumstances and situations are damn convincing!  And since we are pretty smart folks, we start to believe something that isn’t true and if we persist in that thinking, bring into our reality the thing we were so dang afraid of!  Then we say, see I knew it!  (As if it was true all along)   That being said, fear isn’t always so obvious.  Most fear is very, very subtle.  People are afraid of not succeeding and will unknowingly sabotage their own efforts.  They may even be presented with an opportunity that would lead them to success, but they turn it down due to the 35 reasons they came up with (and 34 were based on fear).  People are afraid of everything.  Oh there’s no criticism from me, however.  I personally have been the scariest man on earth!  Instead of criticism I have empathy for people.  Empathy because it is so sad what happens to people when fear gets involved and if you are over two years old, fear has gotten involved.

So, fear is a present day reality that we all have to deal with and had better learn to overcome!  So how are you supposed to overcome fear when fear is such a formidable, frightful feeling?  The key word here is feeling.  Newsflash!  Our feelings have nothing to do with whether or not something is true.  Oh our feelings can function as a barometer to clue us into something like hmmm maybe I shouldn’t go there….but at the end of the day (favorite cliché included on purpose) feelings are no guarantee for truth.  In fact, your feelings are what bring that fear to life!  You consider some dreadful possibility, your heart speeds up, you piece together the facts and they all add up to one thing~it’s true!!!  Hidden in that last sentence was another clue.  You considered it.  You’re smart, I’m smart, we consider!  Ahh but that is precisely where we go wrong.  Considering a negative or a fear is like taking a little nibble on the bait.  It looks so inviting.  It is hard to resist (i.e. thinking about it). But that is exactly what you HAVE to do.  Back in the beginning, the fall of man started with a tiny consideration of an idea that was not what God had said.   But the defeat didn’t come there, it began there.  The consideration is the bait.  Don’t take it!  Don’t entertain it!  Don’t try to reason it out!  Don’t!  Instead of taking the bait (and you know this already if you have ever tried to reason with fear) immediately replace that idea with something true that God said.  If your health is being threatened, what does God say about your health?  If your finances are being threatened, what does God say about your finances?  Your happiness, your future, your needs?  What does God say about those things?  That is the key my friends! Refuse the lies by finding the promises.  Oh I know what you might be thinking.  Are you saying I should just ignore life?  Put my head in the sand?  Pretend like bad things don’t exist?  No, no and no!  Don’t ignore life, ignore fear which is NOT life!  Put your head up and put your feet in the sand by finally relaxing.  Don’t pretend anything because you know bad things exist; just decide they don’t exist for you!

Now that you are clear about your responsibility to refuse to consider those fears, is replacing them by God’s promises enough?  Believing is a verb and a verb connotes action.  When you believe, you act.  Act on what God said!  If God promised to take care of you, walk out like someone who is taken care of.  Do your life.  Have your fun.  Get up out of that “worry” chair and live!

Unscramble your eggs man!  LOL  Say what I always say!  If you “got me” why you spending so much time trying to convince me that it’s true?  No-one has to put up with fear and it’s certainly not God’s will.  Don’t go by your feelings.  Don’t take the time to consider it, no matter how tempting it is.  Act on the promises of God and you learn something new.  Peaccccccccccce…

This is Your Brain on Peace!