Too Damn Sensitive?

giphyHas anyone ever told you that you are too damn sensitive? Personally, I’ve heard it for as long as I can remember. Someone insults you and you react to it and you’re too damn sensitive. You finally bring up an issue that has been bothering you for some time and you’re too damn sensitive. You cry when watching a TV show that resonates with your heart and you’re too damn sensitive. Is sensitivity a weakness that must be overcome? Is being sensitive an indictment against your manhood? Is it a preferable to live as one who is insensitive or callous? Or better, does the cruelty and hardness of the world necessitate insensitivity in order to survive?

Before we go any further it is important to understand that I’m not equating sensitivity to low self-esteem or a poor self-image. There’s a big difference between being assertive and speaking up versus retreating into a cocoon the first time someone says something negative about you. In fact, if you feel pretty good about yourself it would seem you would be more likely to say what needed to be said. But, hey that’s just me. So to be clear, I mean sensitive in terms of having feelings and not in terms of having a wound.

If you look up the word sensitivity, you sort of get the idea where the confusion comes from. The primary definitions speak of a tendency to get upset about things said or done to you. Now call me crazy here, but I’m assuming those things said or done to you aren’t good. Not being bothered by the things people negatively say or do to you is supposed to met with indifference ? Oh and I’m the crazy one? Haha… I would call that being desensitized towards things matter. And, this old world specializes in getting you to be desensitized to things that matter so that you can fall in line with the rest of the numb herd. How many wacky things go on in the world today and we don’t so much as flinch about it? Methinks insensitivity aint so good.

The secondary definition of sensitivity defines the word as an awareness and understanding of the feelings of other people. Thus if we’re being logical here, insensitivity would have to mean not having an awareness or understanding of the feelings of other people. Hello to the times we live in today. Nobody cares. Eat crap; shut up and again fall in line with the “who-cares” herd!

Here’s an apt analogy of our feelings as they relate in the human body. All throughout our bodies, except maybe  our fingernails, toenails and hair, we have nerve endings. Those nerve endings serve to alert us to changes and influences on our skin. Without those nerves, we would burn, crush and maim ourselves without ever being the wiser. (When your feelings are numb you burn, crush and maim people without ever knowing it) However, when things are working as they were intended, you can feel even the slightest breeze on your arm. If you are rough on your skin you develop a callous. Your skin no longer hurts, but the callous makes it no longer feel either…

Sensitivity means your feelings are alive and well. It means your heart (figuratively speaking) is capable of not only feeling, but feeling things on a deeper level. And if you are in the business of helping people, you just gotta have it! Otherwise, you develop what the Bible calls hard-heartedness. Everyone, everywhere; in every case that rejected the truth, did so because they got hard-hearted. You see why the world works so hard to harden your heart? A hardened heart is no longer sensitive to the subtle line between truth and error. A hardened heart becomes blinded to the truth. Blinded literally means a blunted mental discernment. You can no longer see or feel the things that are  hurting you. Oh, they are still hurting you but you are wholly unaware of their existence. In your confusion and pain, you end up hurting others as well.

Some of the strongest men that ever lived were men of great passion. To think that being a man means being insensitive to feelings is to discredit the Creator. Men were made with hearts with which to feel and the Word of God was given to deepen their sensitivity. The spiritual men and women of the Bible were tender-hearted, else they would have never recognized God’s call. Just as you cannot give love unless you have love, you cannot empathize with others feelings unless you have some feelings yourself.

Yes, this old world may have rabbit punched you a couple of times, but never make the mistake of thinking the solution is to harden your heart. Instead seek to tenderize your heart so you are better able to recognize and block those punches when they show up next time. God Himself is tender-hearted and there is no greater power than His.

Are you too damn sensitive? Am I? I sure hope so because that’s where true life can be found.

Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life. ~ Proverbs 4:23

Just some good (feelings) thoughts…


The Elusive Moments of Clarity…

ClarityRecently my sister in-law suffered through the untimely death of her brother. He had an aggressive form of cancer and despite having lived longer than projected, he ultimately died. The whole experience, besides the unfathomable grief, produced in her moments of clarity she hadn’t really expected. It seems in situations when our own mortality is forced into our awareness, the most important things in life rush to the forefront of our minds. So, that got me thinking… Is the clarity we all desire, contingent upon dire circumstances? Do we have to face life threatening situations firsthand in order to finally see what is most important?

Clarity can be defined as those seemingly rare times in life when we finally “get it” or are able to see the things that formerly eluded us. Clarity seems to follow focus and nothing demands more focus than facing the possibility of actually dying or the death of someone you love. And amazingly, in the face of death we contemplate life. Suddenly the important things take on a huge significance. No one speaks of their beautiful home or their possessions, but instead consider the people in their lives and those significant relationships that mean the most. Near death experiences and the perils of war awaken the survivors to a world they previously took for granted.

This life; this precious life is alarmingly short. And despite the brevity of life, we all march on entranced in our routines virtually asleep to what matters most. We stop looking; really looking at our spouses and our children. We desensitize to our surroundings. The good we enjoy we grow accustomed to and even make time for complaint. We dream and yearn for the day when we finally have “such and such” and when we arrive, we pause then quickly begin our ascent to the next plateau.

It shouldn’t take the threat of losing it all to alert our souls to the perfection we have already. We move too fast. We think too fast. We expect results too fast. We want more and more and need less. We look for happiness in transient things while ignoring what endures. People endure. Relationships endure. Love endures. In those rare moments when I imagine my last days, my children gathered around me, I think what I might say to them. And for the life of me, all I want to communicate to them is how much I love them; how proud I am of them and who they have become and that i did my best to be my best for them.

Clarity isn’t elusive. Clarity is all around you. Clarity is found in the eyes of your child, the smile from your mother, the understanding glance from your best friend. Clarity is found in your relationships with other people and most profoundly with our God that made us. Clarity comes when we finally step out of the rat race of endless distraction and focus on the things that matter most. It is not reserved only for times of pending tragedy and the threat of death, but more for times of reflection at a speed that allows for it. The clarity we ardently seek is seeking us.

If we are honest, our perpetual striving for things that matter less, is based on fear; the fear of what we think we are supposed to be. We’ve bought into the story that says we must have the money, the stuff, the acclaim and lost track of the reason we do it all. We forgot that the excitement of the new car is lost if we don’t have someone to share it with. No one enjoys the vacation in the exotic place, alone. It’s people and our connection to them that makes this life worthwhile.

The maximized, glorious life is a life that makes time for what is most important. To say there isn’t enough time is to admit a loss of control. The rush, the busy-ness, the constraint isn’t from the demands of life but rather from the fictitious demand of what is not. It’s a distraction of unparalleled proportions. It’s a bait and switch game that purports activity equals productivity and urges getting things done over taking care of people; our people. It emphasizes appearance over people’s hearts and facades above humanity. It’s not clear it’s fuzzy and the finish line is out of view.

Clarity is there for us every single day. Clarity doesn’t elude us, we elude it. We miss it a lifetime from being swept away on a current; a rushing river of activities that steal our time; our focus, our life. Clarity comes from focus; focus on what is most sweet and enduring. Our life comes into focus in direct proportion to our willingness to adjust the lens. We adjust the lens on a subject we choose and not on a subject chosen for us.

Thank God for those moments when life suddenly comes into focus and the false; the illusory fades away. Thank God for the glimpses of light that clear the path ahead and captivate our attention in order to make the necessary change. Thank God for the privilege to see and at last understand. Thank God!

Just some good thoughts…

Tuned to the Frequency of Love…

s2I would like to give you some food for thought. What I am about to say is theoretic in nature, but so likely to be true. So, instead of presenting it as the absolute truth, I ask only that you run it through your brain cells and see what connections you make.

Much has been written about love and its powerful effect on how we live our lives. According to the Bible, God is love; perfect love casts out fear; love your neighbor as you love yourself and incredulously, love never fails! You know already from your personal experiences that when your motive is love, things almost always work out. Love softens. Love warms. Love heals. Like I promised…food for thought.

What if God is truly a fantastic, unlimited energy source? So fantastic that He could direct His energy onto the sun and reflect it in the direction of the earth? What if, being the source of life, He put some of that energy into every living thing. And in turn, what if every living thing gave off some of that energy? And if you haven’t already tuned out, what if us humans with our ability to think and feel have the ability to send and receive energy unlike any of the other creatures God made? What if in our thoughts, yes in our thoughts, we possess an uncanny ability to tune into certain energies and by doing so can make our lives blissful or miserable? Indeed, what if?

Much is spoken of concerning a person’s energy. Some people have “bad” energy and you can feel it the moment you meet them. Dogs even have bad energy and other dogs react negatively to it without so much as a bark or tail wag. Other people have “good” energy and it too is apparent within seconds of meeting them. Assuming good and bad energy aren’t inherent, maybe there is something a person does with their thoughts that produces that energy. Again, food for thought.

If God is a super source of energy, what if there is a frequency that He or Love operates at and that we can tap into the frequency? What if when we live and move and have our being with love as our motive, we tune into that super station and in so doing guarantee our own success? Much has been said already regarding vibration and that higher, loved filled thoughts vibrate at higher frequencies than lower thoughts. So maybe, just maybe there is a reason that God tells us He is love; that perfect love casts out fear; that we are exhorted to love our neighbors; and finally that God would say, love never fails!

Some researchers have concluded that negative thoughts produce a different type of energy. That energy has been called lower, slower and even toxic. What if when we filled our thoughts with thoughts of fear and worry that we also tapped into an energy source; a source that is hell bent on bringing difficulties into our lives. What if, huh? What if the Higher power (an interesting name) is infinitely greater in power than the lower source and is willing and able to move into action once we decide to tap into the right frequency? More, (you guessed it) food for thought.

As human beings, God has given us an incredible privilege! We have the God-given choice to decide what we will and will not think about. If we decide to raise our thoughts to the frequency of love, we tap into something that we all have dreamed about. If we only knew it. It seems our biggest challenge isn’t in deciding what to think and how to act, but rather in deciding to once and for all recognize that our lives and what happens in our lives are within the realm of our control by what we do with our minds. Have you ever felt like heaven’s brass, as the saying goes? Could it be that when heaven’s brass it’s because our thoughts are brass and the treasures are made of gold?

All this theory (and truth) wouldn’t be valid if it wasn’t put to the test in the crucible of your personal experience. So, I’m going to lay down a challenge for you, if you choose to accept it. Tomorrow or as soon as possible after you read this blog, decide to spend the day in love. Not just love for your loved ones, but love for every human being you come across. Love your co-workers (in your heart and in your words). Love your job no matter what it is. Love the people on the highway and love the people on the streets. Decide to love, then decide again and decide again. What if your love isn’t reciprocated? So what! What we are interested in is you finding the right station, where All-Love lives. I can assure you that if you do this, no matter what happens or who says what, you are going to have a fantastic day! If you continue it the best you can, you are going to have a fantastic life!

Run some love through your brain cells and truly see what connections you will make.

Love never fails…

Just some good energy…

Faded Passions and the Distracted Life…

PassionPassion or powerful, directed emotion is what makes the world go around. Nothing of any significance happens without some type of passion in the individual behind the work! Have you ever stopped to think what it is that you are most passionate about? Every person on Earth has a talent unique to that individual which is ripe for development once you discover what it is. So the question is, have you discovered your unique talent? And, if so, are you developing that area of your life or being distracted away with artificial passions?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “Each man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion. He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea. This talent and this call depend on his organization, or the mode in which the general soul incarnates itself in him. He inclines to do something which is easy to him, and good when it is done, but which no other man can do. He has no rival. For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other. His ambition is exactly proportioned to his powers. The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of the base. Every man has this call of the power to do somewhat unique, and no man has any other call.” 

Finding your true calling isn’t a mystery that you need to solve because while you are pursuing it, it is pursuing you! If you take some time to think you will begin to see the clues. Maybe there was a subject in school that was a breeze to you and required very little study at all. Maybe there is an activity, that when you do it, time seems to stand still with hours passing by as if they were minutes. Or perhaps there is something that you do that feels more like play than actual work. While the hints may be endless, your job in life is to find them out.

Your calling in life is your unique contribution to the world, which loses something without it. Maybe the book didn’t get written that would heal a million minds. Perhaps the invention that would revolutionize human life died within the soul that contained it. Or the love you could have taught your children didn’t pass on to a hundred generations. You won’t like to hear this, but there is another aspect of life that works tirelessly to keep you away from your calling. It cannot stop the information from flowing to you, but it can distract you and waste your life. Those distractions often come in the form of artificial passions. Sure, they float your boat but they never lead you to your real destination. They serve simply as distractions. We all have varied interests and things that make our heart beat faster, but shoot, an amphetamine can do that! How many people can you think of that still have a dream in their heart, ever buried by their job; their obsessions; their fantasies?

One sure way to locate your passion is by asking who will receive the greatest benefit from it. A calling cannot help but benefit others as God would have it no other way! Passions that satisfy you and you alone are most likely counterfeit. Now, don’t get me wrong here. Your true calling will provide you with infinite happiness but that happiness cannot be at another person’s expense. It cannot! I often chuckle when religious folk purport what it is “you” oughta do, whether you enjoy it or not. The Good Lord knows exactly what you love and being perfect, puts those things in your heart to carry out with all that you are! And here’s the bonus, the things you are called to do, you can not only do, but you can do well.

Obviously your unique talent will require some honing; some development. It may take years as you would expect from your significant contribution (not to be measured by worldly acclaim but by the human heart).  That is, of course, unless you don’t ever get to it. The world is going to sling a hundred different options your way to squelch what you have to offer. Most will appeal to your ego or the almighty self. Some will demand your participation in causes that seem real but aren’t real (i.e. the energy crisis in the 80’s that caused us to lower speed limits to 55 mph) And, although it seems, oh so noble, in reality it was a cause that wasn’t real. If you follow your heart (your heart) you cannot go wrong. Your real passion will not only hold a tremendous appeal to you, but will hold an even greater appeal to those who need it most.

Of paramount importance in this passion finding business is you. Sounds like a contradiction, I know. No-one knows better than you what is “it” for you. Sure people will participate in giving you hints, maybe lots of people, but at the end of the day (cliché intended) only you are going to be able to solve your riddle. But, man oh man, when you figure it out it will thrill your soul for days without end. Not just for the prize but for the journey…

Your calling, your passion will always be completely unique to you and whether it is world-changing or even one life changing, it is your call for this life. Your success in life won’t be measured by the amount of money you made or how many people you affected, but rather by the love in which you gave yourself fully to the cause and for that reason, I hope you find it.

Just some good, passionate thoughts…

Why Did The Music Stop?

Music StopWhile watching the Grammys last night it suddenly dawned on me that I barely knew any of the artists. It seemed that many friends around my age were coming to the same conclusion. So, I had to ask myself, when did we stop listening to the music? And, as I pondered that question, it seemed to take on a larger proportion. Why did we stop listening to the music?

Music has been described as one of the purest artistic mediums least subject to corruption. Music is often associated with the good times in our lives. Even as you read this you can probably think back to certain songs, that the moment you hear them again, summon a flood of pleasant memories to your mind. We play music at parties and at social gatherings. Movies and TV shows use music to illustrate and cultivate emotion. But, there’s one thing that music seems especially attached to and that is youth. I can remember as a young adult wondering how my parents could survive without music.Yet here am I in middle age living on a music diet of just barely. Why did we stop listening to the music?

Young people have a zest for life and an enthusiasm that hasn’t yet been dampened by the world. In our youth we dream beautiful dreams of the future; living as we please; doing the things that excite us. But life and responsibility and pressure start to have their way with us and before long we don’t have time for music anymore. In fact, if we are honest, we don’t have time for anything meaningful anymore. Go, go, go, night and day; ever rushing to this and from that, with no time for reflection and art. Music becomes a frivolity for people who don’t have anything else to do. Yet, music is a metaphor for life. When it’s playing we are growing and flourishing. When it stops maybe we have as well. Getting old isn’t measured by the number of years or that aged image staring back from the mirror. Growing old is something that happens to our hearts when we become convinced that our dreams are no longer a reality and start settling for ‘okay’ and ‘pretty good.’ Most of us have some treasured items that are “old” but we tend to get the most excitement from the things that are “new.” Why did we stop listening to the music? Because we got old…

If you think back, those of you who stopped listening to the music, there was a time when you refused to tolerate boredom and routine. When the tediousness of life set in, it was an emergency that needed to be fixed. You pressed for a new adventure and took immediate action to escape. Fast forward thirty years and you found yourself accepting your condition as “just how life is” and like an animal in the zoo, lowered your energy level to match your surroundings. You traded adventure for security (or so-called security) and decided that blasé was synonymous with being responsible. You can’t take that trip or pursue that profession because it is just too risky. I mean what if you don’t have the money you need or worse, fail? Yet, you didn’t think that way when you were younger. If you came up short you would figure it out and figure it out you did. The thrill of the challenge seemed to be far better than the comfort of the boredom. Why did we stop listening to the music? Because we became boring.

How many of you are working at a job and maybe even hold a high-ranking position, but are bored to death? How many of you are in a relationship that has long since lost its spark? How many of you still feel the flicker of a one time flame for some pursuit that you have buried under the guise of the “safe” route? How many? Why did we stop listening to the music? Because we became so safe.

Life, at least the life God intended, was not supposed to be “old” or “boring” or “safe.” The word for life in the Bible literally means life in all of its multifarious variety and full manifestation. God is a God of infinite variety. As such, we all have passions and pursuits that turn us on. To think that the passion of living should be about dead upon entering middle age is just plain crazy talk. Growing and flourishing aren’t terms reserved for the young. The trouble isn’t with God or with life. The trouble is in our minds and the things we have accepted as true. We only stop learning and growing when we stop learning and growing… The music that we surrendered is still there waiting to be turned on again. All we have to do is turn it on. Make the time to listen to the music again…

It really doesn’t matter how old or young you are when you read this. What matters is that you refuse to surrender the things you hold most sacred! You do have the time you need to start living again. Your heart hasn’t molded over just yet. Instead you simply stopped paying attention and settled for a lesser life. Don’t settle for a lesser life!

You might need a little help to get started in breaking the chains of mediocrity and for that I would highly recommend talking to God. But, I can save you a little time and tell you that it is most likely based on fear. Fear is the number one killer of hopes and dreams and if your dreams are almost dead, you know what is to blame.

I don’t know about you but I’m going to start listening to the music again, not so I can recognize an artist at the Grammys, but rather so I can recognize life again. Why you stopped listening to the music isn’t the real issue here, but instead when will you start listening to the music again?

Just some melodic, good thoughts…

Walking in Sunshine…

i__m_walking_on_sunshine__by_jotkeny-d3iadxsI vividly recall being a young US Army officer out on maneuvers in the woods. We were in “blackout” mode which means no light of any kind. I don’t know if you have ever walked around much in the darkness, but it’s damn hard! As a I stumbled along looking for the right location for our guns, I suddenly found myself airborne, unwillingly participating in a 5 foot drop to the ground below. Apparently I had walked right off a small bridge to the dried up gully underneath. Fortunately it was too dark for anyone to see me, but they did catch that shriek I let out on my way down.

So many people today are walking around in the darkness, miserable and defeated. They aren’t in the darkness because of life’s shadows. They’re in the darkness in their minds. And make no mistake, darkness hurts. Darkness isn’t the great power, even though it makes a strong case. The Great Power is light, but light cannot illuminate you unless you walk in it. And, when you decide to be illuminated, you stop falling in the gullies.

Let’s just take a moment to discover how the darkness holds sway in your mind. Let’s say you did something bad (a common human event). You feel terrible about it. The actual event lasted about as long as it took to happen (you fill in the blank). In the grand scheme of your life, the amount of actual time was probably minuscule. Yet, the darkness got you! But, that’s not the real problem… The trouble comes next when you decide to rehearse that error in judgment for days, weeks, months and even years. How many people are condemning themselves for something they did 20 years ago? That is the prototype of walking in darkness.

Maybe you aren’t the kind of person that does bad things (I’ll humor you). Instead, you are a victim. When you were young, someone treated you badly. Maybe it was a  parent or a teacher or a friend. Whoever it was and some really awful things are done to children in our world, it happened in your past. Again darkness got you. But to live under its spell years later is walking in darkness.

I’m certainly not supporting the multitude of wrongs that are done in this world. Some folks have suffered terrible, terrible things. Instead I’m suggesting that once evil has gotten to you, allowing it to replay in your mind just continues its grasp on you; sometimes for a lifetime. Often people associate what I’m saying with some sort of ‘Pollyanna’ approach to life where nothing ever goes wrong and if it does go wrong, you gloss it over with positives. Ridiculous, right? Well, I’ll tell you what’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous to get hit in the face once, then hit yourself in the face after it happens for days with no end. Negative stuff happens to all of us, even God’s kids, but smart people don’t allow the power of darkness to linger on (and on and on and on). Walking in the light means putting a decided end to the darkness.

This may surprise you but you really do have control over what you choose to think about. But, like riding a bike for the first time, you are going to fall a lot at first. You may not have complete control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how long a negative event gets to captivate your attention. Allowing it to rule over you is a decision you are making. It may not seem like it, but, oh my friends, it’s true. Walking in the light is also a decision and it’s a choice that will change your life.

If you are like me, you rely on God’s help in navigating your life. But, God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. So, if you want to find Him (though He is not far from anyone of us) you have to go the light where He is. He’s not to be found in the darkness, He is the light! And, He needs you (and me) to go to the light in order for Him to show us what to do. Dwelling in mistakes made, wrongs done and negative scenarios pretty much guarantees perpetual darkness (defeat). Choose the light, not because you are naive about life, but because you understand how life really works! How quickly things turn around when we change our minds.

Learn to use your thinking in a way that benefits you. What a man thinks in his heart, he is and to get where you want to go you have to uplift your thoughts. Have you ever noticed how you feel when the sun is shining? I often think that God designed sunny days as a real life metaphor for insight into our minds. When the sun is shining everything seems good. When it’s cloudy or dark, not so much. Why subject yourself to darkness when sunshine is always available for you?

In order to tap into the greatness of God’s power (and it is great) you have to get your mind onto His frequency.  You have to tune into His wavelength. Shoot, even the non-believers can acknowledge the variations in the frequencies of human thought. That’s no happenstance people, that is truth.

Decide right now to put an end to those cloudy, dark days and run to the light. CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS and watch the circumstances change for you. The sun is always shining where God lives and no matter what is happening or has happened, God can make it shine for you as well.

Walk in the sunshine…it’s how you were designed to live!

Just some good, bright thoughts…