The Generation that Forgot How to Think…

Having recently survived an election season, one thing has become alarmingly clear, our generation has forgotten how to think for themselves.  Sure, we are still thinking, but how much are we thinking for ourselves?  Lest you get defensive, allow me to explain what I mean.  With the advent of the media machine, social networking and 350 cable television channels, we are told what to think for the majority of our waking lives.  And, since we cannot seem to detach ourselves from the electronic information flow, we unknowingly succumb to ideas we don’t agree with and beliefs that are not our own.  Someone “in authority” says something and we quickly, without hesitation accept it as true.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a good passive television watcher.  I just can’t seem to let things go that strike against my beliefs and so I make comments; annoying comments, much to my wife’s dismay (haha God bless her!).  Politics is an excellent example of what I mean (I know, I know, it’s just politics…or is it?).  The President makes a statement about something such as finding a way to control the gun violence that plagues America.  The news media interprets that as a ploy to rid the American people of weapons; Facebook gets on board and before you know it, a million frightened people start stock piling assault rifles; posting insanely slanted slogans about the President taking away our constitutional rights and so on.  My point however, isn’t that everything our President says is true necessarily, but rather, “what do you think about what is going on?”  …You, yes you personally!  Not Fox News, not Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh etc., etc.  That, of course doesn’t mean that you cannot totally agree with what someone says, but have you really given the subject any thought?  (Maybe you have, right?)  You see most of the time, if not all of the time, the media just scares the hell out of you and thus you start making decisions based on fear or mass hysteria.  I mean really, some states seriously entertained seceding from the union.  (Oh my lanta!)

Maybe that political topic is just too heated for you to hear what I’m saying here, so I will use another example.  What is your personal belief system?  I mean really, what do you believe?  When people ask me what “religion” I am, I hesitate to even answer because the words even used to describe a belief are so emotionally charged.  Personally, I loathe religion because it represents the ultimate in “non-thinking” activity!  (Yeah loathe is a strong word!)  If I say I’m a Christian, off go the minds to images of crackpots burning abortion clinics or picketing funerals; attributing evil to God by “somehow” concluding that God “hates” such and such and thus brought about catastrophe…(????)  As if…  Do you see what I’m saying?  No thought, just assumption and generalization.  When I ask people what they believe, they can scarcely even answer the question.  Not because they don’t know necessarily, but rather because what they say might not be the right answer… Yet, your right answer would be your honest answer to the question, don’t you think?  And let’s not even talk about using logic in this scenario.  Religion is fraught with illogic, yet maintained as truth.  Again, I don’t know about you, but I can’t get with illogic, especially when it comes to God.  Hmm..let’s see, He makes me sick to heal me?  He can without warning or reason kill off entire families in terrible accidents because it was their time; or because He called them home?  Have you noticed that even when people pray they say things like, “please let me get this job or please don’t let my children get hurt” as if God is working from the other side and we are beseeching Him  “NOT” to do something.  Illogical wouldn’t you say?  Now I get it, most often people don’t understand and thus accept what others say as truth, but wouldn’t you want to understand?  Or at minimum wouldn’t you want to say that it just doesn’t make sense, at least?  I believe that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (Because that’s what He says about Himself!).  I also believe that He is pure love.  So call me a zealot, but I can’t get with the idea that He does evil sometimes for some reasons.  Yes, that’s what I think!  (haha) You may disagree entirely, but you cannot argue with the logic.  Most times logic is explained away with catch phrases such as, “you gotta have faith brotha” which is code for I don’t understand either!  You can’t believe in things you cannot understand.  How could you?  You have to have at least some understanding in order to believe anything.

So there, I successfully discussed politics and religion!  Hey, maybe that’s why people say you cannot discuss either topic because neither one is generally based on any logic!  But lest (yes I used lest again) you miss the point of this blog, we as a generation need to recognize how this old world is seducing our minds over to the land of Nod.  We have so much information available at our finger tips, that we tend to think less and parrot more.  So I say, why not think for yourself and say what you think?  If you don’t agree, say so!  Don’t you admire that rare, select breed of people who tell you they disagree and why?  (I know I do!)  However, I don’t always admire those folks who tell you what they think and then fail to have a “why…”  (That’s why they invented the delete option on Facebook…I digress)  So, we need to get back to good old-fashioned thinking.

And finally, if you will indulge me, these days we have so much division when it comes to race, or at least that division has been brought to the forefront.  Race relations or the lack thereof can also be a product of the non-thinking masses.  Here’s a fascinating fun-fact!  A black person’s needs, wants and desires are generally the same as a white person’s needs, wants and desires, just as black labs tend to behave like white labs (haha).  To conclude that black people are lazy and love getting welfare means you have turned off your thinker somewhere.  People are people folks with the only real differentiating quality being skin color and hair styles.  Sure we have cultural differences, but to feel like you have to shake someone’s hand a certain way or speak with a high-pitched voice and mention Hennessy a lot is justifiably nutso.  Do you, be you and you will be able to relate.  Do the stereotype and expect annoyance.  And, if you must post that emotionally charged Facebook postcard that you thought was so funny, just be sure it represents what you really think because that’s how it will be taken.  I have often said that a down side to Facebook is that it lets you know how people “really” think and sometimes that aint so good!  The same logic rightfully applies to “Mexicans” “Polys” and every other group folks are quick to negatively characterize.

The solution?  Slow down a bit and give things a little thought.  Don’t get swept away in rhetoric or manipulated public opinion.  Be a person that considers and be willing to admit when you may have gotten something wrong.  Lord knows I’ve lived long enough to admit being wrong more than I’ve been right, but at least I’ve tried to employ a certain level of thought.  Have a “why” behind your belief or at least be able to say you are undecided.  Democrats aren’t always right; Republicans aren’t always right; Black folks aren’t always right; White folks aren’t always right.  Only God is ALWAYS right and He wants us to think!  Afterall, we are the only species with that capability!

Let’s wake up to the beauty that is this life and ‘think’ how we can make it that much better! 🙂

Just some good thoughts…



Fear…the Silent Killer

In our frenetic world today, people have lost sight of the core essence of what it means to be a thinking, human being.  We run from this activity to that activity; we have never-ending “to do” lists; we are so so busy with our requirements, that we rarely have time to sit down and consider what is driving our decisions.  We are bombarded with news media, social media; we have computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, cell phones, droid phones and a host of other devices to keep us connected to everything, everywhere, at all times.  Thus we find ourselves left with one large, looming consequence; we don’t have time to think.  We have become collectively distracted and in our distraction have lost sight of who is in control of our lives.  And by surrendering control we “all like sheep have gone astray.”  We have secretly been funneled with the masses of society into well-worn paths that always lead to misery and futility.

There are really only two great motives in life; love or fear.  All of humanity is basing their decisions; their plans; their thinking on one of the two…  Love comes from God and has nothing harmful in it.  Love empowers men and women and gives them back control in their lives.  Love puts the energy into a life and like a gently flowing river is refreshed day by day.  Fear is just the opposite.  Fear comes from the enemy and has nothing good or useful in it (Nothing!).  Fear controls people and binds them down like slaves.  Fear stops all forward movement and as the lion roars to freeze its prey, fear roars and brings our lives to a standstill.  “Fear is sand in the machinery of life.”  (Eli Stanley Jones) Fear stops all forward movement.  Fear harasses and attacks and controls.  Fear is the hidden power behind all the suffering in this world and if allowed to continue without being rigorously and thoroughly purged will lead to ruin and defeat in EVERY situation and in EVERY case.  Fear breaks our minds down and in that divided state makes us insane.  Fear wrecks marriages; destroys our businesses; invites sickness; welcomes catastrophe; ensures poverty; murders, steals, hurts, harasses, controls, ruins and reduces us down to a mere fraction of the person we once were.  In short, fear sucks!

So, how can we overcome this seemingly insurmountable enemy and bring restoration and wholeness to our lives?  How can we get back all that has been stolen from us?  How can we get off the treadmill and get out of the rate race?  How can we regain control of our lives and once again live peacefully and confidently?  We can do it by making a decision!  Our life isn’t just happening to us; we are happening to it!  And in contrast to our former ignorance when we sat there frozen in the bushes waiting for the lion to strike, we can now make the decision to get the hell out of those bushes and get on with our lives.  Fear, like every other slippery deception must be dealt with swiftly.  We don’t answer fear; entertain fear; dialogue with fear; rationalize with fear; try to understand and analyze fear; or, for God’s sake, make friends with our fear.  The moment we take that approach we lose.  We don’t proclaim to ourselves over and over, “I’m not afraid!  I’m not afraid! I’m not afraid!”  Instead we simply move forward with love.  Mature love casts out fear.  We decide adamantly that we will not think the thoughts of fear.  Oh I know, it’s very tempting to try to figure it out.  “Maybe if I just run this scenario through my head one thousand times I will be able to figure it out.”  So, uhhhh, how’s that working out for you?  Getting any closer?  Almost got it?  NO!  Hell no!  All you get when you do that is more fear, more fear, more fear…  Sure you’re smart; sure you’re logical; sure you can figure stuff out, but when it comes to evil, you aint that smart!  You lost before you began.  The moment you entertained it (in your wisdom), you lost.  And you know why that trick always works on humans?  Because the adversary makes an appeal to your ego.  He is banking on the fact that you, like all humans will try to figure the dang thing out.  But fear has a spiritual basis and your human mind aint gonna figure that one out.  So, like every other deception the enemy tries to work us over with, our job is to simply do what God said to do about it and refuse to engage in a discussion otherwise.  When Eve paused to consider what the devil asked her to consider, she lost!  When you keep running that fear through your mind over and over, you lose!  Soon you will become a walking, talking anxiety attack, mentally threadbare and defeated.

God does not want us to live in fear.  God wants to deliver us out of fear.  How would you feel as a parent if you had to watch your child being controlled and bullied and beaten?  Do you like it when your children are afraid?  Do they think soundly when they are afraid?  Are there really boogeymen?  Of course not, but when you are afraid aren’t you doing the same thing?  And what do you tell your children?  “Ummm don’t be afraid son”…end of story? No!  You tell them something to counteract that fear.  You give them something to put in their minds to replace it.  “Mommy and Daddy protect you son and we won’t let anything get you!”  Sure you might point out there is nothing under the bed, but you don’t suggest they sit in the darkness and try to figure it out.  You turn on the light before you do the inspection.  Well, that’s how you overcome fear.  You turn on the light before you do the inspection.  What does God say about the thing you are so afraid of?  Turn on the lights!  Things aren’t so scary when the lights are on.  If you hear a potential intruder outside your house, you turn the lights on.  Sure the light might not make him go away, but in the light you can figure out what to do next.  That’s what love does, it turns on the light so you can figure out what to do next, ultimately leading to God’s solution which is infinitely bigger than any intruder!

So, let’s just get honest with ourselves when we are afraid and seek a solution.  Call a thing, a thing!  “I can’t leave this job I hate because I need the money!”  = Fear.  “I can’t tell him what I really think because he will leave me!” = Fear.  “I cannot forgive her for what she did!” = Fear.  I cannot get past this big negative thing that happened to me!” = Fear.  The reality is that you can do all of those things, but fear has you under its control and is feeding you another story.  Decide right now that it ends today!  You decide because you are worth more than that to God!

Where you have been, I have been also.  What you have tried to figure it out, I have tried to figure out also.  The anxiety you are feeling, I have felt also.  So, trust me when I say there is only one way you can escape that fear.  Don’t be so smart and “let” God show you otherwise.  You’ll never get to the other side of that fear and experience the sheer joy of deliverance until you are willing to humble yourself and do it God’s way.

Are you afraid?  Turn off your electronics, log out, log off and think; take some time to think.  Take back the control of your life and for goodness sakes, don’t do it alone…  God loves you and so do I!  Be not afraid, only believe…

How to Heal Your Hardened Heart…

After having lived awhile on this planet, I know what can happen to a person.  You start out as a youngster full of excitement and enthusiasm for the future.  You have big dreams and you are going to be somebody!  You are young and you are invincible.  Your heart is open and receptive and eager to learn (Ever wonder why college is full of young people?).  Then something happens to you.  Life!  You suffer a disappointment or two or three.  You might have a heartbreak, not get into the school you wanted or get injured while playing the sport you love.  Maybe you were in a bad car accident.  Perhaps you became ill with no remedy in sight.  Maybe someone stole your big TV (your only cool thing) from your apartment.  Your invincibility suddenly became not so invincible and thus it went from there.  Slowly, but surely, you begin to lose your innocence.  Distraught and defeated you start trying to protect your heart.  After all, you trusted those people…  You loved that girl… You thought God would heal you…  You almost died in that car wreck…  In your desperation and self defense, you began putting bricks up around your heart.  “No-one is going to make me hurt like that again!”  Your learning went from eager anticipation to fear and mistrust concerning the future.  It seemed reasonable to conclude that the world was out to get you and, by God, you were not going to let it happen (again).  I mean really, if my heart isn’t exposed, then it can’t be hurt (again), right?

That, my friends, is the collective definition of our world.  A bunch of people who have been hurt, wounded, stolen from, abused, mistreated and severely damaged.  You can spot them everywhere.  They rarely smile.  They need five drinks to tell you they love you.  They rarely show any emotion.  They don’t tell you what they really think and refuse to ever go beyond the surface of things.  They are on multiple medications; drink themselves silly and consider Facebook a platform to repeat in a multiplicity of forms just how much this life sucks!  They trust no-one; like no-one and believe no-one.  I’m often amazed while sincerely trying to help people, how hard they resist showing me their real heart.  It’s like their heart is a closed fist.  At first, they show a quick flash of an open hand.  Then as they began to trust me a little, they leave it open a little while longer.  Eventually, if I don’t overstep my bounds, they open it completely and leave it open.  Then the real heart sharing begins; mine to theirs and theirs to mine and then the beauty and God-inspired deliverance that follows.

Knowing this, I never judge or condemn people because I understand.  I understand that their hearts are hurting and thus far in life they have not experienced any incentive to re-open their hearts.  I recognize that they are wounded and puzzled by things and need a fresh start.  I have compassion for them because I too have spent more than my share of days with that same hardened heart.  But as long as God exists (which is forever) there is hope.  No heart has become so hard and calloused that it cannot be made tender again.  And just like a callous on your hand, a calloused heart is no longer capable of feeling.  It’s no wonder there’s no emotion; no smile; no joy.  A hard heart is shut off from the goodness that is this life and closed off to the God that made it to be enjoyed.  So, in our moment of honesty, we ask, what can I do to make it tender again?  How can I get back my enthusiasm; my joy; my excitement for life?  The answer is simple ~ love!

Love is the great, heat seeking missile that will track down all that is wrong and frustrated and defeated.  Love is the awesome error ‘dismantler’ that will help you tear down every fence; every wall; every fortress you have mistakenly built up around your heart.  Love is the answer to everything that ever hurt you and the healer of every pain.  Love is the fantastic energy behind your heartfelt believing and will ever give you a new beginning.  Love is the light that guides you and helps you safely navigate through the darkness.  Love will make your heart so tender that you can feel the gentle, tender urgings from your heavenly Father and hear His still, small voice.  Love is God and God is love!

In life, all that you have; all that you experience; all that you are, is based upon what you believe in your heart.  Believing comes from your heart.  When you were a child you believed from your heart.  You trusted people and were open to learn and receive and to grow.  You were excited and “oh-so’ optimistic because your heart was wide open to life.  When I tell my Grandson Braylon that God always loves Him no matter if he’s naughty or nice, he believes me.  And, Braylon is a happy, happy child!  (God bless him!)  So today, in order for your enthusiasm; your happiness; your joy to return, you have to get back to your tender heart.  Let God show you what’s wrong.  Trust Him to heal up your wounds.  Let the hurts from the past, go, forever!  Resolve yourself to be merciful; to treat people with kindness and compassion.  See beyond people’s hardened exteriors and realize their heart is just like yours.  Be the help; the solution; the answer for people.  Be the person God called you to be!

This ol’ world is full of pain and suffering.  Get your heart fixed up so you can help someone else.  That’s not selfish, that’s heavenly.  Take down those shackles you put up for self-preservation and let people see the real you.  The real you is wonderful!  Be who you are without the mask.  Let folks see your vulnerability; your tenderness; your love.  In so doing, your life will blossom like the lilies and will continue to do so, year after year, after year!

Life is short, my friends.  You need your heart to be healthy so that you can receive the fullness of what this life has to offer.  Love like there’s no tomorrow!

I love you…for real!

Why I Stopped Getting on the Scale!

I don’t know about you (well, really I do – smile) but, I have had an obsession with that bathroom scale for about 10 years now.  Here’s how a typical morning looks.  I get up in the morning; take a leak; then strip off all those heavy undergarments and step on the scale.  The number on the scale is ALWAYS 15 pounds higher than I want it to be.  Did you hear me?  Always… I go to the gym on the regular.  I run for miles on the treadmill.  I lift weights.  I have done weight watchers, Atkins, Fit for Life, and most recently hCG.  On the hCG  diet, the weight drops off like water.  1 pound, 2 pounds etc.  And it happens every single day.  At some point in the near future, very near future, you will be 12, 13 or 15 pounds lighter.  People will comment on how you must have lost weight.  Clothes look better, you feel better, life is good.  But, in about two months you find yourself right back where you were before, exactly 15 pounds heavier than you would like.  WTH?  How is it that my internal body mechanism chooses a “natural” weight that is exactly 15 pounds heavier than I would like to be.  Whyyyy? Oh you may say it is my age or my significantly slower metabolism.  After all, skinny Kelli (my daughter) eats everything I dream of eating and continues to be skinny!  So maybe there is something to it, maybe?

The same holds true when I drink red wine.  Red wine is perhaps the greatest drink there is.  Maybe I’m related to Noah from the Bible?  Yet, I have found that wine really is a social drink.  Drinking wine alone is just well, weird…  But in a social setting it is sublime.  The first glass encourages conversation and laughter.  (It maketh glad the heart of man)  The second glass starts to loosen your tongue and for a small instant seems to make it okay to express your love and fondness for other people.  Yet, by the third glass (as I blogged about before) the sparkle turns into numbness which continues in intensity from there on out.  Maybe that’s why people end dinner parties with coffee.  Maybe?

Both of these seemingly innocent illustrations have something in common.  Oh you may say, “duh ~ you eat and drink too much!”  But, there is something more.  Many of us good ol’ Americans eat and drink too much.  So the question that remains is why?  Why would my body (you know, the one that I own) choose a weight slightly higher than the one I have in mind?  Why would I continue with the third and forth drinks knowing that my sparkle will be replaced by numbness?  My wife made chile verde on Sunday and oh my lanta it is delicious.  It was so delicious I had two large helpings and settled into the typical post thanksgiving coma.  Well, it was delicious!  So tonight, still feeling the effects of yesterday’s feasting or should I say binging, what did I do?  I had another plate of it with lots of rice and because it was so tasty, I had two plates.  Enter post thanksgiving coma and “I am a fat man” self loathing!  Oh, here we go again!

So maybe something else is in play here…  Maybe this crap is psychological?  Oh I know, I have told myself many, many times that it is just science.  Calories in, calories out, simple math!  But you know what, I think it is more than that.  I think the excesses that we faithfully engage in are more than just excesses.  I think we are compensating; compensating for some missing ingredient in life.  I realize that is not an original thought (haha cause I can read) but maybe it deserves a little more of our personal attention.  Maybe we like to feel good and food makes us feel good.  Wine makes us feel good.  But, why are we working so hard to feel good?  What part of us doesn’t feel good and or doesn’t feel full or doesn’t seem fulfilled?  When do we eat too much?  Is it in the evening; late night; after the wine excesses?  Is is a time we don’t feel good; feel bored or unfulfilled?  I can’t answer that for you and you cannot answer that for me.  But, with God‘s help, we can answer that for ourselves.  Maybe our question is, what in my life continues to sabotage my efforts and why would I sabotage myself?  I suspect that old, unruly enemy fear is involved in there somewhere, somehow.

I am often reminded that our personal curriculum in life exists to help us be the best we can be.  God certainly isn’t making us overeat or drink to excess, but instead remains willing to answer the ‘why’ part.   What lesson is hiding in that scale?  What answer can be found at the bottom of that wine glass?  What information do I need to learn in those feelings of boredom, that unhappiness, that lack of fulfillment?  It may not seem like it, but God wants us to be on the other side of these questions, sharing what we learned with others.

So have I forever stopped eating too much?  Will I never again drink too much wine?  I seriously doubt it!  But, one thing I do know is that I aint getting on that scale everyday anymore.  Beating myself up for not having arrived is never going to help me arrive, in fact it retards my progress.  Instead, I will seek outside myself for the answers, knowing that the One who has all the answers, will answer those questions for me, and make it nice along the way…

Eat your food; drink your wine; and most of all, love yourself and you’ll find that the food and wine never were the enemy, you were!  Make your mind your friend and listen closely for the still small voice, the One that assures you everything is going to be okay…because it will.

Go Cabernet, go life!

Get it Fixed, Solved, Resolved Already!

I vividly remember back when I was in the Utah National Guard and we were playing basketball at lunchtime in the armory.  Being a basketball lover, I had to settle for a game with the “palookas.”  (Palooka is the slang name for people who play basketball, but don’t really play basketball and have somehow learned that it makes sense to try to occupy the floor under someone’s feet when they jump to get a rebound, because theoretically they will no longer have a place to land…eassssssy Tony, good thoughts, just some good thoughts.)  Since the palooka’s theory isn’t technically correct, I landed directly on Sergeant such and such’s foot and sprained the holy bejesus out of my ankle.  As I lay there writhing in pain, several soldiers offered  to carry me to my car for a later trip to the doctor.  Now, being a believing man, after I stopped crying (smile) I thanked God for healing it right up, lickety split.  It didn’t appear to be getting any better, so I eventually went to the doctor.  He said it was badly sprained (surprise) and suggested I go and get some physical therapy.  I went to therapy for what seemed like weeks doing all types of painful, sadistic, therapy torture and it just refused to get better.  So, I settled into life as the guy who hobbles because his ankle was permanently screwed up.  I kept trying to believe that God would heal it somehow, some way, even though a long time had gone by already.  Now, here’s where it gets interesting.  It suddenly dawned on me that I was still a young man, one that loved sports and there was no way on earth that I was going to be resigned to a life of hobbling.  So I got this idea, an incredulous idea that I’m not sure I would do again.  I decided that I was going to wrap my ankle in a brace and run around the track at West High School.  And, by God, I didn’t care if my ankle crumbled completely, I was not going to stop running.  (Desperate people are dangerous…smile)  I started running on the track and the pain was so intense my eyes started leaking (masculine slang for crying again).  After half a lap, incredibly the pain started to subside.  By the end of the lap it was gone completely.  I jumped up and down; I tested it; I ran some more – fixed!  Wow!

How many of us are living a life of perpetual ankle pain and have just settled into hobbling?  How many things have we simply accepted and acquiesced to?  Oh sure, the real life suckers are never simple to solve, (or so they always seem) but with God there is always a solution!  Always!  The problem is that we have been trained by the world that we just have to live with certain things.  “Welcome to getting older?”  “Well, you can’t always get what you want!”  And so on and so on.  At first we fight and whine and gather up our courage to seek a solution, but eventually most of us throw our arms in the air and find a way to adapt to the problem.  It’s like we find a wild, vicious dog in our livingroom.  We don’t like it and make a few attempts to get him out.  Then at some point, we simply close off the doors to that room and find ways to work around the vicious beast, for years and years and years.  Crazy right?

After raising four wonderful children (and I do mean wonderful) you cannot even imagine how many unsolvable riddles we ran into with our kids.  We would worry, like parents do; pray and pray, get frustrated and imagine the life of misery they would surely be subjected to because of ____…  Then something wonderful always happened.  During one of our prayers or multitude of conversations, we would reach some place of resolved agreement where we would exclaim, “Enough is enough already!”  We would get just plain ol’ sick of “it” and resolve to find the solution.  And we always did.   When they left the house that was a whole different issue, but we will take that as it comes.

So, I’m asking you, what thing(s) are you living with that needs to get fixed?  What problem do you need to solve and maybe have already given up on?  Where do you find yourself teetering between this opinion and that opinion?  People often comment that since God wants to heal people, why doesn’t He go to the hospital and heal everyone up?  The truth is that He would if we would allow it.  We have to believe and believing aint no casual wish.  True believing is committed to it, resolved, sure!  None of us start there, but we gotta get there.  You have to rise up out of that defeated mindset; rise out of that memory of past failure and get serious.  Enough is enough.  You deserve a better life; one where your needs are met and you are happy.  It is still there for you (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) because God is still here.

So, the next time you find yourself perplexed, defeated, miserable, downtrodden, worn out, tired, weary, frustrated, ask God to help you out.  I mean it!  In that fateful moment, share your heart with Big Poppa.  Tell Him you are oh so tired of such and such and really ask Him to show you the way out.  Then watch out baby!  He is going to show you what’s up in specifics.  Oh, it won’t come from where you expected it, but it will come.  God is that big; that good!  Life is short and is slipping away a day at a time, so make today the day “that turns your life around!”  Make up your minds folks, it really is that simple!

So in the end, if some palookas come up and ask you to play basketball with them (and you can always recognize them by their shoes), run…

Why Are You So Dang Busy?

Good question, right?  Everyone is so busy nowadays…  And, if you don’t appear too busy, they assume something is not quite right with you.  Have you ever stopped to ponder why we are so busy?  Busy, busy, busy; no time for anything!  Is it good to be that busy?  Does busy mean we are getting things done and making progress?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe this old world has taught us that all that frenetic activity means we are making moves and getting closer to our desired state.  Here’s a thought?  Many of us dream of being rich, right?  With that lofty idea we imagine a life where we can do just whatever we want, when we want.  We don’t picture ourselves running from this thing to that thing.  Definitely not!  We see ourselves vacationing with friends and family, relaxing on a sandy beach.  Or we visualize pursuing things that really interest us that we “never had time” to do before.  Hmmm.

It might just be that we are getting our leg pulled.  With the advent of electronic media and our ability to know everything going on everywhere; or social media where we follow each other’s lives replete with “likes” and “comments” and status updates, we can become overwhelmed with information.  As soon as we finish one house project, we start another one patterning the project after that home makeover show.  We go to work all day and carry out our responsibilities, then get home to carry those out too.  Saturday becomes the day to do all the stuff you couldn’t do all week.  And, what you didn’t get done on Saturday you can do on Sunday.  Then it is time to start all over again.  You can discern our prevailing mind-set with the language we speak.  “It’s time to get back on my grind,” implying that success follows a continual “grinding” until we reach some goal.  Or, “everyday I’m hustling, hustling,” which carries the message that good things must be hustled after until they reluctantly come to pass.  Now, I’m smart enough to know that ‘real’ life isn’t about sitting in the chair all day.  Sure we need to go to work.  Absolutely we should fix the leaky sink or the hole in the wall.  There’s cooking, dishes, chores, cleaning and laundry that all cry for attention.  Everyone has many things to do in a day.  It’s not so much the work we accomplish, but our mind-set while we are doing the work.  The reality is that most folks are so dang busy that they don’t have time to think.  There’s no reflection concerning which direction we are heading.  There’s no quiet time to consider, to pray, to invest our hearts into things we want them invested into.  Instead we scramble around stressed, anxious and not even aware that all of this is going on.

Our core problem is that we have bought into a man-made doctrine that states that you must almost kill yourself to achieve things in life and if you are not overly busy, you are heading for a disaster.  It’s like relaxation is some kind of curse reserved for the lazy; the failures in life.  And, we wonder why folks die so early.  What good is the fortune grandpa made if he died at 52?  Maybe there is something behind all this mad dash for things; for status; for supposed success.  Maybe, just maybe if something can keep you busy enough, you won’t take time to think (something only us humans can do).  Without thought you may just spend a lifetime mindlessly fulfilling supposed obligations with only a brief respite to the mountains or to the beach.  Why do we love camping so much?  Is it the s’mores; the booze by the fire pit at night?  Or is it the absence of all that stuff we “have” to do?  You decide.

While we get to enjoy comforts formerly only dreamed of by people, we have also allowed ourselves to become too stressed out.  In short, we have got it all backwards.  Our minds; our thinking; our beliefs are the very essence of the things we achieve in life.  It isn’t the grind of the 100 hour work week that makes you successful, it’s the beliefs you have associated with your work; with your life.  A little believing and positive expectation goes a long, long way.  But hey, who has time for that?  😉  Life was not designed to be a helter skelter of anxious activity that concludes in an untimely death.  Life was meant to be a time for enjoyment, for relection, for learning.  Life is to be lived with love and care for our fellow-man.  So many people say they lack purpose but in reality they just haven’t taken the time to “see” their purpose.  How could they?  We want to control everything, fix everything, worry about everything…  Maybe if I am hypervigilant and stressed and eternally busy, bad things won’t happen.  Maybe through my obsessive effort I can ensure all will be okay for everyone involved.  Maybe not.

Let God control the world people and just relax…  Maybe the things you want most in life; your hopes, your dreams; maybe those things want you as well, if you will just slow down enough to see them coming.  You are killing yourself digging in that hole for the gold and it’s not even there.  Slow yourself down and relax.  Let some stuff go.  Live in the moment and enjoy it.  Take time to reflect on your life.  Take a quiet walk outside or a drive (brrrr.)  Turn off the TV, unplug the laptop and silence the ringer on the cell phone.  Make the time you need to think and think deeply.  You may just hear some things that change your life.

Oh me?  I’m just relaxing on this beautiful Saturday morning…