The Perilous Conclusion of the Negative Event…


photo-disaster2  If you live long enough you are going to, at one time or another, experience some negative event that has the capacity to shake your foundation and cause you to question your beliefs.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  There you were living your life, building your dreams, planning your future, then some dastardly scenario played out and stopped you in your tracks.  Suddenly you left behind all of your innocency; your child-like believing and questioned whether or not God really existed.  After all, how could God have allowed that thing to happen to you?  Why didn’t God step in and intervene in your life?  And, after some period of suffering you drew a perilous conclusion, namely that God must not exist and if He did exist, He surely must not be as good or as faithful as He reported…  And now, well, you are still pretty angry with God for some thing He didn’t do; didn’t prevent; didn’t handle when it needed to be handled.

Sadly, there is a reality in life that most folks are loathe to contemplate.  The reality is that there are evil forces at work in the world and those forces are behind every negative thing that ever happened to you or to someone that you love.  Now that doesn’t mean that you are evil; had it coming or were punished for being a sinner.  What it means is that evil makes no allowances for anyone and if it can get involved to bring about disaster, it will.  Have you ever noticed how many people are tragically killed or kill themselves at Christmas or some other treasured family time?  Evil seeks to multiply its effects and bring hurt to not just one, but many people at once.  Evil has been functioning in the world almost since the world began and in order to be successful relies not on what you do know, but on what you don’t know.  Like the great line in the movie, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist!”

So you have to ask yourself, what do you really know about God?  I don’t mean what your church says, or grandma says or what your friends say.  What do you know for sure?  For example, did you know that in order for God to get involved in your personal life that He requires belief on your part?  Did you know that God will never overstep anyone’s freedom of will in any situation, ever?  Did you know that God is love and light and in Him is no darkness at all?  Did you know that God not only saw that “big negative event” coming, but also had a solution for it if you (or whoever was involved) would have believed that He did and acted on it.  Believing isn’t some casual thing we throw around when events are going well, yet abandon when we are confronted with a disaster!  Believing comes from having a clear understanding of Who God is; what He can and will do; and what His good desires are for our lives, as well as understanding what evil is doing to try and stop those good things from coming to pass.  Belief in God is not some casual thing that takes place in the back of our minds and the back of our lives.  Belief is an active thing that we carry into every situation.  Belief is in the front of our minds, consistently present, here right now to see us through the obstacles and trials of life.  No evil force can begin to stand against God’s power, but in order to see God’s powerful solutions we must convince our minds of His goodness and not allow the negatives of the world to talk us out of it.

You see, what really happened to you when “that thing” occurred was that evil plotted and planned and schemed and proceeded to punch the living crap out of you with the intent that you would abandon your beliefs and opt for some other philosophy that promised you well-being and peace and love, yet would be void of any real power when you needed it most.  Evil is no joke folks.  People, in some cases, spend the entire rest of their lives suffering the pain of that one thing and never recover.  Pretty treacherous, wouldn’t you say?  Hit someone with a hay-maker they never saw coming, then get them to abandon their beliefs that could serve to protect them from getting hit by evil again.

My friends, don’t let that describe you.  Don’t let that negative, painful scenario dictate anymore of the moves you make in your life.  Accept the truth that you, like all of the rest of us, got deceived and set up and maybe lacked the believing necessary to receive God’s miraculous solution in the situation.  That’s not God’s fault, it’s our fault because what we didn’t  know did hurt us, but it doesn’t have to keep hurting us!  We need to get to the place where we can say what Job said as he recovered from his own disaster:

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  ~ Job 42:5

You can live out the rest of your days with joyful expectation of deliverance from any dreadful scenario that ever held you back.  “God is always the victor over evil, but it is up to you to make His will, your will.”  It’s time to draw a new conclusion folks, that God is only good, always and that He is never going to change!  That’s something you can bank on for a lifetime; the rest of your lifetime…

Just some good thoughts…

Victims, Whiners and Lies…


keep-calm-and-stop-your-whinin  In the spirit of true confessions, I’ve noticed in myself lately a propensity to engage in an endless stream of whining and complaining.  I’m complaining about this coach and that player (I know…first world problems); what my boss thinks; what my company does; what my staff didn’t do; what people did or didn’t do according to what they said they would do etc., etc., etc. As we often say as a family insider joke, “Bitch and moan, bitch and moan, whine, whine, whine!”  🙂 While in that moment of time whining and complaining seems to make me feel better, at the end of the day it doesn’t change a blessed thing.  It seems to serve only as a rehearsal of all of the things in the world that didn’t go as I thought they should go, because after all, I am the supreme ruler of the universe, right?  Where did we ever get this notion that all of life should fit into our tidy, little plans and that any deviation from those plans represents a “slap in our spoiled, little faces?”  It seems to be a condition that is fairly unique to Americans.  We are so used to our high standard of living and ease of access to many of the comforts in life that we seem to forget that life really doesn’t work that way.  I mean come on, we have to make ourselves stop eating; the temperature has to be between 70-72 degrees; we sit in artificially lit homes typing on computers and God help us if the Internet goes out.  (Again…first world problems) And while I’m so grateful to God that we get to live the way we do, I still can’t help but recognize an unrealistic slant in our expectations.

Real life, much like every good story that was ever written, has a protagonist and an antagonist.  One is working for the good and one is opposing the good.  Our great God never, ever promised that life would be completely free of struggles.  Where on earth did we get that idea?  For every good you encounter there is an opposing force that is either trying to take away your good or bring some bad to counteract the good.  Now that doesn’t mean, as many philosophers report, that you have to accept the bad or get along with the bad or embrace the bad, no, not at all!  But it does mean that you have to take life as it is.  What is, is and whining about it doesn’t change a thing, except you…

Have you ever met someone who sees themselves as a victim?  (Well, if we are honest, all of us have been victimized at one time or another.  Helloooo, there is an opposing force working against us!)  The victim is not just one that has been hurt in life, but is one rather that carries that “past” hurt into every current situation.  I recently watched an Oprah Life Class about men that didn’t grow up with their father.  It was very sad and very touching, for sure.  But one thing they had in common were the stories they kept telling themselves about how life would have been or who they would have been if their father was around…  Those stories were really just fantasies they kept telling themselves in light of the hurt they received when Pops left.  Iyanla aptly pointed out that their romantic notions about daddy were just stories and that they had no real way to know how things would have been.  What they were doing unknowingly was participating in life as a victim.  A victim, by nature, has no say about how life turns out.  After all, how could they after such and such happened?  Here is a reality check ~ your life is what it is, right now in this moment.  And, the only one carrying that hurt and pain into your present life is you (and me)!  Being a victim, like being a whiner only serves to keep you held down in bondage ~ as if you have no say about how your life turns out.  If that opposing force hurt you bad in the past (and that’s not to minimize the hurt you felt) ~ then allowing it to remain in your mind today is just as if it is happening all over again.  And we wonder why we can still be frustrated in life despite all of our creature comforts?

God has designed life to be glorious and wonderful and ripe with victory, but never said you wouldn’t have any struggles.  He doesn’t provide those struggles (God I wish people would stop saying that) but He will always provide a solution to those struggles if you are willing to hear Him!  You see once we start complaining, we stop moving forward towards the solution!  And related, if we have adopted a “victim” mindset, we are, for all intents and purposes, stuck back thereeeee…  A better approach to life would be to accept the reality that things don’t always go how we planned and to either make a back up plan or at minimum be willing to change course as the obstacles happen.  Our destination shouldn’t change, but we have to at least be willing to take a different course.  Why keep banging our heads on a door that won’t open when we can take a step back, think, and find another door?

In the Dale Carnegie courses I taught, the first rule was to “never criticize, condemn or complain (the three golden C’s)!  (Yeah, I forgot that!)  Complaining, whining and playing the victim simply means that we have bought the lie ~ the lie being that there is nothing we can do about the situation.  With God behind us, there is always something we can do about the situation.  You and I are only in charge of one life, ours…  Make the decision today to stop complaining (you may be shocked by how much you do it) and instead focus immediately on the solutions.  Oh and if you are watching the playoffs and your team is losing, quit complaining about the coach; the players and the refs, and simply sit back and remember the team that believes to win, wins, despite any obstacles!

Win in life…

The Y.O.L.O. Effect…


images  Forgive me for overworking the YOLO cliché, but I’ve got something to say that I know will help you live a little better.  If you think about how many times people use that cliché and it’s context, you’ll find something very interesting.  Almost every time we say it, we are making some reference to getting rid of our fear of doing something with a complimentary urge to “do it” right now.  We are saying that life is too short to not do the things you really want to do.  So, as you can imagine, that got me thinking

How much time do you spend doing things you really don’t want to do?  Or, how many things do you do because you think they are what others expect you to do?  Or, stated in the positive, do you spend most of your time doing the things you enjoy doing; have passion about and want to do?  And of course closely related to those questions, why are you doing the things you are doing?

As I’ve said a hundred times prior, this ol’ world funnels us into well-worn grooves of expectations!  The subtle and not so subtle message is to get in line; shut your mouth and don’t buck the system.  Do acceptable work; make acceptable comments; have acceptable opinions (not your own opinions, but the popular ones) and for goodness sakes, don’t start questioning things.  If a thing doesn’t make sense to you, it’s not because it doesn’t make sense, but rather because you don’t understand it – so again, close your mouth and get in agreement (now!).  The problem with that “go-along to get-along” mindset is that you no longer get to be “you” in the process.  Now on the surface, you may not think this applies to you, so I ask you, give it a little more thought.

People are employed in a line of work they hate, for decades.  Folks are suppressed in unhealthy relationships or subjecting themselves to unhealthy family members for a lifetime.  We laugh when it’s not funny.  We say the food tastes good when it doesn’t.  We nod in agreement to insane political ideas when those views couldn’t be further from our own.  We don’t play the music we like when others are around.  We get college degrees in subjects we cannot stand.  We tip waiters for poor service.  We devote time to reading books we don’t enjoy.  We trudge ourselves to tired church services and participate in nonsensical observances and even pray to a God we are grossly unfamiliar with!  Why?  Because we are afraid, that’s why!  Fear, often confused with terror, is a subtle beast.  We can all recognize the fright we feel when we see a tiger, but do we acknowledge the slipperier version that causes us to do all of the above?   Why would a man work in a job he loathed for twenty years?  He’s afraid that he can’t do anything else?  He’s afraid what his family would say if he quit?  He’s afraid what society might say if he stepped out of line!  Why do folks put up with family members that are toxic and discourage their growth?  Because they are afraid what everyone would think if they stopped coming around.  Fear.  (disclaimer – this does not refer to my family- 🙂 )  We agree, we cajole, we acquiesce, we agree because we’re so friendly?  Probably not when you get right down to it.  Fear drives a multitude of things we feel obligated to do.  Then there is obligation’s close companion – guilt.  Guilt is just another form of fear manifesting itself as something you need to do because of something you didn’t do; should have done; or to avoid something because of what you did do (or perceive you might have done)!  Fear…

I’m certainly not advocating morphing into a self-centered douche, parading around town looking out for number one only!  I’m suggesting rather that you take the time to consider why you do the things you do.  There really are only two great motives in life – love and fear.  Love works no ill to its neighbor (or to you either for that matter)  Fear starts bad, proceeds bad, and ends bad.  Working out of fear leads to misery.  Working out of love fans the flames of passion.  Saying how you feel out of love leads to understanding and agreement and resolution.  Saying how you feel out of fear leads to arguments and conflict.  Doing things for other people out of love is the very heart of service.  Doing things for people out of fear leads to slavery and bondage and all kinds of mistreatment.

So the simple acid test is to ask yourself why you are doing the thing that you are doing.  Do you want to do it?  If you had a million bucks would you do it?  I’m sure we all have the fantasy of all the wonderful things we would do if we just became rich enough to do it.  And the reason we cannot do it now?  Fear…  And while you are asking yourself these things in the solemn privacy of your mind, take solace in the truth that you can change anything you want to change.  Sure folks will deride you and chastise you and demand you get back to being who you are supposed to be!  But what you owe yourself is to be the “you” you really want to be!  Don’t you think?  People live frustrated, defeated, unsatisfied lives because they spend their precious lives living as someone else. Don’t let that be you, my friend.

Cliche’ alert – At the end of the day, we all have only one life to live and we all only live once (on earth anyway).  Start today by asking yourself why and then get busy modifying and changing what needs to change.  You oughta be able to be “you,” doing “you” in the ways that make “you” the most happy!  YOLO my friends, YOLO!

Just some good thoughts…